Providing spiritual assistance – in the moment it’s needed Chaplain

The ability to minister outside of the conventional setting. The chance to render spiritual and moral guidance in the very moment it’s needed. The opportunity to make a profound difference in the lives of individuals on a regular basis. These are some of the things that make the work of Navy Chaplains so rewarding and so unique.

Job Description

Serving as a Chaplain in the Navy Reserve will give you a tremendous opportunity to provide a meaningful service in the lives of others. Recall your purpose as a servant of God. Be the moral anchor for young Sailors and Marines. Discover the pride of serving your country – looking after those who preserve our faith and our freedom with their lives.

As a Navy Chaplain, you will nurture the spiritual well-being of those around you. During your periodic service periods, you will live with them. Work with them. Eat with them. Pray with them. And understand their needs and challenges like no one else.

You will offer everything from faith leadership to personal advice to much-needed solace. And expand the depth and reach of your own experience. All while living up to the guiding principles of the Chaplain Mission:

  • Providing religious ministry and support to those of your own faith
  • Facilitating the religious requirements of those from all faiths
  • Caring for all servicemembers and their families, including those subscribing to no specific faith
  • Advising the command to ensure the free exercise of religion

Whatever the specifics, your duties will be carried out during your scheduled drilling and training periods. Take a moment to learn more about the general roles and responsibilities of Reservists. And know this: The impact of your work and your service will go far beyond the time that you put in.

Specific Responsibilities

As a Navy Chaplain, you will be the one other servicemembers will seek when they need someone to listen or someone to guide them. You will be a trusted outlet when they struggle with personal issues or search for answers at crucial moments in their lives. And often, you will be the constant support for young people away from home for the first time.

The job of a Chaplain spans a broad range of duties and a great diversity of backgrounds. It involves seeing people through some of their most joyful moments to their most personally challenging, and it could include any of these responsibilities:

  • Conduct worship services in a variety of settings
  • Perform religious rites and ceremonies such as weddings, funeral services and baptisms
  • Counsel individuals who seek guidance
  • Oversee religious education programs, such as Sunday school and youth groups
  • Visit and provide spiritual guidance and care to hospitalized personnel and/or their family members
  • Train lay leaders who conduct religious education programs
  • Promote attendance at religious services, retreats and conferences
  • Advise leaders at all levels regarding morale, ethics and spiritual well-being


Most of what you do in the Navy Reserve is considered training. The basic Navy Reserve commitment involves training a minimum of one weekend a month (referred to as drilling) and two weeks a year (referred to as Annual Training) – or the equivalent of that.

Chaplains in the Navy Reserve serve in an Officer role. To become a Navy Chaplain, those who meet the qualifications complete five weeks of initial training at the Officer Development School in Newport, R.I., and then finish with seven weeks at the Naval Chaplain School in Fort Jackson, S.C. This training can be broken up into separate sessions but must be completed within two years of commissioning. Chaplain School is a seven-week program with four weeks of Basic School and three weeks of RMTEX (Religious Ministry Team Exercise) and TEAMS (Tools, Empowerment and Ministry Skills). This seven-week program includes both classroom instruction and on-the-job training that offer leadership and professional development while preparing you to provide religious ministry wherever Navy Chaplains serve – at sea, at home or overseas.

Career Advantages

Regardless of your denomination, the full scope of ministry you’ll practice in the Navy immerses you in virtually all aspects of a traditional ministry – and takes you beyond. It exposes you to opportunities not available in everyday civilian settings.

Your time as a Chaplain will give you unique experiences and fulfillment to draw from and take with you in your civilian religious responsibilities. The people you’ll meet, the lives you’ll touch and the places you’ll visit will stay in your memory and in your heart for a lifetime.

Your specialized training in the Navy Reserve could prepare you for credentialing, certification and/or licensure opportunities from a number of national boards and organizations. Allowing you to become even more competitive in your challenging field.

And the more tangible benefits? Competitive pay. Points earned toward retirement benefits. Outstanding insurance options. And much more. Read about the benefits of serving in the Navy Reserve.


General qualifications may vary depending upon whether you’re currently serving, whether you’ve served before or whether you’ve never served before.

To be eligible to become a Navy Chaplain, you must:

  • Be able to complete a total of 20 years of service by age 62
  • Possess a bachelor’s degree (120 semester hours or 180 quarter hours)
  • Possess a graduate degree of no less than 72 semester hours in the field of theology or related studies from a qualifying educational institution
  • Must have an endorsement from a qualified religious organization that is registered with the DoD

More Information

Want to explore further? Learn what you need to know about joining the Navy Reserve. Find us on Facebook to interact with actual Navy Reservists. Or, if you need more information, contact a Navy Reserve Recruiter.

Find us on Facebook

The Chaplain Page on Facebook is a great place to interact with those interested in Navy Chaplaincy. Engage with real Navy Chaplains and read about their experiences. Ask questions and share your own thoughts. Plus connect with others who are simply looking to learn more about this inspiring community.

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Consider Your Service Options.

There are different ways that you can commit to serve in America’s Navy. Besides part-time opportunities in the Navy Reserve, full-time Active Duty positions are also available in this career area.