Helping move the good work forward Religious Specialist

Facilitate the work of Navy Chaplains as they go about their crucial work. And assist in administering programs to meet the religious needs of the brave men and women who serve their own higher cause.

Job Description

You could find yourself at a Naval base, in a hospital or with the Marines, supporting the clergy of all faiths. If making a real difference in people’s lives is important to you, the religion field may be an ideal place to serve.

Serving as both an administrative resource and a source of personal security, Religious Program Specialists (RPs) are an important asset to Navy Chaplains.

Primarily, it is the responsibility of the Religious Program Specialist to provide Chaplains with the administrative, technical and logistical support they need to carry out the religious programs and services that servicemembers rely on.

Beyond the clerical functions, there’s also the responsibility of ensuring the safety of Chaplains – who are noncombatants and not authorized to bear arms. Religious Program Specialists are trained as combatants, and one of their essential duties is to protect Chaplains.

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

Reservists in this occupational specialty typically find themselves taking on the Religious Program Specialist role, developing and supporting programs to meet the needs of Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard personnel and their families.

As part of this occupational specialty, you could:

  • Provide support for religious activities
  • Maintain records and ecclesiastical documents of various faith groups
  • Operate, manage and maintain religious ministry facilities afloat and ashore
  • Assist in preparing devotional and religious educational materials and audiovisual displays

As a Religious Program Specialist in the Navy, your responsibilities could include any or all of the following:

  • Support clergy of all faiths in the facilitation of religious activities
  • Provide physical security for Chaplains during field exercises and in combat environments
  • Maintain records, ecclesiastical documents and references for various faith groups
  • Operate, manage and maintain religious ministry facilities
  • Assist in the preparation of devotional and religious educational materials and audiovisual displays
  • Handle all phases of the logistical support requirements for religious programs
  • Operate/maintain libraries and publicize the command’s religious activities


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.

Religious Program Specialists in the Navy Reserve serve in an Enlisted role. Before receiving the ongoing professional training that comes with the job, initial training requirements must be met.

For current or former Enlisted military servicemembers: Prior experience satisfies the initial recruit training requirement – so you will not need to go through Boot Camp again.

For those without prior military experience: You will need to meet the initial Recruit Training requirement by attending Boot Camp for seven to nine weeks in Great Lakes, IL. This training course will prepare you for service in the Navy Reserve and count as your first Annual Training.

Career Advantages

The training you receive in the Navy Reserve can prepare you for religious and administrative positions in the civilian community. It also offers you the chance to see places and meet people you’ll remember for the rest of your life. You’ll become familiar with religious studies and expeditionary skills training that will benefit you in either a religious or business environment.

In addition, some of your formal and on-the-job training will transfer as college credit hours. What’s more, you could potentially get full tuition for college – plus money for books and living expenses – through the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

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.

Note that no college degree is required to work in this field. You should, however, be supportive of clergy and individual religious convictions, be of good moral character and have a strong desire to serve others.

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.

Here's what you might expect to find:

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.