MOS 56X—Chaplain Candidate

Join While Still Studying For The Ministry

You do not need to wait until ordination to join the Army Chaplaincy. You can train to become an Army Chaplain at the same time you are training for the ministry. The training and experience you will receive as a Chaplain Candidate will be a rich adjunct to your ministerial education and training. All Chaplain Candidates are commissioned officers assigned to the Army Reserve in the Staff Specialists Branch.

Should you decide to become an Army Chaplain, by participating in the Chaplain Candidate Program (CCP), you will have a head start on entering the Army as a Chaplain, as well as enjoying the many benefits and privileges associated with being an Army officer.

Chaplain Basic Officer Leadership Course

All Chaplain Candidates are encouraged to attend Chaplain Basic Officers Leadership Course (CBOLC). CBOLC is 12 weeks long and is offered twice a year (winter and summer). Normally a candidate does the first half of CBOLC (Chaplain Initial Military Training/CIMT and Phase 1) as soon as possible since it is a prerequisite for all other training in the CCP. It is not until the summer before their senior year that Chaplain Candidates can complete Phases II and III. Candidates who enter the CCP as seniors in school may complete all of CBOLC at once if they plan on accessioning as a chaplain following graduation.

Paid Practicums

A Chaplain Candidate is authorized up to 45 days a year to train under the supervision of a senior chaplain at a military installation. This training, called a "practicum," is offered to all candidates once they have completed the first part of CBOLC.

Practicums vary in type, to include Army Reserve Commands, Chaplaincy Recruiting, Garrison Ministries, Combat Ministries, Medical Training and Administrative Support. Some Candidates take advantage of the opportunity to earn their Parachutist Badge at Fort Benning and/or their Air Assault Badge at Fort Campbell. The most comprehensive training is one quarter of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) through the Medical Command involving 75 days.

Practicums, which may vary in length from a minimum of 12 days to a maximum of 45 days (except for Clinical Pastoral Education which is 75), may be done at most any time of the year.
Chaplain Candidate Requirements

To be eligible for this program, you must:

  • Obtain an ecclesiastical approval from your denomination or faith group.
  • Educationally, you must:
    • Possess a baccalaureate degree of not less than 120 semester hours (College seniors can apply before completion of their undergraduate program).
    • Be a full-time graduate student at an accredited seminary or theological school.
  • Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
  • Be able to receive a favorable National Agency Security Clearance.
  • Pass a physical exam at one of our Military Entrance Processing Stations (MEPS).
  • Must be at least 18 years of age and not older than 40 years of age at time of appointment.

While attending seminary, Chaplain Candidates may apply for tuition assistance through the U.S. Army Reserve. You may be eligible for up to 100% of the tuition costs, up to $250 per credit hour with a maximum cap of $4500 per year. This program requires service of at least four years in a U.S. Army Reserve unit once you become a qualified Chaplain.
ROTC Education Delay Program For Chaplaincy Studies

The ROTC Education Delay Program offers ROTC Cadets the opportunity to apply for a delay in the fulfillment of their Active Duty Service Obligation (ADSO) in order to become an Army Chaplain.

1. Cadets normally apply for an education delay at the same time and on the same form (FORM 67-9) that they use to submit their choice of a branch selection, usually between the months of May and September before their senior year of college. The Army approves education delays on a case-by-case basis through a board process.
2. Once a cadet is granted an Education Delay by USA Cadet Command (USACC), the cadet then contacts an Army Chaplain Recruiting Team (CRT) in order to submit an application packet for a Chaplain Candidate Accessions Board. Should the cadet not be accessed by this board, or should the cadet neglect to submit an application for accessing, the cadet would then be branched by USACC in accordance to their original obligation.
3. Once a cadet is accessed as a Chaplain Candidate, they are entitled to all the benefits of and responsibilities of the CCP except Tuition Assistance. Cadets can contact their PMS, the USACC chaplain, or a CRT.

ROTC Chaplain Internship Program (CHIP)

The United States Army Cadet Command (USACC) offers summer internships at selective Army posts for selected cadets during their junior year in order to explore the chaplaincy. For more information cadets should contact their PMS or USACC chaplain.

Article Last Modified: February 21, 2011

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