Basic eligibility requirements. Must be a U.S. citizen; be able to complete 20 years of active commissioned service as a Naval officer before 60th birthday. Age waivers may be granted on a case basis to meet the needs of the Navy. Must meet established Navy medical/physical standards; must have an Ecclesiastical Endorsement (or "approval" for students) from a religious faith group approved by the Department of Defense.
Special Requirements for Chaplain Students. Must be enrolled full time in an accredited graduate program of professional study in theology, or related study, leading to a graduate degree. Must maintain satisfactory full time standing under the standards of the graduate/theological school and in any training prescribed by the student's religious faith group.
Special Requirements for Active Duty and Reserve Chaplains. Must be a graduate of an accredited college or university with a bachelor's degree of 120 semester hours, and hold a graduate degree that includes a minimum of 72 semester hours (at least 36 of these hours must be in the core religious and/or ministry areas, e.g. sacred scripture, church or religious history, pastoral counseling, liturgy/worship, and/or theology)
The standard of accreditation is the Education Directory, Colleges and Universities published by the U.S. Department of Education (ACE). Three letters of equivalency must be obtained from an accredited American school for schools outside the United States and for non- accredited schools. Applicants for active duty must have a minimum of 2 years religious leadership experience compatible with clergy in their religious organization. With detailed documentation from their Endorser, experience gained prior to or during graduate studies equal to 2 years of leadership experience may be accepted.
Appointment. Entry into the Chaplain Corps may be as a lieutenant junior grade or lieutenant. Chaplain students enter at the rank of ensign. The grade and seniority within grade for each applicant commissioned in the Chaplain Corps is determined by the program, amount of service credit awarded for theological education, pastoral/ministry/religious leadership experience and/or prior commissioned service.
Military Obligation for Chaplain Students. All chaplain students may apply for approximately 45 days of training at the Navy Chaplain School in Newport, R.I. commencing in June of their first summer after commissioning.
The program consists of classroom instruction, introducing new candidates to the Chaplain Corps and institutional ministry in a religiously pluralistic environment, followed immediately with a few weeks of on-the-job training. Additional OJT is available during following summers/school breaks, providing further exposure to the varied ministries available in the Navy Chaplain Corps. For seminary programs that extend beyond three years of training, Chaplain candidates are encouraged to drill with active or reserve chaplains where possible and to take correspondence courses. Upon graduation from seminary, a chaplain candidate should gain two years professional experience in fulltime ministry and then consider a superseding appointment in the Chaplain Corps, U.S. Naval Reserve for active or inactive duty.
Military obligation for Active Duty Chaplains. All chaplains receive basic military orientation training at the Naval Chaplain School in Newport, R.I. prior to their first duty assignment. Chaplain school classes are held three times each fiscal year beginning in January, June, and September. Course curriculum length varies depending on designator, i.e. 4105 (active), 41051 (reserve), and 1945 (student). Selected 4105 applicants must agree to serve on initial active duty at least three years.
Military Obligation for Reserve Chaplains. All Reserve chaplains are required to complete their military orientation training at Newport, R.I. within two years of commissioning. To accommodate pastoral commitments, this school can be attended in two sections, during their first and second years in the program. Selectees serve in a volunteer status in a non-pay billet for drilling reservist's points. As openings in the selected reserve become available, chaplains may apply for pay billets. Reservists may perform additional (limited) days of active duty each year as funding permits.