Chaplain talking with other Service Members

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Service Branches

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Work Environment

Chaplains in the military usually work in offices hospitals and places of worship. Those assigned to sea duty work aboard ships. Those assigned to land combat units sometimes work outdoors.

  • Military Status


  • Median Military Salary This is the median, or the midpoint, of the salary range for this career.


    Military Salary Range Salary varies based on years of service, degree level, special pays, family status and location.

    $55,441 - $263,263


Military chaplains administer broad religious programs designed to meet the needs of the military community. They offer spiritual care and ensure all military members and their families have opportunities to exercise their constitutional entitlement to the free exercise of religion. They provide religious services, religious accommodation, pastoral care, unit engagement, and counseling to meet the diverse needs of military members.

Military Training

Officers typically enter the Military after they have completed a four-year college degree; enlisted service members can transition to officer positions through a variety of pathways and earn a degree while serving. Chaplains may have an education in religious studies. Job training for chaplains consists of classroom and on-the-job learning in various environments. Like other officers they complete a comprehensive training program covering responsibilities military structure and etiquette traditions and leadership development. Job-specific training content may include:

  • Role and responsibility of military chaplains
  • Administration and leadership techniques
  • Training and education methods
  • Procedures for planning programs
  • Pastoral counseling methods

Helpful Attributes

  • Ability to express ideas clearly and concisely
  • Interest in planning and directing the work of others
  • Sensitivity to the needs of others

Related Civilian Careers

  • Directors, Religious Activities and Education
  • Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers

Army Chaplains

Soldiers Share What Motivates Them as Army Chaplains

Length 1:29 View Transcript


Military service means being there to serve the men and women in uniform, according to their First Amendment rights.  So ensuring that religious freedom and that religious practice are encouraged and supported. 

If they are Buddhist, or Hindu, or Islamic, or whatever their faith tradition is, we want to be able to help them connect with their religious choice, or their spiritual practice, whatever that may be. 

The kind of relationship we have, the trust that we’re able to build within the ranks, and the confidentiality that we have has given me the chance to touch on some very deep and meaningful experiences.

We nurture the living, we care for the wounded, we honor the fallen.  The greatest opportunity we are allowed as chaplains is to be able to lay to rest those who’ve served our nation, to be there when that soldier finishes the race.  They’ve given all.  They’ve given the full sacrifice.  I am grateful to all the men and women who have committed themselves to either serve as a religious affairs specialist, a religious affairs NCO, or to serve as a chaplain in the United States Army.  You are part of our legacy.