Military Chaplains


The military provides for the spiritual needs of its personnel by offering religious services, moral guidance, and counseling. Chaplains conduct worship services for military personnel and perform other spiritual duties covering the beliefs and practices of all religious faiths.

Job Details:

What They Do:

Chaplains in the military perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Conduct worship services in a variety of religious faiths
  • Perform religious rites and ceremonies, such as weddings and funeral services
  • Visit and provide spiritual guidance to personnel in hospitals and to their families
  • Counsel individuals who seek guidance
  • Promote attendance at religious services, retreats, and conferences
  • Oversee religious education programs, such as Sunday school and youth groups
  • Train lay leaders who conduct religious education programs
  • Prepare religious speeches and publications

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.

Special Requirements:

A master's degree in theology is required to enter this occupation. Ordination and ecclesiastical endorsement from a recognized religious denomination are also required.


The services have about 3,500 chaplains of various faiths. Each year, they need new chaplains due to changes in personnel and the demands of the field. Military chaplains may advance to become directors of religious programs in their services.