How To Become a VA Chaplain
VA chaplains are employed at VA medical facilities in three different capacities: full-time, part-time, and intermittent. To be considered for the role of full-time or part-time VA chaplain, an applicant must typically have the following qualifications:are employed at VA medical facilities in three different capacities: full-time, part-time, and intermittent. To be considered for the role of full-time or part-time VA chaplain, an applicant must typically have the following qualifications:
• U.S. citizen
• Hold a Master of Divinity degree or degree of equal qualification and religious education
• Show an ecclesiastical endorsement dated within 12 months of applying for the VA chaplain position
• Completed at least four units of Clinical Pastoral Education in a program accredited by the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education or the or the Institute for Clinical PastroalTraining.
• Application is available at:
– ACPE website - https://www.acpe.edu/ACPE/Resources/Forms.aspx
– New CPE Student Application Form (orbund.com)
• Fluent in written and spoken English
• Registered with Selective Service or have a valid exemption
• Meet any appropriate requirements for specialized chaplaincy service – such as mental health or substance abuse counseling
Available full-time and part-time VA chaplain positions are listed at usajobs.gov. Simply search “chaplain” to see all available job openings. To apply for a specific position, you must submit a resume, your ecclesiastical endorsement, applicable school transcripts, a copy of your DD-214 form if you’re a veteran, and copies of your clinical pastoral education certification.
Depending on the specific position you’re applying for, you may also be asked to submit additional documentation related to that role. Letters of recommendation are not required with your application, but it may strengthen your application to include recommendations from recent employers where applicable.
For contract chaplain services, VA medical centers will recruit locally. To find out about opportunities, you can call the chaplain office for the VA location you’re interested in and ask whether they currently are accepting applications for contract chaplain work. Please note that both contract and fee-based chaplains are required to meet the same qualification requirements as full-time and part-time chaplains employed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.