What are the education requirements to be an Army chaplain?
You must have completed your baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution and completed at least 72 graduate semester hours of your Master of Divinity or equivalent degree. If you have the baccalaureate degree but not the M.Div or equivalent, you may qualify for the chaplain candidate program. The Florida National Guard is looking for qualified clergy to minister to all our Soldiers from a wide variety of faith groups and beliefs.
How much will I be paid as a U.S. National Guard Chaplain?
As a guard Chaplain, you will initially be paid as a First-Lieutenant or Captain, depending on your experience and qualifications. During a two-day, weekend drill you will at least earn between $371 and $429 (Candidates will earn at least $322). While you attend your two-week annual training you will earn the normal monthly active duty pay, a subsistence allowance, and quarters allowance for the days you are on duty. Please write or call your recruiter for the most up-to-date information on Army pay.
What benefits will I receive in addition to my pay?
You will have full Post Exchange (PX) and commissary privileges for you and your family. You will have limited medical benefits that include a physical exam every 5 years and immunizations as needed. You and your family will also be able to use many of the on-post activities such as the craft shop and bowling center. If you volunteer, you may be chosen for Active Duty for Special Work (ADSW) for several days to several months. If chosen you will receive active duty pay and full benefits for the duration of the ADSW. While performing these duties you will be earning credit toward retirement.
How am I selected and who determines if I qualify for the National Guard Chaplaincy?
You will have to meet Army qualifications – physical, educational and moral. You will also have to meet your church’s qualifications by getting an Ecclesiastical Endorsement from them. For more information, click here to see the requirements for joining the team.
Do I need to pass a physical examination?
Yes. You will need to discuss any concerns you have about the physical examination with your recruiter. The Army will provide this examination for you, free of charge.
How do I contact my ecclesiastical endorsing agent?
There are over 240 Department of Defense recognized endorsers. Your recruiter has a complete list and can tell you how to contact yours.
I am currently a commissioned officer in the Reserve or on Active Duty. How do I become a National Guard Chaplain?
You will have to branch transfer. The particulars of how to do that will depend on how much schooling you have had. Please click here to contact your Chaplain Recruiter.
If I become a National Guard Chaplain Candidate or Chaplain, can I join active duty later?
Yes. We require most ordained Chaplains to have two years of post-seminary experience prior to going on active duty. The National Guard provides Army training while you get that experience. Currently the Army is looking to fill nearly 100 active duty positions each year.
I am an enlisted member on active duty or in the Reserve. How can I become a National Guard Chaplain?
If you qualify, you can submit a DA Form 4187 to request early release to enter the seminary or Chaplain Corps depending on your education level. Please contact your chaplain recruiter for more information.
I am a prior service Soldier and I would like to become a chaplain. I don’t know if I qualify with the Re-enlistment (RE) Code on my DD Form 214 (Service Document).
RE Codes are very confusing. The best way to get good information on your eligibility is to ask your recruiter for a determination. Click here to contact your chaplain recruiter.
Will I have to go to basic training (boot camp)?
No. Chaplains and Chaplain Candidates do not attend combatant training. Instead, they attend the Chaplain officer Basic Course (CHOBC) which is a 12 week course taught in Fort Jackson, South Carolina. It will provide you an introduction to the non-combatant common core skills, Army writing and chaplaincy-specific training. The Army will not require nor allow you to bear arms as part of your military duties.
Do I have to attend all 12 weeks of the Chaplain Officer Basic Course (CHOBC) at once?
No. It is taught in four phases. Each phase must be taken sequentially; however, the entire course does not have to be taken in the same year.

  • Common Core – four week resident course that teaches non-combatant common core skills such as map reading, military customs and courtesies, operations in field conditions and combat survival.
  • Phase 1 – RC – two week course that focuses on Army writing and correspondence. This course can be completed by correspondence for Army National Guard Chaplains.
  • Phase 2 – RC – three week resident course of instruction in Army-specific chaplain duties.
  • Phase 3 – RC – three week resident course of instruction in Army-specific chaplain duties giving chaplains and chaplain candidates the ability to apply their civilian pastoral skills in the Army National Guard environment.
I am interested in being a chaplain and I want to join a National Guard Unit too. I have to lead my own congregation every Sunday (Saturday). Do I have to attend “drill” on Sundays (Saturdays)?
Most, if not all, guard units will give you that flexibility. You should contact the unit you plan on joining to find out their requirements. Usually, chaplains who lead a church will hold services for the guard unit on Saturday (Sunday), lead their own churches on Sunday (Saturday) and then make up the missed day sometime prior to the next “drill” weekend. If this happens, you will only need to be away from your congregation during your 2-week annual training.
Can I earn retirement benefits as a National Guard Chaplain?
Yes. You will earn retirement benefits after 20 years of service with at least 50 retirement points per year. Benefits include a non-contributory (the government pays for all of it) annuity at age 60, world-wide space-available travel, permanent use of Post Exchange and Commissary, life-time membership in Tricare healthcare. The actual amount of retirement pay is contingent on years served and service record of the member. For the most current benefits, click here to contact your chaplain recruiter for the latest updates and calculations.
Where will I be assigned?
As an Army National Guard chaplain, you will serve Soldiers and their family members (men and women of Florida). An Army National Guard chaplain is a preacher, a teacher, a counselor and a citizen Soldier. They are men and women who minister to their neighbors – neighbors who dedicate a portion of their private time to their country. The National Guard Chaplain accepts the challenge to go beyond his or her traditional ministry to better serve the community.
What will my assignment look like?
A new National Guard Chaplain is normally assigned to the nearest available unity. You may be the religious leader for several hundred citizen Soldiers. At the same time, you serve as a personal advisor to the battalion commander. In this role, you advise the commander on all matters of morality, integrity and religious matters for your fellow Soldiers. During annual training, you will coordinate with other chaplains and active duty post chaplains to ensure your Soldiers have the opportunity to worship within their own faith. Chaplains may also serve as administrators and facilitators. For example, you could be an instructor at an annual marriage enrichment weekend for our Soldiers and their families. You may also have the opportunity to volunteer for short periods of active duty.
Will I work alone?
You will lead the Unit Ministry Team (UMT), which consists of you and a trained chaplain assistant. He or she will help you settle into your new role and act as your helper and administrative assistant. Chaplain assistants are fully trained on the conduct of the worship service as well as Soldier specific tasks. Your assistant will perform administrative duties which will free you to preach, teach and counsel.
Will I be an Officer?
Yes. You will enter with an officer’s rank, usually First Lieutenant. However, depending upon your age, experience and circumstances, it is possible you will enter with a higher rank such as Captain. Also, National Guard chaplains receive the same pay, allowances and benefits earned by all commissioned officers. You will also receive an initial uniform allowance, promotion opportunities and retirement benefits. Most Chaplain Candidates come in as Second Lieutenant and move up in rank as they progress in their training.
Are there female chaplains?
Yes. A career as an Army Chaplain is open to all qualified individuals regardless of race, religion or gender. Some unit assignments however, require additional qualifications which may limit availability to all chaplains. Examples might include Special Forces Groups and combat battalions consisting of all male Soldiers.
Is there a financial bonus for becoming a National Guard chaplain?
Yes. The National Guard is now offering a bonus of up to $10,000 for unit Chaplains. The bonus is payable in a lump sum following the completion of the Chaplain Officers Basic Course, which must be completed within 36 months of commissioning. The bonus requires service of at least three years in a Guard unit once you become a qualified Chaplain.
Do I need permission to join the Army?
Yes. You should consult your ecclesiastical superior before contacting an Army Chaplain Recruiter.
Will I have to carry a weapon?
No. Army Chaplains are non-combatants. In the field, an armed chaplain assistant accompanies and protects you.