When you join the Guard as a Chaplain, you'll come in as a commissioned officer. If you join prior to your ordination, you'll enter as a Chaplain Candidate. You can learn more here about the requirements and training for Chaplain Candidates.
Chaplain Candidate Eligibility Requirements
In addition to general officer eligibility, to qualify as a Chaplain Candidate, you'll need to obtain an ecclesiastical approval from your denomination or faith group certifying that you:
- Are enrolled in or accepted into an accredited graduate program
- Are less than 34 years of age at the time you receive your commission*
- Are a full-time student working toward a graduate degree in Theology consisting of 72 or more hours
*Age waivers may be possible up to 39 in states with a requirement to fill a persistent shortage by contacting the state's Chaplain recruiting representative.
Special Branch Officer General Eligibility Requirements
To qualify as an officer, you must:
- Meet the prescribed medical and moral standards for appointment as a commissioned officer
- Be a United States citizen
- Have completed an accredited qualifying degree program
- Be 21 years of age
- Be able to obtain a secret security clearance
Training for Chaplains and Chaplain Candidates
Whether you come in as a Chaplain or a Chaplain Candidate, you'll attend the Chaplain Basic Officer Leader Course (CH-BOLC), where you'll learn fundamental military tasks and how to perform religious duties in a military environment. The three-month course can be completed in one block or in several phases over a 24-month period. CH-BOLC consists of three segments:
Chaplain Initial Military Training: In this four-week resident course, you'll learn core non-combatant skills such as map reading, military customs and courtesies, operations in field conditions and combat survival.
Phase I: In this two-week course you'll learn Army writing and correspondence.
Phase II and III: Two three-week courses will train you in Army-specific Chaplain duties and applying your civilian skills to the National Guard environment.