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  • Question about becoming a Chaplain

    I am interested in what it takes to become a chaplain in the National Guard. I have spoken with a local recruiter who has me on the following route: Basic Training as a E-4 Specialist (I have a bachelor's degree) with an mos as Chaplain Assistant, then OCS shortly following Basic. Following all the training I would enroll at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary to pursue my masters in divinity. (via the Federal and State Scholarship). I have recently been told however that it may be possible to direct commission, then begin my degree work without having to attend Basic or OCS. I am trying to consider the best route to go. If you have any further information I would be greatly appreciative.

    ( I scored an 87 on the ASVAB, and I am 28 years old, Licensed and Ordained as a Baptist Minister, Currently a full-time minister to students)

  • #2
    Re: Question about becoming a Chaplain

    Here is a LINK to the general requirements of a chaplain. It is possible to DC into the Chaplain Corps as a Chaplain Candidate, but I'm not real versed on the process. I know it involved drill as a CC while you attend a theological program.

    This LINK provides the training schedule for Chappies. I don't think your Recruiter was purposely trying to mislead you, but if you go to BCT, it's an enlistment he banks on.

    I know Chap4Me will probably chime in to help out!
    Last edited by TxIntel 1978; May 24th, 2013, 05:00 PM.

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    • #3
      Re: Question about becoming a Chaplain

      I can't tell you the best route until you tell me what are your goals, priorities, and constraints.

      The path your recruiter gave you is valid, but it's not the only way to go. You are welcome to complete divinity school, complete ordination, and then become a chaplain without enlistment, basic training, or prior service. This means, however, that you won't draw tuition assistance for divinity school, so if finances are an issue, perhaps enlisting first makes sense. If you do that, consider serving in a capacity other than chaplain assistant. I would recommend a combat arms MOS. You will have more credibility as a chaplain later if you can tell the troops that you enlisted as an Infantryman, or something similar.

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      • #4
        Re: Question about becoming a Chaplain

        What your recruiter told you is NOT how to become a Chaplain or Chaplain Candidate.

        Since you are in seminary you would try to become a Chaplain Candidate. Therefore you need to speak with the chaplain recruiter in the state you are in. You must have a Bachelors degree and be accepted to seminary to become a candidate. As a candidate you would get 4,500/yr FTA and whatever assistance your state offers.

        LTC Ritchie is somewhat wrong. If you forgo enlistment and chaplain candidacy thereby directly commissioning as a chaplain after seminary, you will receive the Chaplain Student Loan Repayment which equals 40k.

        Mustang Chaplains are not common, and troops care more about who you are and how you can help more than where you have been. However, you do get more credibility if you have deployed, but that is still not obligatory. Most troops respect the chaplain just because they are a chaplain and have the rank.

        Do not be surprised if your state is not accepting chaplain candidate applicants or chaplains. In that case you should revert back to the recruiters advice and become a line officer, or just enlist until a vacancy occurs.
        Last edited by Chaplain4me; May 30th, 2013, 01:09 PM.

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        • #5
          Re: Question about becoming a Chaplain

          Originally posted by TxIntel 1978 View Post
          Here is a LINK to the general requirements of a chaplain. It is possible to DC into the Chaplain Corps as a Chaplain Candidate, but I'm not real versed on the process. I know it involved drill as a CC while you attend a theological program.

          This LINK provides the training schedule for Chappies. I don't think your Recruiter was purposely trying to mislead you, but if you go to BCT, it's an enlistment he banks on.

          I know Chap4Me will probably chime in to help out!
          The requirements for active duty are somewhat different. To access to active duty without a experience waiver you must have two years experience after you complete seminary.

          In the National Guard as a Chaplain Candidate you can access after you complete seminary instead of completing the required two years. I think in the Guard if you try to directly access you still need two years experience.

          Count em up fellas, to become a chaplain: bachelor's 4/yr, master's 3/yr, experience 2/yr.....incoming grade O2....other specialty branches start at O3. Fairness none at all. As a chaplain candidate you start at 2LT and work your way up.

          It's no easy task to DC...it takes a lot of time and patience.
          Last edited by Chaplain4me; May 30th, 2013, 05:38 PM.

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          • #6
            Re: Question about becoming a Chaplain

            Chaplain4Me,
            I have a question regarding becoming a chaplain Candidate. I was prior service active duty, I came back into the guard under the 09S program. I started regular drilling and realized that I was being called into the Chaplaincy. I've spent almost a year trying to find a slot in my state. I was told I couldn't because I enlisted as an 09S. So I started drilling OCS and realized that is not for me and I have absolutly no peace about doing that. I will do whatever it takes to become a chaplain candidate. I am currently working on my Masters of Div. just curious as to what advice you can give me going forward. Can I indeed join the chaplaincy candidate programe even though I originally enlisted in 09S. Thanks

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            • #7
              Re: Question about becoming a Chaplain

              Originally posted by bjendrejas View Post
              Can I indeed join the chaplaincy candidate programe even though I originally enlisted in 09S. Thanks
              For precise guidance, have this conversation with your state's OSM, and perhaps involve the state chaplain.

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              • #8
                Re: Question about becoming a Chaplain

                Originally posted by matthew.ritchie View Post
                For precise guidance, have this conversation with your state's OSM, and perhaps involve the state chaplain.
                LOL........That sums it up!

                It's direct commission so I don't see why not....people DC into the chaplaincy all the time....but Candidate positions are few in number.

                But please follow the advice of LTC Ritchie.

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                • #9
                  Re: Question about becoming a Chaplain

                  Peace is one of those fluid things that comes and goes.....I wouldn't base my decision on a feeling.

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