The Chaplain Candidate Program is for individuals who are in or accepted in a seminary’s Master of Divinity degree program. (Ordained ministers are not eligible for this program.) It allows an individual to explore the military chaplaincy, while still in preparation for ministry. This office only works the church side of the chaplain candidate approval process. You must work with a chaplain recruiter from the specific service you are interested in to complete the military side of the process. If you need help in contacting a chaplain recruiter, please contact us.
1) You can find information on each of the three branch of service and the National Guard on these websites.
- Navy Chaplain Candidate Program (PDF)
- Army Chaplain Candidate Program
- Air Force Chaplain Candidate Program
- National Guard Program
2) In order to participate in a Chaplain Candidate program you must have Ecclesiastical Approval.
We work this discernment and validation process in partnership and with consultation of your presbytery. This means you must be in a relationship with your presbytery and under their care and guidance.
3) You must complete the Application for Chaplain Candidate Approval.
If you are interested in applying for the Chaplain Candidate Approval please complete this form. Application Form (Word).
4) It is also important for you to understand that Ecclesiastical Approval is not the same thing as Ecclesiastical Endorsement.
Appointment as a chaplain to the armed forces requires ecclesiastical endorsement, and you will need to submit the application for Ecclesiastical Endorsement at the appropriate time.
5) While in the program, you must submit annual reports to the PCCMP on both your academic work and your military training.
If you are in the chaplain candidate program please submit the Chaplain Candidate Report Form (Word). Normally you would submit this report following your annual training with the military.
Frequently Asked Questions on Chaplain Candidate Program
1) If I am accepted in a Seminary enrolled in the Master of Divinity for the next school year, may I apply for the Chaplain Candidate Program?
Yes, you may begin the process with us for your ecclesiastical approval. On the application, list the seminary you plan on attending and in the section G please explain your circumstance.
2) If I am not in a relationship with a presbytery, but attending a seminary, may I apply for the ecclesiastical approval?
As a Presbyterian from one of our four denominations, you must be in an appropriate relationship as defined by your denomination. If you need help in working these issues please contact our office and we will gladly assist you to find the right place to start and begin the process.
3) If I have an ecclesiastical approval, can I just go ahead and move into the active duty or reserve chaplaincy upon my ordination?
No, approval and endorsement are not equivalent processes. The endorsement process is much more stringent. The approval process is to encourage you to explore ministry in the military, the endorsement process is to validate your ability to provide ministry.
4) Are the Army Chaplain Candidate and National Guard Chaplain Candidate programs the same?
The programs are not the same and have different requirements.
5) Is it true that you are paid to be a chaplain candidate?
Chaplain Candidates are military officers and paid accordingly for active training and duty days.