What You Need to Know About Becoming an Army Chaplain
The Universal Life Church encourages anyone interested in becoming an army chaplain to get ordained and pursue that dream. Chaplains can play an important role in the spiritual guidance of the men and women serving our country. While there are numerous routes to take, some are more fruitful than others, and many people are reviewing the Chaplain Basic Officer Leadership Course offered by the U.S. Army. Please be aware that the Universal Life Church does not currently offer a training program of this sort for its ordained ministers, but the church encourages anyone who can meet the requirements for this program to participate.
How to Get Involved in the Chaplain Basic Officer Leadership Course
Chaplain candidates should attend the Chaplain Basic Officers Leadership Course (CBOLC). This program is 12 weeks long, and candidates can enroll twice a year. There is a winter enrollment and a summer enrollment. Each candidate will spend the first half of the year completing the requirements for Phase 1 and Chaplain Initial Military Training (CMIT). Phase II and Phase III will occur in the senior year. If a candidate enters as a senior, they can complete the CBOLC all at once, and accession as a chaplain will begin immediately after graduation.
Paid practicums are necessary for a chaplain candidate. For 45 days, the candidate is authorized to train with the supervision of a senior chaplain. This training usually occurs at a military installation. Candidates can only enroll after the first part of the CBOLC.
There are several different types of practicums including Chaplaincy Recruiting, Army Reserve Commands, Garrison Ministries, Combat Ministries, Administrative Support, and Medical Training. At the Fort Benning base, some candidates will earn their Parachutist Badge or Air Assault Badge at Fort Campbell.
The Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) is one of the most comprehensive trainings. It is offered through the Medical Command and will require 75 days to complete. In general, practicums require between 12 and 45 days to complete.
In addition to the practicum, you should also obtain approval from your denomination or faith group. You should possess a baccalaureate degree that required 120 semester hours or more to complete. College students can apply during their senior year.
Candidates must also be a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident and must be a full-time graduate student at an accredited theological or seminary school. These candidates must be eligible to receive a favorable National Agency Security Clearance and be able to pass a physical exam offered by a Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS). Candidates cannot be older than 39 years of age or younger than 18 years of age.
If you are a candidate or know someone who’s interested in the program, you or they can apply for tuition assistance with the U.S. Army Reserve. Candidates are eligible for up to 100 percent of tuition costs. Once the candidate is a qualified chaplain, he or she is required to serve at least four years. Get ordained and become a chaplain. It may make a difference in your life.