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How to Become a Hospice Chaplain

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Hospice chaplains are licensed, ordained members of the clergy who spend time meeting the spiritual and emotional needs of patients and families of patients currently utilizing hospice. These chaplains may or may not have served an entire congregation as a pastor. Becoming a hospice chaplain involves obtaining the proper credentials and securing either a paid or volunteer position in a hospice.

Read the requirements of being a hospice chaplain before moving ahead. You often will be working with patients and families of patients who are terminally ill, so make certain you understand the importance of the role, and the compassion required.

Locate an organization that provides chaplain credentials to qualified individuals. Qualified can mean anything from providing a proper resume and valid references to having a college degree in theology or divinity. Read the requirements of any organization you choose and learn as much as you can about it before aligning yourself with it. If you already belong to a religious denomination, ask the clergy staff if they have a process in place for becoming a licensed, ordained hospice chaplain. If not, try chaplain-ministries.com or tcchaplains.org.

Complete the application steps required by your denomination or organization and pay any applicable fees.

Begin to seek a volunteer or paid position as a hospice chaplain. You may note on your resume your new credentials upon approval. As a chaplain, the denomination, ordaining organization or hospice-care facility might require ongoing education and training.


Some organizations require you to raise your own financial support, as the position will be voluntary, so having a background in raising money for non-profit organizations or self-marketing can be helpful. There are many hospice organizations or departments that seek qualified chaplains. You may serve an internship at a hospital before moving to a hospice, depending on the organizational requirements or methods of training in place.


You’ll be expected to follow and uphold a code of ethics. Be sure to read all information about your selected organization to ensure you haven’t missed anything important.