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How to Become a Certified Chaplain

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A chaplain is an individual ordained into a specific religious order who acts as a representative and liaison of his or her specific faith. Chaplains serve non-religiously affiliated communities, such as hospitals, mental health facilities, penitentiaries and the military. The Board of Certified Chaplains, an affiliate of the non-profit Association of Professional Chaplains, certifies chaplains of all religions to ensure their adherence to professional standards and to promote premium spiritual care in the United States.

Determine which application meets your needs. Those with no prior certifications from other chaplaincy organizations must complete an application packet for board certified chaplain, provisional certified chaplain and associate chaplain. Individuals who are already certified by other chaplaincy organizations, or are CPE supervisors, must complete a Board Certified Chaplain Cognate Group Application.

Other certifying chaplaincy organizations include the Canadian Association for Pastoral Practice and Education (CAPPE), the National Association of Jewish Chaplains (NAJC), the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE)and the National Association of Veterans Affairs Chaplains (NAVAC),

Complete the application and gather requisite materials. Incomplete applications will be returned to the applicant and the BCCI will keep $50.00 as an administrative fee. Applications for board certified chaplain, provisional certified chaplain or associate chaplain with no prior certifications from other chaplaincy organizations must include a completed application form, available from the BCCI website, undergraduate and graduate transcripts or equivalents, employer verification of chaplaincy that demonstrates that chaplains have 2,000 hours of work experience or more, commissioning or ordination documentation, three letters of recommendation, final evaluation from a CPE supervisor, an autobiography, competency essays that are given on the application and an ethical statement form. Applications for chaplains already certified by a cognate group must include an application form available from the BBCI website, a copy of certification from the cognate group, a copy of ordination or commissioning documents, a current letter of endorsement from the chaplain’s current work situation, ethical conduct forms and contact release information. Application packets must be submitted in duplicate or a $10 fee will be assessed to the applicant. A $50 application fee is assessed on all applications for Board Certified Chaplain Cognate Group applications.

Pay all requisite application fees. For individuals applying for the board certified chaplain and provisional certified chaplain certification, a $250 registration fee is required. For associate chaplains, $200 is required and current associate chaplains applying for BCC must pay $150 as of 2010. Checks are accepted.

Apply for a specific certification if you would like to focus on one religious aspect or group. The National Association of Jewish Chaplain, the National Association of Veterans Affairs Chaplains, the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education and the National Association of Catholic Chaplains all have specific certification requirements.

About the Author

Harper Jones has been a freelance writer since 2007. Her work has appeared in "Zink! Fashion Magazine," "emPower Magazine" and the "Washington Post." She has also published several health and fitness e-books and a book of short stories. Jones graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English and health sciences and currently works as a yoga teacher.

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