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How to Become a Marine Chaplain

Although most people associated with the Marine Corps think of themselves as “Marines,” the Marine Corps actually constitutes a part of the United States Navy, and the qualifications to become a Marine Chaplain match those of the Navy. Because the job of a chaplain in the Marine Corps and the other military branches of the federal government is so rigorous, each candidate must possess numerous credentials to join the program.

Apply for the Marine Corps Chaplain's program if you are a citizen of the United States and have received a bachelor’s or a graduate degree from an accredited university or college. You must also successfully pass a minimum of 36 hours at a divinity school of your faith, although a Masters of Divinity degree is preferred.

Pass the Marine Corps' physical for a commissioned officer.

Undergo and pass an investigation into your background for security purposes.

Be under 42 years of age to act as a commissioned Active Duty Chaplain. If you have served in the Corps prior to your making application for the program, the age limit rises to 44 years of age.

Submit an endorsement that states you have completed the requirements for your degree. Such an endorsement can come from the college or university where you received your religious training.

Certify that you have had at least two years of leadership experience in your faith.

Apply for admission to Chaplain Candidate Program Officer (CCPO) program if you fail to meet the requirements of the Marine Corps Chaplain program. You must be at least 21 years of age, possess a baccalaureate degree for an approved college or university, and submit an approval letter from a recognized religion. Furthermore, you must be enrolled in a theological program and be in good standing in it at the time of making the application to this program.


Bill Herrfeldt specializes in finance, sports and the needs of retiring people, and has been published in the national edition of "Erickson Tribune," the "Washington Post" and the "Arizona Republic." He graduated from the University of Louisville.