Chaplains are ministers of different denominations that work in hospitals, prisons, state and federal offices and anywhere that requires a religious presence. Chaplains often perform last rites when people are dying or handle crisis situations relating to spirituality when they occur in these various settings. The state of Michigan has chaplains working in their state government offices, in police stations, in prisons and in hospitals.
Education requirements for chaplains in Michigan vary considerably based upon individual job requirements. A high school degree is necessary, a bachelor's degree desired and a master's degree preferred. If an individual does not have a college education, he will need to have three to four years experience to be hired at many institutions. A bachelor's or master's degree in theology is the best route towards becoming a chaplain, along with Clinical Pastoral Education, or CPE. CPE is an interfaith education in crisis management that usually can be completed in one year or split up into twelve week segments.
Experience and Ordination
In Michigan the experience required for a chaplain differs depending on the position. Becoming a chaplain in Michigan requires that an individual have enough experience to be ordained as a minister in their denomination. This is determined by each denomination individually. For example, rabbis living in Michigan must complete education and experience in a seminary before being ordained. Certain Christian faiths require an application and intensive testing before receiving ordination in the state of Michigan.
Ecclesiastical endorsement is also required for most chaplain positions in Michigan. An ecclesiastical endorsement is a denomination's recommendation and affirmation that the individual has successfully performed ministering duties in the respective denomination that they are coming from, has appropriate training, has appropriate experience and has accountability with the denomination. If a chaplain position in Michigan requires an ecclesiastical endorsement then the employer will provide paperwork that needs to be filled out.