To pursue military chaplaincy, contact your state national guard chaplain’s office or a reserve or active duty military recruiter. They will connect you with the service you are interested in serving. A seminarian can become a chaplain candidate, in training, until completion of seminary and until such time as you achieve ordination and standing in a region. You may then enter the reserves or Guard, but in order to be a full-time active duty chaplain you must have two years of full-time ministry after seminary and be in good standing.
Institutional Chaplains serve in hospitals, with hospices, in nursing homes and retirement settings. They can be found in state and local prisons and businesses. Pastoral Counselors and Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) Supervisors, those who teach pastoral care skills, are also included under the Institutional Chaplains umbrella. The men and women who serve in these capacities are called to these ministries.
The journey into chaplaincy may begin before, during or after seminary. After seminary, and usually a year of two in a ministry setting, all those under the chaplaincy umbrella begin CPE. The minimum requirement for certification as a chaplain is four units, or one year of Clinical Pastoral Education. CPE supervisors and pastoral counselors will spend a minimum of three more years of study, work and supervision to become certified in their fields.