How to Find and Get a Job

This page offers concrete, actionable suggestions for starting a career as a chaplain in the United States, as well as significant background information about the profession.

Most paid chaplaincy positions are in highly institutionalized settings, like healthcare, hospice, the military, corrections, and higher education. There are far fewer paid positions in community settings, municipal service, or social movements. The costs and potential compensation of becoming a chaplain are detailed in a report linked below.

The Lab posts chaplaincy job openings when requested, and these are listed below. Applying for those openings works the same as it would for any other job. The process of seeking employment with the federal government (i.e., the military, the Bureau of Prisons, and the Veterans Administration) is much different and described below. 

Here we focus first on general information about the field and then offer more concrete advice. We highly recommend you begin your exploration of jobs in spiritual care by reading our free eBook Beginner’s Guide to Spiritual Care.

General information about the spiritual care profession

Case studies

Four interactive case studies cover topics that all chaplains must understand and integrate, regardless of their educational institution or trajectory, such as meaning-making, navigating institutions, and more.

Costs of education and job compensation

The Lab’s report on the costs to become a chaplain and total compensation and work structure is available here.


The Lab publishes a number of eBooks covering a wide variety of topics in chaplaincy. These include a beginner’s guide to spiritual care, and introduction to clinical pastoral education, and more. These eBooks are free to download.


Educational requirements for jobs in chaplaincy vary widely by institution and sector. The most institutionalized careers (healthcare, the military, etc.) usually have the highest and most stringent requirements. The Lab’s resources on preparation for work in chaplaincy include the following:

Full time and part time jobs

Jobs in spiritual care can be either full time or part time.  Most full time chaplaincy jobs are in highly institutionalized settings, like healthcare, corrections, and the military. Many other jobs — especially in community settings — are part time.

You may also be interested in our Field Guide session “Combining Chaplaincy with Another Career.

Field Guide for Aspiring Chaplains

The Chaplaincy Innovation Lab’s Field Guide for Aspiring Chaplains offers an overview of the basics of spiritual care for those seeking to become a chaplain. In live sessions, there are also opportunities for small group discussion with experienced chaplains. This allows prospective chaplains a safe space to ask questions they may not otherwise feel comfortable asking, get on-the-ground advice for next steps, and generally understand the field better. The series takes place every academic semester, and we encourage students to register (at no cost) here. Previous sessions can also be viewed in full.

A good starting place when viewing the Field Guide series are our overview sessions “Introduction to Spiritual Care,” “‘I’m thinking about working in spiritual care’: Key Issues to Consider” and “What do you know now that you wish you knew before you entered the field?

What employers look for in chaplains

We interviewed leaders in six key spiritual care sectors and asked what they need in the places they serve. You can view those interviews here.

Tools for finding a career in spiritual care

Building a professional network

  • Consider some key questions before starting:
    • Doing research ahead of time: who do I want to network with and why?
    • Asking for a meeting: how do I reach out to someone and ask to speak with them?
    • Be curious about other peoples’ experiences: what makes a good networking conversation?
    • Be thoughtful about using other people’s time: how can I ensure the meeting feels productive for everyone involved? 
    • Stay connected: how can I stay in touch with people after I meet them? 
    • Consider the stakes: why would someone lend me their professional credibility in my job search?
    • “Everything is an interview:” why is it important to present well in these conversations? What does it mean to bring the best version of myself?
  • The second session in our series with certified career coach Erica Mattison explored networking. What’s your professional brand and how are you managing it? LinkedIn, for example, is a valuable tool for connecting with your network, building new connections, and establishing yourself in your field. In this session, you’ll learn how to leverage LinkedIn so you are informed, engaged, and creating value with your network throughout your career. You can view the session in its entirety here.
  • The third session in our series with certified career coach Erica Mattison explored proactive approaches to relationship building. You can watch that session in its entirety here.

Current job openings

Current job openings, as well as CPE openings, are listed here.

Finding job openings

  • We provide resources on the job search process here.
  • Consider these key questions and use the networking tools described above to reach out to those who may have answers:
    • Being knowledgeable about online applications: what happens when you submit your resume to a job posting online?
    • Using a campus career center: how can a career center help you and what are their limits?
    • Using a network: why is getting a job through people you know a more reliable way to secure a job?

What employers look for in chaplains

We interviewed leaders in six key spiritual care sectors and asked what they need in the places they serve. You can view those interviews here.

What if I want to work in a specific sector of chaplaincy?

The Lab has a number of resources related to specific areas in which chaplains serve. We encourage you to explore:

What kind of chaplaincy job should I look for?

Self-knowledge and awareness of your field are key components for launching your career or making a career switch. The first session of our series with certified career coach Erica Mattison explored foundational career management best practices to help you tap into your skills and strengths to lead an impactful career. You can view the session in its entirety here.

The Lab offers workshops, virtually or in person, for educational institutions and others seeking to prepare future chaplains. Each workshop session (anywhere from three to five per series) lasts 90 minutes and includes assigned work for participants to complete before the next session. Three to five sessions are core to the program, and each participant will be offered a personal session for their own needs at the end of the series.

Organizations interested in offering chaplaincy career workshops should contact Michael Skaggs, Director of Programs, at