Health Occupations
& Technology

Spiritual Care Provider/Chaplain

To be a successful Spiritual Care Provider/Chaplain you should…

  • Be a person of faith
  • Enjoy interacting with people from diverse backgrounds
  • Remain calm in crisis and other stressful situations
  • Be responsive to the patient’s agenda rather than following your own agenda for the patient
  • Remain accepting and non-judgmental of others whose values differ from yours
  • Enjoy listening to others’ stories, and learning from those to whom you minister
  • Enjoy working in an environment that can be unpredictable such that you don’t know what your day will look like when you report to work in the morning
  • Trust that your genuine presence is more important than any particular thing you do or say

What will my job be like?

The chaplain is a full member of the health care team who provides for the pastoral needs of patients/residents/clients, families, and staff. Specifically, the chaplain, through professional training and certification, assists patients/residents/clients to understand more fully life’s events as they relate to their spiritual and emotional well-being. From the patient’s/resident’s/client’s life experience, the chaplain may offer prayer or reflection.

Where could I work?

Spiritual care providers work as chaplains in hospitals, psychiatric facilities, rehabilitation facilities, long term care facilities, and hospice programs. In addition, many churches and religious congregations hire spiritual care providers to care for their members who are infirm or bereaved. Moreover, spiritual care providers can obtain positions as chaplains in a variety of institutions such as schools, prisons and the military. Some spiritual care providers also find employment in industry as chaplains and employment assistance counselors.

What is the average annual salary?


What is the future of this career?

With the importance of the spiritual dimension of health and healing well established, more and more healthcare institutions are providing for the spiritual care of their patients. The presence of the chaplain in the hospital is therefore assured. In addition, with the focus of health care being shifted more and more to the outpatient setting, opportunities are opening up for creative spiritual care providers to make places for themselves in clinics and in alternative and complementary medicine settings.

What type of education and/or training do I need?

To become a certified chaplain, you will need to complete a Master of Divinity degree or its equivalent as well as four units (1,600 hours) of clinical pastoral education. Today, most hospitals hire only chaplains who are certified or are eligible for certification. In other settings, the requirements may be less strictly adhered to.

Where can I get the education and/or training?

Locally, most chaplain candidates complete their Master of Divinity degree either at Yale Divinity School or at Andover Newton Theological School in Newton, MA. At least some of the coursework towards the degree may also be taken at Hartford Seminary, University of St. Joseph or Sacred Heart University.

Clinical pastoral education is offered at a number of Hospitals around Connecticut such as St. Francis Hospital, Norwalk Hospital and Bridgeport Hospital. For a complete listing, you can check the website of the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education, Inc., listed below.

Do I need a license or certification for this career?

The State of Connecticut does not license or certify chaplains. Chaplains are certified by the Association of Professional Chaplains, or, for those who are Roman Catholic, by the National Association of Catholic Chaplains.

Where can I get more information?

Association of Professional Chaplains
2800 W. Higgins
Suite 295
Hoffman Estates, IL  60169
(847) 240-1014

Spiritual Care Provider/Chaplain
National Association of Jewish Chaplains
4200 Biscayne Boulevard
Miami, FL  33137
(305) 394-8018

Association for Clinical Pastoral Education

National Association of Catholic Chaplains