How to Become a Woman Chaplain

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One career that allows women to enter into its ranks, just as men do, is that of a chaplain. The Association of Professional Chaplains lists the job descriptions of chaplains, and these descriptions apply to men and women equally. Men and women chaplains must meet the same criteria and have the same abilities to succeed as chaplains. Female chaplains act as pastors in churches or serve hospitals as a religious presence to pray with patients and their families, or deliver the patients' last rites at the time of death.

Things You'll Need

  • Undergraduate college degree
  • Register for theological classes at a master's degree level, which will count toward earning a master's degree in theological study. The college or university where you enroll must be accredited by the Association of Theological Schools. Once you complete the coursework, you will earn your degree.

  • Enroll in and complete four units of Clinical Pastoral Education. You must enroll and complete the courses with an educational institution certified by the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education.

  • Obtain certification with the Association of Professional Chaplains.

  • Work as a clinical chaplain for two years so you can shadow chaplains and gain hands-on experience in the various levels of work. Work experience includes writing and delivering sermons, performing marriage ceremonies, leading a church staff, performing funeral ceremonies and other duties.

Tips & Warnings

  • Many religious institutions and hospitals that hire chaplains prefer that a chaplain have a master's degree. Not all institutions have these educational requirements. For those institutions that do not require you to earn a master's degree, you still have to have a college degree related to the work, such as a Bachelor's of Theology. You will also need to complete the Clinical Pastoral Education coursework and obtain your certification.
  • Some chaplains work as volunteer chaplains while completing their coursework and certification requirements.
  • The International Fellowship of Chaplains (IFOC) and the National Center for Chaplain Development (NCCD) are two sources of information on finding accredited and certified educational institutions for completing the prerequisites for becoming a female chaplain.
  • Becoming a woman chaplain does not have any distinguishing requirements from becoming a male chaplain. The requirements for both sexes are the same. When clients hire a chaplain to perform services, clients may have a preference in the sex of the person performing their marriage or burial ceremony, but the educational institutions and certification organizations do not differentiate between the two sexes.

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