Navy Chaplain Candidate Program (2022)

Last Updated on September 15, 2022

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This guide provides helpful information about the Navy Chaplain Candidate Program. This program is for those who intend to become a Military Chaplain in the United States Navy.

Navy Chaplains are supposed to advocate and protect the free exercise of religion for everyone.

Therefore, you must be:

  • Willing to perform in the diverse military environment
  • Tolerant of various religious traditions
  • Respectful of the rights of people to decide their own personal beliefs

Navy Chaplains are likewise required to adopt these criteria without violating the teachings of their own faith traditions because of the unique nature of the military setting.

Additionally, it is essential to emphasize that Navy Chaplains are legally classified as noncombatants and may not carry weaponry.

Now, having laid out the expectations, let us now discuss the program.

What is the Navy Chaplain Candidate Program?

Are you pursuing or have you completed a graduate theology degree?

Consider enrolling as a student in the Navy Chaplain Candidate Program (CCP) if this is the case.

Chaplain candidate program officers (CCPO) (Navy designator 1945) are future Chaplain Corps (CHC) officers serving in the Navy CCP.

CCP commissions you as a Navy Officer while you complete your theology studies at a recognized seminary or graduate institution.

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It must be noted, however, that this program does not pay for tuition or any school costs. The benefit of this program is the full pay and benefits package assigned to all Naval Officers.

CCP introduces graduate students of religion to religious support activities inside the U.S. Navy. This program is used by the Chaplain Corps as an entry point for Navy Chaplains (Active Component (AC) and Reserve Component (RC)).

In addition, the curriculum provides on-the-job training directly under the direction of a Navy Chaplain.

This is your opportunity to see Navy Chaplains managing religious programs in action and to experience the difficulties and benefits of serving in the Navy’s different environments.

You may visit the Fleet, shadow Chaplains on ships, with the Marine Corps, or take part in hands-on ministry at Walter Reed Military Medical Center or Naval Base San Diego, among other locations.

After completing all the prerequisites, you will be interviewed by your recruiter and the Chaplain Candidate Program Manager.

A Selection Board within the Chief Chaplain’s Office will then assess whether you fit the standards to join the Navy Chaplain Corps.

Completion of the Navy CCPO qualifies you for substantial salary increases upon entry into active duty.

Commander, Navy Recruiting Command (CNRC), Chaplain Corps Officer Community Manager (BUPERS-316D), CNRC CCP program manager (PM), Force Chaplain, Commander Navy Reserve Force, and CHC Force Structure Division (OPNAV N0971) collaborate to optimize projected Chaplain gains through this program.

For additional information regarding Chaplain education, training, and promotion, please contact your local Navy Officer Recruiter.

Navy Chaplain Candidate Program Requirements

To be eligible for the Navy Chaplain Candidate Program, applicants must be American citizens, between 21 to 38 years of age, and are currently enrolled in a graduate-level religious studies program.

The eligibility requirements listed below are current as of June 2019, per the Navy Personnel Command. No updates have been issued so far.

Basic Eligibility Requirements

CitizenshipApplicants must be United States citizens.
GenderOpen to both men and women.
AgeAt the time of CCPO commissioning, applicants must be at least 21 years old and under 38 years old. CCPOs must be eligible for and accept a superseding appointment as a Navy Chaplain (designator 4100) before the age of 58.
EducationUndergraduate: Baccalaureate degree from an accredited university with a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.  

Graduate: Currently enrolled in a religious studies graduate degree program. Such programs and institutions must conform with the DoD Instruction 1304.28 standards for certifying Religious Ministry Professional generating educational institutions.
PhysicalIn accordance with Chapter 15 of the Manual of the Medical Department.
Marital StatusNo restrictions.
Navy Personnel Command (June 2019)

Additional Requirements

  • The application must be accompanied by a curriculum plan, including the course prerequisites and the expected completion date. In addition, the CNRC CCP PM must receive official transcripts (COMNAVRCRUITCOMINST 1131.2G). Non-disclosure of entire academic transcripts or any sign of tampering will cause expulsion.
  • The CNRC CCP PM shall supervise the CCPOs’ educational advancement. Participants must maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 on a scale of 4.0; failure to do so may cause probation or expulsion from the program.
  • Ecclesiastical Approval: Applicants must possess an approved DD FORM 2088 from a recognized Religious Organization (RO), as stated in DoD Instruction 1304.28, attesting that the applicant is a Chaplain Candidate. If permission is lost or revoked, the CCPO must get fresh approval within 30 days from a RO. Within 30 days, the RO must submit this updated permission to the CHC Force Structure Division (OPNAV N0971) through the CNRC CCP PM. Failure to keep ecclesiastical permission will cause dis-enrollment.

Application Waivers

If the candidate does not fulfill all requirements but has an excellent record or demonstrated expertise that the Navy requires, a few waivers may be granted.

Age exemptions are only available to individuals with previous military experience. The waiver authority is CNRC.

Waivers cannot be delegated below the flag level, and the CNRC will keep documented reasons for every waiver issued.

What to Expect Upon Commissioning?

  • Selected personnel must complete all required accession training within one year of commissioning.
  • Chaplain applicants must finish the Chaplain Candidate Orientation Course at the Naval Chaplaincy School and Center within 24 months or before to their first ADT/on-the-job training (OJT).
  • Upon completion of CCPO Indoctrination, CCPOs will enroll in Navy e-Learning courses and take advantage of ADT/OJT possibilities. For direct appointment as a Navy Chaplain, a minimum of one OJT, issued by CCP PM, is necessary (AC or RC). During times of active duty spent in a military facility, uniforms must be worn.
  • Candidates will be commissioned as Ensigns, designator 1945, in the Staff Corps of the United States Navy.

Service Obligation

Accept, upon satisfying the conditions of PA 110 and OPNAVINST 1120.9A, a direct assignment to active duty or Selected Reserve, if offered.

CCPOs who are neither offered nor accept a direct appointment will be terminated from the program.

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More Information

If you are interested in the Navy Chaplain Candidate program, the next logical step is to contact your local Navy Officer recruiter.

They will help you with all the requirements so you can submit a competitive application package.

You might also be interested in reading this guide: The Navy Chaplain Program Guide

Hope this is helpful to your career and educational planning.

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