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What are the Different Chaplain Jobs?

By Jeri Sullivan
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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The different types of chaplain jobs include military chaplain, nursing home chaplain, hospice chaplain, hospital chaplain, college chaplain, and prison chaplain. A chaplain is a clergy member who works in an organization other than a church. Though most chaplains are from a Christian denomination, chaplain jobs may also include other faiths.

Chaplain jobs in the military require the chaplain to provide spiritual guidance to members of the military and their families. Whether the serviceman is an airman, sailor, soldier, or marine, the military chaplain supports whoever is stationed at his base. Typically a military chaplain is assigned to a specific base or group. During wars, chaplains travel with the troops to provide aide where they can but do not carry weapons or participate in battles. When a serviceman dies, the military chaplain may assist with sending notifications to the fallen serviceman's family.

Chaplain jobs in a nursing home involve interacting with the residents and their families. Nursing home patients typically cannot travel to traditional churches so the nursing home facilities may have a small chapel on site. One of the chaplain's duties may be to hold church services as well as sit with individual residents in their rooms and pray with them as needed.

Chaplain jobs associated with hospice services are usually reserved to more somber duties. Hospice organizations provide help to people and their families in the last stages of their life. When a person is terminally ill, hospice may be called in to provide physical, emotional, or spiritual care. The chaplain will administer last rites and pray with the patient and his family.

Chaplain jobs in a hospital offer the opportunity to work with many different people in the course of a day. Most larger hospitals will have a chapel within the facility so people dealing with a death or illness may find solace in the midst of the busy hospital environment. Chaplains will work with the patient and his family to help them come to terms with an illness, the death of a loved one, or even calm the person so he can make a decision regarding his health.

Chaplain jobs on a college campus involve working with students and faculty to provide spiritual guidance and education. Large universities will have a chaplain for each denomination or type of faith while smaller colleges may only have one or two chaplains for the entire campus. The chaplain may help organize church services and also work with the various student organizations on campus to coordinate mission activities.

Chaplain jobs in a prison include working with inmates who may have never been exposed to religion. Leading Bible studies, hearing confessions, and administering last rites are all normal duties for a prison chaplain. A prison chaplain may also work with inmates' families during visitations to help them handle the stress of having their loved one behind bars.

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