Job Description for Chaplain
A chaplain is typically employed by larger hospitals and healthcare facilities, although they work in other settings (such as the military) as well. The chaplain provides religious counseling and comfort to patients and their families. They work with caregivers and therapists/counselors at these facilities to assist the spiritual needs of anyone requiring assistance.Read More...
To work as a chaplain, a person must typically have received a degree in theology within their faith or denomination; chaplains typically are ordained within their faith. With many large hospitals associated with various religious denominations, preference for chaplains frequently is given to those individuals ordained within that group’s belief system. For example, hospitals associated with the Catholic church look to hire Catholic priests, and Jewish hospitals might hire more rabbis. With that said, chaplains need to be familiar with a wide variety of belief systems and be able to offer guidance and comfort as required across this spectrum.
Additionally, many chaplains find utility in receiving formal education in counseling and psychology; many larger hospitals and clinical facilities may prefer their chaplains to have this education to assist in looking after the mental well-being of patients and families. In addition to these educational requirements, chaplains typically need one or more certifications with religious organizations that license individuals to work in this field. The chaplain also must be outgoing, understanding, and possess excellent bedside manner.
- Coordinate spiritual and bereavement services for patients.
- Provide spiritual and emotional help to patients from all cultures and beliefs.
- Assist patients and their families with preparing and dealing with the terminally ill.
Chaplain Job Listings
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Popular Employer Salaries for Chaplain
U.S. Army attracts talent by shelling out the biggest paychecks in the area — the median in that office is $78K.
Earnings fall especially short at VITAS Healthcare Corporation, where the median salary of $45K is the lowest in the field, 72 percent less than the top paying company.
Popular Skills for Chaplain
Survey results suggest that Chaplains use a fairly large toolkit of professional skills. Most notably, skills in pastoral care, Palliative Care, Counseling, and Hospice Care are correlated to pay that is above average. Those listing Worship Planning and Leading as a skill should be prepared for drastically lower pay. Most people experienced in Bereavement Counseling also know Public Speaking and Hospice Care.
Pay by Experience Level for Chaplain
Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.
Chaplains with more experience do not necessarily bring home bigger paychecks. In fact, experience in this field tends to impact compensation minimally. Salaries for inexperienced workers average out to $47K, and those with five to 10 years' experience earn a higher median of $45K. For Chaplains, 10 to 20 years of experience on the job amounts to an average salary of $49K. Veterans who have worked for more than two decades do tend to make the most in the end; the median pay for this group is $52K.
Pay Difference by Location
For Chaplains, Los Angeles provides a pay rate that is 34 percent greater than the national average. Chaplains can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like New York (+18 percent), Atlanta (+17 percent), Philadelphia (+15 percent), and Houston (+12 percent). With compensation 13 percent below the national average, Miami is not known for hefty paychecks and actually represents the lowest-paying market. Workers in Nashville and Phoenix earn salaries that trail the national average for those in this profession (11 percent less and 5 percent less, respectively).