If you are interested in joining the Air Force Reserve, please fill out the application form linked below and one of our advisors will contact you. You may also call 800-257-1212


How long is the application process?

Nine to twelve months, depending on your sense of urgency, the work load of your recruiter, your health assessment, your ecclesiastical endorser's turnaround time, and so on.


How does the application process work?

You will first be specialty qualified by a chaplain recruiter. Then you will be assigned an Officer Accessions Recruiter for processing. Your chaplain
recruiter will help on chaplain-specific requirements. Your OA Recruiter will assist on officer-specific requirements.

Chaplains are addressed as "Chaplain", regardless of rank. Your OA recruiter should be addressed as "Master Sergeant" (MSgt). Examples:
"Chaplain Smith" and "Master Sergeant Jones"


What is an ecclesiastical endorser?

It is not your pastor or local congregation. An endorser is usually connected with a denomination's headquarters. There are some non-denominational endorsers. Too often pastors tell applicants "I'll endorse you." While a pastor may have good intentions, this is not the way it works. Finding an endorser is something you must do, we cannot help you do that. Once you have fulfilled your endorser's requirements, the endorser will provide us with the endorsement. Click here for a list of endorsers.



Someone told me I should enlist and work my way to becoming a chaplain candidate or chaplain. Should I enlist?

If you enlist you are obligated for a specific period of time in a particular career field. (This is the same situation as with the commissioned officers.) In order to become a chaplain candidate or a chaplain you have to get released from your commitment, which in most cases is not easy and will only delay and complicate your goal.


Someone told me if I enlist as a chaplain assistant this will help me transition into the chaplaincy. Is this true?

No, it is not. The Chaplain Assistant job is a different career field.


How does a current enlisted person or officer become a chaplain candidate or chaplain?

  • To become a chaplain candidate: If you are Active Duty, Reserve, or Guard: Discuss with us the process of being released from your commitment. As a chaplain candidate you will only have health insurance and SGLI during summer training. If you need these benefits, it is best for you to stay in your current position while in seminary. If you do not need the benefits and can be released from your commitment, contact us.
  • To become a chaplain: You must be released from your current commitment. For officers, you will be changing competitive categories and it is best for us to talk about that.

Does an officer of another career field retain his/her rank if he/she becomes a chaplain candidate or a chaplain?

In all cases, a chaplain candidate is a Second Lieutenant. For new chaplains who are prior officers, there is a grade calculation to determine your rank as a chaplain. Please ask about the potential impact of changing competitive categories.


Does the air force reserve offer student loan repayment for officers?

No, not at this time.


What about deployment?

All uniformed members are deployable assets of the U. S. Government, however, chaplain candidates do not have the qualifications to deploy. Since 9/11, Reserve chaplains have deployed by volunteering to go.


I currently hold military status, will that help me get into the Air Force Reserve?

No, because you will have to be released from your commitment. If you are in the Air Force or Air Force Reserve you still have to be released from your current commitment and this may take a while. Your recruiter will know how to direct you. If you are an Air National Guard chaplain wanting to become an Air Force Reserve chaplain, this is a fairly simple action.


What is the obligation?

For candidates, we want you to complete the program. For information call 1-800-525-0102, ext 3, tell them you are chaplain candidate applicant with a question for the education office.

For chaplains who did not receive Tuition Assistance, we ask you to stay for a minimum of three years.


What is the time commitment?

For candidates: 9 weeks at Officer Training School in your first summer; then 5 weeks of training each summer thereafter while in the program.

For chaplains: Your first training is 9 weeks at the Officer Training School. Within the first two years of your role as chaplain you have to complete the 4 week Basic Chaplains' Course. Chaplains are also required to complete the minimum number of training days required to serve.



Candidates are paid for each day of serving in the summer. Chaplains are paid for each day worked. Yes, you are paid while in military training status. Google military pay charts to learn about pay. For candidates - look for the monthly pay for the rank of O-1, prorate that amount per day. For chaplains - look for O-2.


Other Benefits?

Tri-Care Reserve Select is available for chaplains. Chaplain Candidates have health insurance only during summer training.

Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) is added to a candidate's pay when in training status. For chaplains, it is added when you are in training status and when you do your two weeks of active duty. BAH is not available when you work individual days. Google to find rate, based on your zip code and prorate it accordingly.

Retirement pay is available for those who serve 20 years. Your recruiter probably will not know the details of the retirement benefit. Google to learn about the retirement benefit or to find a phone number of a technician to help you. FOR PRIOR SERVICE - yes your prior service does go into the calculation with your new reserve chaplain duty, however, recruiters are not experts on this. You will need to contact a retirement specialist.


Are there age waivers for the chaplain candidate program?

No. One must take their oath before their 40th birthday. However, ask a recruiter for more information on how prior military service increases that number.


Can I start my application before I start seminary?

No. In order to be qualified you must be a full time seminary student. You need to call your denomination's military chaplain endorsing office and find out their requirements. If you are non-denominational, you will have to find an endorser.


Are there age waivers to the age 40 cut off to be a chaplain?

  • For people with no prior military service - no.
  • People with prior service (with good years) have until one's 42nd birthday to take oath. An age waiver will be considered until the cut-off of the 45th birthday.
  • Chaplains of other military branches need to contact us.
  • Catholic priests need to contact us.

Is there an incentive bonus for chaplains?

Please contact Reserve Management Group for the most current guidance (478) 327-2331 or DSN 497-2331.


Can I apply with other branches of the military at the same time?

No, because significant time commitment is required from numerous individuals and agencies to process your application.


How do chaplains work with multiple faith groups?

Answer by Chaplain Paul Gunn: After reading, if you have more questions, please contact your endorser.

You are expected to remain true to your faith tradition and the expectations of your ecclesiastical endorser. The chapel space is a place for the free exercise of religion and free speech. Chaplains are expected to lead services and deliver messages in the same way they would with the civilian congregations of their faith tradition. In the day-to-day chaplain ministry, if someone needs something a chaplain cannot provide, an appropriate chaplain is sought. This is what we call religious accommodation. For example, in my faith tradition we do not baptize infants. If a family wanted their child baptized I would find a chaplain who would assist. Having said that, there are many things chaplains can do for people of any faith group without the chaplain compromising his or her convictions. Here are some personal examples:

  • An airman of a faith tradition different than mine came to my office for counsel about a struggle in a relationship. He expressed he was satisfied with his faith. The nature of the discussion was not about faith.
  • In another example, an airman who claimed to be an atheist sought my counsel on a job related matter. I listened to his concerns, shared my thoughts and sent him on his way. A year later he returned to my office to share with me he was no longer an atheist and had chosen the Christian faith. He thanked me for my counsel from the year before.
  • I was asked to advise the base commander that Muslims may want to be excused from functions with food during the fasting days of Ramadan. He was grateful for my advice and sent a memo to supervisors.

In each of these cases, I was able to accommodate and did not compromise my beliefs.