About the Job
A chaplain is an Australian Regular Army (ARA) or Army Reserve (ARes) commissioned Specialist Service Officer responsible for the provision of spiritual, religious and pastoral support to all ADF personnel and their families in a range of peacetime and operational environments.
A chaplain is an Army Officer who remains a member of the faith group they represent and can only operate in the Army with the endorsement of their faith group authorities and the Religious Advisory Committee to the Services.
- Spiritual ministry or support
- Religious ministry or support
- Pastoral Care
- Provision of Advice
- Character Formation and Development
- discover their own purpose and identity IOT shape their lives, decisions and behaviours
- achieve spiritual health creating a balance between physical, psychological and social aspects of human life
- see old things in a new way
- develop resilience
- matters relating to spiritual, religious and pastoral wellbeing
- personal morality
- character formation
Make the most of your relevant degree joining fully qualified
Preparing for Your Recruitment Process
This document provides information that will assist applicants for roles in the Navy, Army and Air Force, including details about the recruitment process, how to prepare yourself for assessment, and what to expect if you are successful in joining the Australian Defence Force.
Salary & Allowances
In the Army you'll get paid a good salary from day one regardless of your age, experience or qualifications; and your pay increases as you progress through training.
In addition to your salary you'll receive a variety of allowances, extra pay for relevant qualifications – plus 16.4% superannuation, a far higher rate than you're likely to find in the civilian world.
Chaplains are appointed to all levels of the Army structure to ensure appropriate advice and support to commanders. Senior Chaplains are appointed to functional commands and higher headquarters. Coordinating Chaplains are appointed to coordinate the activities of Chaplains across a brigade or formation.
Applicants must be at least 17 years of age and able to complete the Initial Minimum Period of Service before reaching Compulsory Retirement Age (60).
Applicants will not be allowed to enter the ADF until they achieve a minimum of 17 years of age, however they may be able to initiate the application process from 16 years and six months of age.
Education & Experience
An applicant for appointment to the Royal Australian Army Chaplain Department (RAAChD) is required to:
- Be from an endorsed denomination or faith group represented within the current religious diversity of Australian Army personnel. These denominations are currently the Anglican Church, Catholic Church, Uniting Church, Presbyterian Church, Baptist Union of Australia, Lutheran Church of Australia, Churches of Christ, Salvation Army, Australian Christian Churches and Council of Australian Jewry
- Provide documented evidence of a minimum of three years denominationally endorsed theological or ministry Bachelor level degree
- Provide documented evidence of ordination or faith group equivalent
- Have at least two years post-ordination and post completion academic pastoral ministry experience
- Have documented endorsement and approval from the candidate's faith group, at the national level, that they are in good standing with their denomination and suitable representatives for Army chaplaincy
- Have approval of the Director General Chaplaincy - Army or his representative to initiate recruiting
- Be deemed suitable by the appropriate denominational Principal Chaplain and be endorsed by the appropriate member of the Religious Advisory Committee to the Services (RACS)
- Satisfy the entry criteria applicable for Australian Army officers
Be from an endorsed denomination or faith group represented within the current religious diversity of Australian Army personnel. These denominations are currently the Anglican Church, Catholic Church, Uniting Church, Presbyterian Church, Baptist Union of Australia, Lutheran Church of Australia, Churches of Christ, Salvation Army, Australian Christian Churches, Islamic Council of Australia and Council of Australian Jewry.
Medical & Fitness
To be enlisted or appointed, you must be medically and physically fit for entry to your chosen occupation. This is partially assessed from the completion of an extensive questionnaire covering your medical history, followed by a physical examination.
You will also be required to successfully pass a physical fitness test before appointment.
Period of Service
You will be appointed for an Initial Minimum Period of Service (IMPS) of three years. Subsequent periods of service may be offered subject to the requirements of the ADF and your suitability for further service. You may tender your resignation at any time provided you do not have an outstanding Initial Minimum Period of Service obligation.
Your Careers Coach can advise on how IMPS will relate to your chosen occupation.
The Job Opportunities Assessment (JOA) is completed as part of the application process to join the Australian Defence Force (ADF). Some jobs may also require you to complete a further evaluation at a later date.
The JOA is used by Defence to establish suitability for ADF entry, and then identify jobs that best match your abilities.
Further information about the JOA can be found in the Guide to the Job Opportunities Assessment for the ADF.
To get a feel for the types of questions that are used in the Job Opportunities Assessment and how they will look on your screen some examples can be found in the Job Opportunities Assessment Example Questions.
To serve in the ADF you must be an Australian Citizen.
If you are a permanent resident of Australia, the ADF may consider a temporary deferral of the citizenship requirement if the position for which you are applying cannot be filled by an applicant who meets all the citizenship requirements, and then only in exceptional circumstances. You will be required to obtain Australian Citizenship as early as possible following enlistment or appointment.
Find out more in our Citizenship page or ask your local Defence Force Recruiting Centre.
The Department of Defence requires ADF employees to have security clearances appropriate to their employment.
A process of background checks, collection of relevant information and, as required, interviews, enables the Australian Government Security Vetting Agency to make an informed assessment of an applicant's suitability for a security clearance.
The minimum security clearance level required is Negative Vetting Level 1, and current policy requires applicants to have a checkable background for the previous 10 years. Required information includes:
Australian Citizenship is a requirement for a security clearance and a clearance will only be granted to a non-citizen in exceptional circumstances.
NOTE: The security clearance is critical to an applicants successful progression through the Army training system. If an applicant is unable to obtain the required security clearance in time, they will not be allowed to continue their training and may need to be re-allocated to another employment category. As such, it is strongly recommended that all applicants obtain the required documentation as soon as possible to provide the best opportunity to be employed in their preferred employment category.
The Specialist Service Officer Course is conducted at the Royal Military College - Duntroon and provides Regular and Reserve Force Specialist Service Officers with fundamental knowledge of leadership, command and control, unit and personnel administration, basic military skills and the ideals of officer behaviour and attitudes necessary for future employment.
The ARA course is 42 days of training and currently conducted in the first half of the training year.
During RMC-D (Military Training) members may be required to pay a contribution towards meals, accommodation and utilities.
All trainees attending training at Royal Military College-Duntroon are required to participate in an Initial Fitness Assessment (IFA) on arrival.
For further details on physical fitness standards refer to Physical Fitness Standards for Entry into the ADF.
All newly commissioned Chaplains are required to complete ADF Chaplaincy Training. Your training is tri-Service alongside Navy and Air Force Chaplains. Attendance on this tri-Service training is important, as part of your role and responsibilities could require you, at times, to support the personnel and their families, of all three Services and across all denominations. You will also form valuable friendships and networks. Both full and part-time Chaplains are required to complete ADF Chaplaincy training.
All employment training is conducted at the Defence Force Chaplains College (DFCC), the home of ADF chaplaincy training conducted at the Australian Defence Force Academy in Canberra. Here they deliver three levels of training, initial, intermediate and senior.
The initial level of employment training is required to be completed within the stipulated time frames.
- Full-time Chaplains are to attend within the first 12 months of being commissioned as a Chaplain.
- Part-time Chaplains are to attend within 24 months of being commissioned as a Chaplain.
- For newly commissioned full-time Chaplains this course should be completed immediately after the Mod 1 Course
- For newly commissioned part-time Chaplains this course may be completed immediately after the Mod 1 Course, however if it is not, it should be completed as soon after as possible and within the identified 24 months after appointment as a Chaplain
Intermediate and senior levels of training are provided to you at various stages of your ADF service, in order to prepare you for the varying roles and increasing responsibilities associated with increased roles and functions. They are:
- ADF Chaplain Intermediate Course (12 days). The aim of the ADF Chaplain Intermediate Course is to prepare you for employment as a Coordinating Chaplain
- ADF Chaplain Senior Course (5 days). The aim of the Chaplain Senior Course is to educate Division 3 Chaplains in common service areas in preparation for advancement to, and employment as, a Senior Chaplain at the Division 4 level