Become a Hospice Chaplain

Hospice chaplains work in hospitals, nursing homes, health care facilities and patients’ homes.

Essential Information

Hospice chaplains are members of an interdisciplinary team of medical professionals and other allied health staff who provide care and comfort to patients nearing end of life because of terminal illnesses. Hospice is generally intended to encompass care for the ‘whole person’, and chaplains are trained to support medical care from a spiritual and emotional perspective.

Required Education Undergraduate degree in applicable subject;
Master’s degree in theology, divinity, or pastoral studies;
Internship or Clinical Pastoral Education (separately or concurrently with master’s degree)
Certification Certification in Hospice chaplaincy is often needed
Other Requirements Employers often require candidates be ordained/commissioned ministers and endorsed by a recognized faith group
Projected Job Growth (2019-2024) 6%*
Median Salary (2019) $55,250 annually*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Description for a Hospice Chaplain

Hospice chaplains provide spiritual support to terminally ill patients and their families. These professionals make spiritual assessments of patients, taking into account mental, emotional, physical and spiritual stresses, and respond with appropriate counseling and care.

Hospice Chaplains are members of the interdisciplinary team, which is a group of specialists and professionals that provides guidance and support. Accordingly, they assist the medical staff in developing an individualized plan of care for each patient. Individualized plans may include daily spiritual consultations and performance of religious rituals.

Hospice Chaplain’s Duties

A hospice chaplain’s primary responsibility is to provide emotional and spiritual counseling to patients and their families. Other duties may include submitting written reports on patient interactions and acting as liaisons between members of the clergy and hospice patients. Hospice Chaplains don’t replace clergy members but rather are there to offer further support and communicate the needs of the patient. Additionally, chaplains provide bereavement services, including phone calls, visits and memorial services, to family members upon the death of a patient.

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (the BLS) predicts 6% employment growth for clergy members from 2019-2024. In 2019, the median annual salary for Hospice chaplains, according to the BLS, is $55,250.

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