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The National Association of Veterans’ Affairs Chaplains



A person making application for Board Certified Chaplain must meet the requirements of a Certified Clinical Chaplain as prerequisite. In addition a total of 4 units of ACPE accredited CPE are required. Evaluation before a peer review board is also required.


Qualifications for BCC:

  • 1. Possession of a Master of Divinity (M.Div) (or the equivalent) from an institution recognized by the Department of Education.  Equivalent education is possible and must include the following:
    • A. Possession of an earned Baccalaureate with 120 semester hours
    • B. Completion of at least 70 graduate hours from an institution recognized by the Department of Education.  Those 70 hours must contain the following:
      • i. 20 Hours in the study of sacred writings which can include languages of the sacred writings
      • ii. 20 Hours in Pastoral Ministry
      • iii. 20 Hours in any combination of ethics, philosophy of religion or theology
      • iv. 10 hours in religious history or world religions
  • 2. Completion of four units of Association for Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE)-accredited Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE).
    • A. Equivalency may be granted for one unit.
    • B. Equivalency requires the following:
      • i. Completion of at least 400 hours of supervised clinical work.
      • ii. Training must include a didactic component.
      • iii. Training must include a peer supervision component.
      • iv. Training must include one-on-one supervision with a senior chaplain or clinical supervisor.
      • v. Training must include an interpersonal relationships type group.
  • 3. Current Ecclesiastical Endorsement from an endorsing body recognized by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
  • 4. Three years of full-time professional ministry experience.
    • A. Professional ministry experience is paid work in any ministry context, i.e., Spiritual Director / Counselor, Chaplain, Pastor, etc…
    • B. Part time work is calculated to a three year equivalency, i.e., if you work half time for six years that is a three year equivalent.
    • Of those three years, 2,000 hours must be in the role of a professional chaplain.
  • 5. Yes______/No______:  I have completed at least 5 hours in reading in any of the following: Published research findings, professional chaplain journals, and other Chaplain care articles.
  • 6. Completion of the whole application package.
  • 7. Completion of an interview by a peer review panel to ascertain competency in Pastoral, Personal and Professional areas
    • A.  You must first become a Professional Clinical Member before your BCC application will be processed. If you are not a member of NAVAC you will need to fill out the Professional Clinical Member application and remit with appropriate fees.
    • B.  The application for Board Certification is sent to the Chairman of the Board of Directors along with a $100.00 one-time, non-refundable application fee.
    • C.  Once your application is complete send it to Chairman of the Certification Committee. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that your application is complete. Please do not send in bits and pieces of the application. Send the entire application as one package.
    • D.  A convener is selected, who then selects three Board Certified Chaplains and up to three persons from other disciplines to serve in the interview process, known as the “peer review”.
        • i. Dues paying chaplains from APC, NCVACC, NACC, VA Black Chaplains, VA Jewish Chaplains, and CPE Supervisors may be invited to assist in panels.
        • ii.  Only the NAVAC BCC members of such panels are voting members of the panel.
    • E.  A presenter is selected to read all the materials and create a Presenter’s Report which will be sent to the candidate and all panel members at least three days prior to the peer review.
    • F.  If the interview process is positive, the convener will notify the Chairman of Certification. The Chairman then notifies the Board of Directors whom vote on the recommendation. Only the Board of Directors can approve a recommendation for Board Certified Chaplain.
    • G.  If the interview is negative, the Interview Panel notifies the Chairman of the Certification Committee that certification is not recommended or that they recommend deferral. If a deferral is recommended they may require the candidate to complete additional work before making a positive recommendation. If their recommendation is to not confer BCC  status, the candidate will be given time to appeal that decision.
    • H.  You MAY send in your Professional Clinical Member Application at the same time as your BCC application.


We do offer reciprocity and equivalent certifications. Fill out only the contact information, educational information and endorsement information. Send that along with the $100 fee and documentation showing that you are currently BCC with that organization. As always you must also be a Professional Clinical Member of NAVAC.

We also offer equivalency for ACPE Supervisors. If you are a full ACPE Supervisor fill out the contact information, educational information and endorsement information. Send that along with proof that you are currently an ACPE Supervisor, a copy of Ecclesiastical Endorsement, and the $100 application fee. As always you must also be a Professional Clinical Member of NAVAC.




Please do not submit any original documents.  Send Only Singled-Sided, 8 x 11 size paper.

Please do not staple or place in a binder. 




Faith Group:

Home Mailing Address:

Work phone:

Home Phone:

Cell Phone:


E-mail address:

NAVAC Member:  Yes,  No   If you are not a member of NAVAC you will need to fill out the Professional Clinical Member application and include $30.00 application fee.

Employer: Position:



College Name:

Degree: Date:

Seminary Name:

Degree: Date:

Special Certifications:

Complete section below if requesting acknowledgement of equivalency for M.Div:

Institution Name:

Degree Earned: Date:

If requesting equivalency please include transcripts of both graduate and undergraduate programs of study.



Endorsing Agency:

Name of Endorser:

Date of Endorsement:

Include a copy of your endorsement

4. PROVIDE AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF YOUR FAITH JOURNEY. (Not to exceed two typewritten pages. Please use a common business / professional 12 point font such as Courier, Arial or Times New Roman)

5. INCLUDE A CURRENT RESUME. (not to exceed five typewritten pages)


Use a separate sheet of paper. Please describe your experience, education, training, awards and other specific accomplishments that demonstrate your competencies. Be as specific as possible. Complete the following:

  1. Ability to communicate orally and in writing.
    • Describe your accomplishments in oral and written communication. Describe your use of these abilities in your professional experience in religious instruction, pastoral care, and participation in multidisciplinary teams/committees. List and describe any publications.
  2. Ability to provide pastoral care and counseling in a healthcare setting.
    • Describe in detail your experience in providing ministry in health-care settings. Describe the workplace, the type(s) of patients or clients served, and your participation as a member of multidisciplinary treatment team(s). Be sure to include any experience with Veterans. List any relevant training or education. Describe your qualifications in any clinical specialties and attach supporting documentation.
  3. Ability to provide ministry in a pluralistic setting.
    • Describe your experience in relating with clergy, patients, and others from various faith and value traditions. Describe any accomplishments in developing interfaith relationships.
    • Describe your experience in ministering to persons from a variety of faith groups.
  4. Knowledge of worship principles and practices.
    • Describe your ministry experience and current professional practice that demonstrates your knowledge of various worship (liturgical) principles and practices.
  5. Ability to establish relationships and deal effectively with others.
    • Describe your experiences in leading or supervising others. Describe your involvement in community and civic activities. Be sure to describe your relationships with professional associations, interdisciplinary teams, veteran’s organizations, fraternal organizations, etc.



9. PROVIDE A CURRENT VERBATIM (an experience within the last three months)



A.  Provide a current letter of ecclesiastical endorsement.

B.  Provide a letter from the Supervisor of Chaplains at the VA where you are employed.

C.  Provide two letters of recommendation from currently active NAVAC Board CertifiedChaplains or chaplains certified from organizations with whom NAVAC has reciprocal certification.

D.  Provide CPE evaluations or equivalency.

E.  Provide documentation of 4 units of CPE or equivalency.

F.  Provide a current verbatim (from an experience within the last three months).


Clinical Pastoral Education Equivalency

Only ACPE CPE is accepted as fulfilling the requirements for CPE training. Therefore, of the four units of CPE required for Board Certification, three of those units must be ACPE CPE.

Only one unit of the 4 unit CPE requirement may be requested as an equivalency. For an equivalency experience to be accepted for one unit of CPE the equivalent training must contain the following components:

A.  A minimum of 400 hours of supervised clinical work with real living human documents.

B.  A didactic component that caused the candidate to reflect upon the integration of one’s personal story and their understanding of the behavioral sciences and theology.

C.  A group supervision of their work.

D.  A regular opportunity for peer group / interpersonal relationships, development, and critique.

Time Frame for Certification:

As NAVAC Certification Committee members are generally full-time VA Professional Chaplains, please expect that the certification process may take as long as 30 days for CCC applications and 90 days for BCC applicants once the completed application packets are received.

Send the completed application with all attachments and $100 application fee to:

NAVAC Certification Committee Chairman
Chaplain David E. Lefavor, D.Min., BCC
Dayton VA Medical Center
Chaplain Service  (Code 125)
4100 West Third Street
Dayton, OH 45428



Please do not submit any original documents.  Send only Single-Sided, 8 x 11 size paper.

Please do not staple or place in a binder. 

Include $100 BCC Application fee, plus $30 PCM membership if not a current NAVAC member


Please note that:

NAVAC is a private organization that serves the certification needs of VA Chaplains and those interested in VA Chaplaincy. As such, we are not an extension of the VA though we follow many of the guidelines used by the VA. It is our goal to provide you with a collegial process to meet your certification needs. Any disagreements with NAVAC decisions should be handled directly with NAVAC.

If you have other questions, or need clarification please contact Chaplain Lefavor at: David.Lefavor@VA.Gov


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