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Comments (5)

Christy in Manhattan, Kansas

55 months ago

Hi everyone,

I am planning to start seminary in fall of 2011, with the hope of doing a year or two of CPE residency afterwards and then finding a position as a health care chaplain.

With the economy the way it is, my loving, responsible, worry-wart fiance is concerned that we will end up trying to pay back educational loans while I flip burgers at McDonalds.

My question to those of you working in the field...how likely is this scenario? I feel called and confident that God will provide, yet I understand and respect my fiance's concerns.

What are your experiences? Do you happen to know of any statistics within the last couple of years that we could take a look at?

Thank you,
Christy

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Marsha in Tucson, Arizona

55 months ago

Christy, it depends on where you go. I'd guess the average stipend is about $25K, which is very little pay given what's expected of a resident chaplain. You'll be expected to give 50-60 hours weekly to the position, including at least two 24-hour on call shifts monthly.

Professional chaplaincy, OTOH, pays anywhere from $17-$30 hourly. The main issue is, most places aren't looking for FT chaplains, but PRN (per request, as needed). Also, the best places will expect you to be board certified already before you start, though many expect only eligibility for board certification.

I'd choose a residency in a community that has a decent cost of living. I attended seminary in Chicago, but don't ever consider a residency there - they all pay around $23K, which is ludicrous considering how expensive Chicago is. Bronson Methodist in Kalamazoo pays $24K, has great supervisors and K-Zoo is a relatively low cost of living. Gundersen Lutheran up in LaCrosse has an excellent supervisor, and I think they pay around $26K in an affordable city.

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Christy in Manhattan, Kansas

55 months ago

Hi Marsha,

Thank you for your reply! So it sounds like it is challenging to find a full-time position. Hmmm...how does one survive working on a PRN basis? I suppose many chaplains must have a full-time position elsewhere?

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Marsha in New Orleans, Louisiana

54 months ago

With a second job, that's how! I'd guess that those who work PRN are either independently financially set, or have second jobs. I know chaplains in both groups; one is the wife of a minister (hence, he's the main breadwinner), while the other works FT as a secretary plus PT as a chaplain.

We're talking only about hospitals, though. If professional chaplaincy is your calling, you might have greater success seeking a position with a hospice provider.

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Christy in Manhattan, Kansas

54 months ago

Thanks Marsha!

Hospice has definitely been on my radar from the beginning. In fact, caring for a dying family member is what finally got me started down the road to chaplaincy in the first place. Thank you so much for the informatino. It's great to have another piece of the puzzle!

Christy

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