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Provide spiritual guidance in non-religious settings.

What does a Chaplain do?

A chaplain is a religious figure but not one that represents any particular faith. In this position you lead religious services for people who, for one reason or another, are unable to make it to their church of choice.

In this job you can work in some pretty unusual environments. Chaplains work in hospitals, prisons, hospices, schools, and military units. You might even find yourself in a remote rural community where the closest church is too far away for the people to visit.

Your day-to-day activities cover a lot of the same ones that a priest, rabbi, or other religious figure does. You give advice and provide support for those who need it, hold sermons, administer last rites, oversee weddings, and lead retreats to strengthen people’s faith. The only difference is you deal with religion in a much more general way.

In the past chaplains were primarily Christian. But today this position represents a wide range of faiths, from Judaism to Buddhism to Catholicism.

Where you work will dictate what your exact day-to-day duties look like. In schools, you work with young kids or college students, usually taking the role of counselor, friend, or even teacher in addition to your religious function. When working for a fire or police department, you administer last rites when someone gets killed on the job, and give grief counseling to those left behind. And in prisons, you serve as a confessor and provide support and guidance to prisoners who are looking for some direction in their lives.

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