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How Much Money Do Chaplains Make?

Job satisfaction might be more important to you than the amount of money you're paid for your work. But knowing your future earning possibilities might help you decide if you really want to become a chaplain.

"The Work of the Chaplain," written by Naomi K. Paget and Janet R. McCormack, provides a good overview of chaplaincy.

On-call or on salary?

A chaplain promotes the spiritual well-being of individuals and families in crisis. Most often, each chaplain will represent a particular faith system, and a chaplaincy department will want to have chaplains who can minister to people of various faiths: Christians, Jews, Muslims, and others, including people who profess no faith system. You could end up working as an on-call chaplain, paid hourly; or you could be employed full-time, on a salary, with benefits.


Your rate of pay can vary greatly, depending on the institution you’re hired by.

Hospices, prisons, the military and hospitals are institutions that employ the services of a chaplain to meet the needs of their patients or constituents. Some airports also have chaplains and to a lesser extent, some corporations as well.

Examples of how different employers pay

PayScale breaks down the range of pay in the United States according to the type of employer, as follows:

-- Hospital: £24,832 - £33,075

-- Private company: £25,697 - £32,565

-- Non-profit organisation: £22,226 - £32,198

-- Government, state and local: £24,997 - £39,081

-- Government, federal: £40,446 - £68,575

-- College or university: £19,661 - £35,087

-- Self-employed: £14,300 - £52,325

Regional pay differences

PayScale gives a national average salary range for chaplains as approximately

$37,000-$51,000 in the United States. PayScale Canada cites an average pay range of £26,000- £39,650 in its National Salary Data.

A chaplain’s pay is also determined by location. For example, the salary of an experienced chaplain in Texas, in a supervisory position with the Department of Veteran Affairs, starts at £44,200 annually. In Baltimore, a similar position offers approximately £56,550.

You can obtain detailed information on how much chaplains earn by city, by the hour, annually, and even according to company size.

Other Examples of Pay Range for Chaplains

The range of pay for a chaplain in the U.S. Air Force is approximately £37,050-75,000. Experience and length of service, naturally, play a big part. A chaplain’s entry-level pay scale with the Canadian Armed Forces starts at £966 a month, rising to £1,027. The basic starting salary for an officer candidate chaplain is £1,746.