top of page



Qualifications for BCC:

1.            Possession of a Master of Divinity (M.Div.) from an institution recognized by the Department of Education. 


2.           Completion of four units of Clinical Pastoral Education from a training organization accredited by the United States Department of Education.


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.

C.           Of those three years, 2 years must be in the role of a professional chaplain.

D.          Full-time GS-9 VA Staff Chaplains who have completed their 1-year probationary period may apply for BCC.

E.           Chaplains who have completed a full-year VA-sponsored Chaplain Fellowship may apply for BCC.  (This is not a 2nd year of a CPE residency.)


5.           Yes______ /No______:  I have completed at least 5 hours of reading in any of the following:   Published research findings, professional chaplain journals, and other Chaplain care articles.


6.           Completion of the entire 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 Chaplain Member before your BCC application will be processed. If you are not a member of NAVAC you will need to fill out the Professional Chaplain 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 the Chairman of the Certification Committee. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that your application is complete. Please do not send 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 Educators may be invited to assist in panels.

ii.           Only the NAVAC BCC members of such panels are voting members of the panel.

E.           If the interview process is positive, the convener will notify the Chair of Certification. The Chair then notifies the Board of Directors who vote on the recommendation. Only the Board of Directors can approve a recommendation for Board Certified Chaplain.

F.           If the interview is negative, the Interview Panel notifies the Chair 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.

G.          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 Educators. If you are a full ACPE Educator 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 your Ecclesiastical Endorsement, and the $100 application fee. As always you must also be a Professional Clinical Member of NAVAC.





CheckList for NAVAC BCC

This is the first page of your BCC Application.

Please do not submit any original documents.  Send Only Singled-Sided, 8 ½ 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:




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)








9. PROVIDE CURRENT VERBATIMS (experiences 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 Certified

Chaplains or chaplains certified from organizations with whom NAVAC has reciprocal certification.

D.          Provide CPE evaluations.

E.           Provide documentation of 4 units of CPE.

F.           Provide two current verbatims (from an experience within the last three months).


(Four Essays each to be 4 to 6 pages)

This requirement will be presented to the BCC review board the philosophy and practice of

your ministry as a chaplain. It is important that you show your understanding and

integration of each of these competency sections in the way that you conduct spiritual

care to patients. Your BCC review board will be looking for a sense of balance between

your theory of ministry and the way you work with patients at your facility.


All competencies must be demonstrated individually in four essays each covering a

competency section (ITP, PIC, PPS, OL). All competencies except PIC8 and PIC9 must

be addressed in one of the four competency essays. Page length for all sections must be

no less than four (4) and no more than six (6) pages in length. Each essay must be

double-spaced, in twelve-point (12-point) font, and one-inch (1-inch) margins. Essays are

to be written at a graduate level. It is recommended that the applicant is explicit about

which competency they are addressing throughout the four essays.


Writing Assignment instructions:   

Section I: Integration of Theory and Practice Competencies  (ITP)

ITP1  Articulate an approach to spiritual care, rooted in one’s faith/spiritual tradition that is integrated with a theory of professional practice.

ITP2  Incorporate a working knowledge of psychological and sociological disciplines and religious beliefs and practices in the provision of spiritual care.

ITP3  Incorporate the spiritual and emotional dimensions of human development into one’s practice of care.

ITP4  Incorporate a working knowledge of different ethical theories appropriate to one’s professional context.

ITP5  Articulate a conceptual understanding of group dynamics and organizational behavior.

ITP6  Articulate how primary research and research literature inform the profession of chaplaincy and one’s spiritual care practice.


Section II: Professional Identity and Conduct Competencies (PIC)

PIC1  Be self-reflective, including identifying one’s professional strengths and limitations in the provision of care.

PIC2 Articulate ways in which one’s feelings, attitudes, values, and assumptions affect professional practice.

PIC3 Attend to one’s own physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.

PIC4 Functions in a manner that respects the physical, emotional, cultural, and spiritual boundaries of others.

PIC5  Use one’s professional authority as a spiritual care provider appropriately.

PIC6 Advocate for the persons in one’s care.

PIC7  Function within the Common Code of Ethics for Chaplains, Pastoral Counselors, Clinical Pastoral Educators, and Students.

To be met during your BCC review:

PIC8 Communicate effectively orally and in writing.

PIC9 Present oneself in a manner that reflects professional behavior, including appropriate attire, and


Section III: Professional Practice Skills Competencies (PPS)

PPS1  Establish, deepen and conclude professional spiritual care relationships with sensitivity, openness,

and respect.

PPS2  Provide effective spiritual support that contributes to well-being of the care recipients, their families and


PPS3  Provide spiritual care that respects diversity and differences including, but not limited to culture.

gender, sexual orientation and spiritual/religious practices.

PPS4  Triage and manage crises in the practice of spiritual care.

PPS5  Provide spiritual care to persons experiencing loss and grief.

PPS6  Provide religious/spiritual resources appropriate to the care recipients, families, and staff.

PPS7  Develop, coordinate, and facilitate public worship/spiritual practices appropriate to diverse settings and


PPS8  Facilitate theological/spiritual reflection for those in one’s care practice.

PPS9  Facilitate group processes, such as family meetings, post trauma, staff debriefing, and support groups.

PPS10  Formulate and utilize spiritual assessments, interventions, outcomes, and care plans in order to

Contribute effectively to the well-being of the person receiving care.

PPS11  Document one’s spiritual care effectively in the appropriate records. Section


Section IV: Organizational Leadership Competencies (OL)

OL1  Promote the integration of spiritual care into the life and service of the institution in which one functions.

OL2  Establish and maintain professional and interdisciplinary relationships.

OL3  Understand and function within the institutional culture and systems, including utilizing business

principles and practices appropriate to one’s role in the organization.

OL4  Promote, facilitate, and support ethical decision-making in one’s workplace.

OL5  Foster a collaborative relationship with community clergy and faith group leaders.

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 Checklist and application with all attachments. 

To Submit your application, please scan your BCC application into a PDF file and email it to:

Chaplain David Lefavor

NAVAC Certification Committee Chairman



Send the $100 application fee to:



P.O. Box 1631

Newport News, VA  23601



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:

bottom of page