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NAVAC Mental Health Specialty Certification (MH)

Application and requirements



Work Location:





VA Email:

Private Email:


Work Phone:



You must be current with NAVAC dues. (include e-mail from Certification Chair)

1. Be a NAVAC Board Certified Chaplain.  (Include a copy of BCC)

2. Provide a supporting letter from your Chaplain Service Chief or Mental Health Supervisor to verify all the following:

a. Completion of three consecutive years of devoting at least 50% of one’s time in mental health

b. Completion of at least 50 mental health-related spiritual assessments.

c. Active participation in a mental health treatment team for three consecutive years as a staff chaplain.

d. Conducting not less than one class or group a month on mental health and spirituality.

3. Education: Completion of one of these options: (Include documentation)

a. Graduate of the Chaplain Advanced Education (CAVE) Course, Mental Health track.

b. Graduate of the Mental Health Integration for Chaplain Services (MHICS) program.

c. Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) credentialing.

d. Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) credentialing.

4.  Practicum:  After completing the educational requirements, active involvement on a VA clinical mental                 health treatment team.

5.  Supporting documentation:       

a. Recommendation letter from a “sponsor” (can be a mental health provider or chaplain; should verify that clinical experience requirements have been met, with attached competency checklist below)

b. Two recommendation letters from interdisciplinary mental health care team members (only one can be a chaplain colleague who served on-site with the applicant; one or both must be by other disciplines).

c. Checklist with 20 colleague-observed competencies, completed and signed by the sponsor based on daily interactions with applicant.

d. Submission of a 7-page or less double-spaced essay which includes:

  1. Professional progression from board certified chaplain (BCC) to mental health care chaplain specialty applicant. “Professional progression” means demonstrating an understanding and use of evidence-based approaches to care (e.g. Acceptance Commitment Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, Problem Solving Therapy), bi-directional referrals, spiritual assessment, documentation relevant to mental health professionals, and professional collaboration within a mental health context.

  2. Short description of the applicant’s current practice of chaplaincy care in mental health context.

  3. A de-identified example of caring for a patient with mental health symptoms, which demonstrates
    a. Comprehensive spiritual assessment and plan of care.
    b. Integration of chaplaincy care to enhance mental health care in providing holistic service to the patient.
    c. Integrative team approach to the care of the patient.
    d. Utilization of evidence-based or research-informed approaches to chaplaincy care.

  4. Suggestions for a quality improvement process that could enhance chaplaincy care in the applicant’s mental health setting.

e. Presentation and accompanying script of no more than 20 slides, created by the applicant in collaboration with a mental health provider to educate one's medical or broader community of how spiritual care may synergize mental health care.


Time Frame for Certification:

As NAVAC Certification Committee members are full-time VA Professional Chaplains, please expect that the certification process may take as long as 60 days once the completed application packets are received.


Send the completed application with all attachments fee to:

NAVAC Certification Committee Chairman

 Chaplain David E. Lefavor, D.Min., BCC


Send the $100.00 Application Fee to:


 P.O. Box 1631

 Newport News, VA 23601



Please do not submit any original documents. 

Send only Single-Sided, 8 ½ x 11 size paper.

Please do not staple or place it in a binder.



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:

Application for Mental Health Chaplaincy Specialty Certification


Colleague-Observed Competencies Checklist for Mental Health Chaplaincy Specialty Certification 



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