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Richmond, Virginia
Nov 21, 2020
Nov 29, 2020
Full Time


Chaplains provide religious, spiritual, and pastoral care to all persons that is commensurate with the needs, desires, and voluntary consent of the Veteran or caregiver or staff. Chaplains interact with healthcare professionals from many different fields to address the spiritual component of health and wellness in every patient care setting to ensure that pastoral care is fully integrated into all aspects of care.

Learn more about this agency


Duties and responsibilities for the position include but are not limited to the following:
  • Provides comprehensive, religious ministry services to Veteran patients according to their specific needs and desires. Carries out a ministry which is highly integrated into VHA's Chaplain program. Provides thorough guidance and advice to Chaplain Service management staff, other Chaplains, and other stakeholders.
  • Provides extended and intensive pastoral counseling as an integral part of the treatment program with patients facing complex, ethical, moral, and spiritual issues.
  • Ensures program effectiveness and modification of service pattern, which includes research and leadership of clinical teams.
  • Serves as a Chaplain representative and a fully recognized member of an interdisciplinary treatment team (IDT). Advises and collaborates with other members of the IDT to provide comprehensive healthcare services to Veterans.
  • Serves as a primary Chaplain resource, spiritual advisor, and liaison for the spiritual needs of patients, caregivers, and staff. Conducts comprehensive religious services and worship, pastoral ministry, and administration of Chaplain services.
  • Engages as a spiritual leader, a compassionate listener, and counselor, especially during times of crisis. Provides emotional support and counseling using empathy and strong interpersonal skills to effectively connect with people of all ages.
  • Conducts rituals before groups of people, which requires effective leadership and public speaking skills. Uses sound guidance and advice to lead prayer and religious services.
  • Addresses the religious, spiritual, moral, and ethical problems of patients and staff. Provides effective counseling services to patients and staff. Conducts regular rounds of hospital wards where patients are critically ill.
  • Spends minimally 70% of time in patient care.
  • Coordinates religious services in a manner which respects the faith traditions and religious expression of patients. Maintains and uses an advanced knowledge and understanding of other religions or denominations.
  • Collaborates with healthcare teams to create and update treatment plans to address spiritual distress, grief, and loss as existential concerns to enhance holistic care.
  • Conducts spiritual assessments to identify patients' strengths and needs. Creates plans for care in response to the moral injuries and spiritual distress of patients that enhance the Holistic Treatment of Veteran patients.
  • Engages community resources to meet the religious needs of patients that cannot be met by chaplain staff. Serves as a vital communication link between the individual patient and the outside community and between the VHA medical facility and the outside community.
  • Uses significant religious expression groups such as veteran choirs and such aids as devotional literature, films, and bedside broadcasts. Provides religious instruction for patients through various means, such as individual or group discussion, Bible classes, instructional classes, and tutoring for courses completed by correspondence.
  • Provides crisis intervention and stabilization as required. Provides support to individual(s) for unit emergencies, natural disasters, man-made disasters, or planned special events.

Work Schedule: Monday - Friday 08:00AM - 04:30PM, some weekends/on-call
Financial Disclosure Report: Not required

Travel Required

Not required

Supervisory status

Promotion Potential


Conditions of Employment

  • You must be a U.S. Citizen to apply for this job
  • Designated and/or random drug testing may be required
  • Selective Service Registration is required for males born after 12/31/1959
  • You may be required to serve a probationary period
  • Subject to a background/security investigation
  • Must be proficient in written and spoken English
  • Selected applicants will be required to complete an online onboarding process


Basic Requirements:
  • United States Citizenship: Non-citizens may only be appointed when it is not possible to recruit qualified citizens in accordance with VA Policy.
  • Education: Applicants must possess a Master of Divinity degree or equivalent educational qualifications as evidenced by a graduate-level theological degree from a college, university or theological school accredited by a member of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) or Association of Theological Schools (ATS) and recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
  • Foreign Education: Theological or related education completed outside the U.S. must be submitted to a current affiliate agency of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) listed at .
  • Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE): Applicants must have completed four units of CPE from a CPE center that is accredited by an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
  • Ecclesiastical Endorsement: In accordance with 38 C.F.R. § 17.655, ecclesiastical endorsement is a condition of employment as a VA chaplain. An individual must possess and maintain a full and active ecclesiastical endorsement to be employed as a VA chaplain. Applicants must have an ecclesiastical endorsement, dated within the past 12 months. Ecclesiastical endorsements must be from the official national endorsing authority of the applicant's/employee's faith group or denomination. Ecclesiastical endorsement is a written official statement, by the official national endorsing body of the faith group or denomination, certifying that the applicant is in good standing with the applicant's faith group or denomination; and stating that the individual is, in the opinion of the endorsing body, qualified to perform the full range of ministry required in the VA pluralistic setting. Loss of endorsement will result in removal from the GS-0060 Chaplain series and may result in termination of employment. The National Chaplain Service maintains a list of approved endorsing organizations that can be found here:
  • Board Certification:Applicants must be a Board Certified Chaplain certified by the Board of Chaplaincy Certification Inc. (BCCI) ® or nationally recognized certification body that utilizes the BCCI ® Common Qualifications and Competencies for Professional Chaplaincy or a certifying organization that has a reciprocity agreement with BCCI ®.
  • Loss of Endorsement or Certification: Chaplains must maintain ecclesiastical endorsement and board certification. Loss of endorsement or board certification will result in removal from the GS-0060 Chaplain occupation and may result in termination of employment. English Language Proficiency: Licensed practical or vocational nurses appointed to direct patient care positions must be proficient in both spoken and written English as required by 38 U.S.C. 7402(d), and 7407(d).
May qualify based on being covered by the Grandfathering Provision as described in the VA Qualification Standard for this occupation (only applicable to current VHA employees who are in this occupation and meet the criteria).

All chaplains employed in VHA, in this occupational series, performing the duties as described in the qualification standard on the effective date of this qualification standard, are considered to have met all the qualification requirements for the grade held, including positive education and certification that are part of the basic requirements of the occupation. For employees who do not meet all the basic requirements of this standard, but met the qualifications applicable to the position at the time they were appointed to the position, the following provisions apply:
      • Chaplains who do not meet the basic requirements for education and certification may be reassigned, promoted up to and including the full performance level, or demoted within the occupation, but may not be promoted beyond the full performance level or placed in supervisory or managerial positions.
      • Chaplains appointed on a temporary basis prior to the effective date of the qualification standard may not have their temporary appointment extended, or be reappointed on a temporary or permanent basis, until they fully meet the basic requirements of the standard.
      • Chaplains initially grandfathered into this occupation, who subsequently obtain education and/or certification that meets all the basic requirements of this qualification standard, must maintain the required credentials as a condition of employment in the occupation.
      • Chaplains who were retained in this occupation, under this provision, and subsequently leave the occupation, lose protected status and must meet the full VA qualification standard requirements in effect at the time of reentry to the occupation.

Preferred Experience: Hospice/palliative care experience from a paid full-time or part time position.

Grade Determinations: In addition to the basic requirements for employment, the following criteria must be met when determining the grade of candidates:

Chaplain, GS-12
    Experience. The candidate must have one year of creditable experience equivalent to the journey level (GS-11) that is directly related to the position to be filled. Specialty Certification. Specialty certification is demonstrated advanced practice and/or specialization in chaplaincy beyond the board certification and is required for the GS-12 grade level. Specialty certification from a professional chaplain certifying body that is directly related to the assignment is qualifying for a senior chaplain assignment. Demonstrated Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities. In addition to the experience above, the candidate must demonstrate the following KSAs:
  • Ability to apply relevant theories and methodologies to their ministry specialty.
  • Ability to integrate specialized psychological and sociological theory with an advanced approach to spiritual care.
  • Skill to seek out primary research and research literature that informs the ministry specialty and one's spiritual care practice.
  • Skill in developing and implementing methods for measuring effectiveness of chaplain practice and services in the specialty area, utilizing outcome evaluations to improve treatment services and to design system changes.
  • Ability to mediate conflict, hold various emotions and diffuse moral distress among staff and complex crisis situations.
  • Ability to provide specialized consultation, teaching and mentoring to colleagues and students on advanced spiritual care interventions in the service delivery area.
  • Ability to apply advanced clinical knowledge to write policies, procedures and/or practice guidelines pertaining to the service delivery area.

  • References: VA Handbook 5005/135, Part II, Appendix G-67, Chaplain Qualification Standard dated September 24, 2020.

    The full performance level of this vacancy is GS-12. The actual grade at which an applicant may be selected for this vacancy is GS-12.

    Physical Requirements: This position requires the Chaplain to meaningfully engage with Veteran patients and family members by walking and moving within the healthcare setting or with the incumbent using an assistive device. The Chaplain is required to speak, hear (hearing aid permitted) and work closely with others. Use of fingers; Both hands required; Walking; Standing; Both legs required; Specific visual requirements (See computer screen); Both eyes required; Hearing (aid permitted).


    IMPORTANT: A transcript must be submitted with your application if you are basing all or part of your qualifications on education.

    Note: Only education or degrees recognized by the U.S. Department of Education from accredited colleges, universities, schools, or institutions may be used to qualify for Federal employment. You can verify your education here: . If you are using foreign education to meet qualification requirements, you must send a Certificate of Foreign Equivalency with your transcript in order to receive credit for that education. For further information, visit: .

    Additional information

    This job opportunity announcement may be used to fill additional vacancies.

    It is the policy of the VA to not deny employment to those that have faced financial hardships or periods of unemployment.

    This position is in the Excepted Service and does not confer competitive status.

    VA encourages persons with disabilities to apply. The health-related positions in VA are covered by Title 38, and are not covered by the Schedule A excepted appointment authority.

    Veterans and Transitioning Service Members: Please visit the VA for Vets site for career-search tools for Veterans seeking employment at VA, career development services for our existing Veterans, and coaching and reintegration support for military service members.

    If you are unable to apply online view the following link for information regarding an Alternate Application .

    How You Will Be Evaluated

    You will be evaluated for this job based on how well you meet the qualifications above.

    IN DESCRIBING YOUR EXPERIENCE, PLEASE BE CLEAR AND SPECIFIC. WE MAY NOT MAKE ASSUMPTIONS REGARDING YOUR EXPERIENCE. Your application, résumé, C.V., and/or supporting documentation will be verified. Please follow all instructions carefully. Errors or omissions may affect consideration for employment.

    Experience refers to paid and unpaid experience, including volunteer work done through National Service programs (e.g., Peace Corps, AmeriCorps) and other organizations (e.g., professional; philanthropic; religions; spiritual; community; student; social). Volunteer work helps build critical competencies, knowledge, and skills and can provide valuable training and experience that translates directly to paid employment. You will receive credit for all qualifying experience, including volunteer experience.

    Background checks and security clearance

    Security clearance

    Drug test required

    Position sensitivity and risk
    Non-sensitive (NS)/Low Risk

    Trust determination process

    Required Documents

    To apply for this position, you must provide a complete Application Package which includes :

    • VA 10-2850c
    • Resume
    • SF-50/ Notification of Personnel Action
    • Transcript

    VA Form 10-2850c Application for Associated Health Occupations can be found at: . *** Required***

    The following documents are accepted, and may be required if applicable to your eligibility and/or qualifications for this position. Please use this checklist to ensure you have included all documents required for your application.

    • Cover Letter
    • Board Certification
    • VA 10-2850c
    • Other (3)
    • Resume
    • SF-50/ Notification of Personnel Action
    • Transcript

    If you are relying on your education to meet qualification requirements:

    Education must be accredited by an accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education in order for it to be credited towards qualifications. Therefore, provide only the attendance and/or degrees from schools accredited by accrediting institutions recognized by the U.S. Department of Education .

    Failure to provide all of the required information as stated in this vacancy announcement may result in an ineligible rating or may affect the overall rating.

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