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— Hire a Chaplain

Help your teachers, school staff, and district employees navigate through life’s challenges.

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— The Impact of a Chaplain

The Benefits

Kids running in hallway

Hiring a chaplain in your school makes a direct impact on the students, staff, educators, as well as the entire community through increased school safety, better teacher retention, and enhanced mental health support.

Lower turnover rate
Increased job satisfaction
Decrease in tardiness
Higher employee productivity
Less money spent on employee training
Lower absenteeism

School Safety

The number one reason to hire a school chaplain is school safety. Data shows most mass shootings are planned in advance, meaning there was time for an intervention. Yet, students do not avail themselves of therapy services because of a lingering stigma and fear that consultations will appear as a footnote on their transcript, curtaining acceptance to post-graduation education. Talking to a chaplain carries no such weight. Informality can lead people to open up when they otherwise wouldn’t. Chaplaincy is a non-threatening solution.

A chaplain can be the last line of defense. National School Chaplain Association chaplains are trained to recognize school safety issues and the steps to help create safer learning environments.

Mass shooting and teens killed or injured by gun violence is at an all-time high. Make your school safer by hiring a chaplain. (Data Sources | U.S. Secret Service and Department of Education Gun Violence Archive website)


Intervene in advance: 93% of school shooters plan the attack in advance
Prevent or foil shootings: More than 75% raised concern from others prior to the attacks
Know the signs: mass shootings are at an all-time high in 2022

Teacher Retention

Teacher resignations are at an all-time high, according to the NEA. (Data Source: This website; EdWeek)

Chaplains are in high demand in an increasingly secular America because they provide unique and valuable services to employees. People want to work where they’re cared for and valued as a person, not just a cog, and school chaplains are a great way to do that. A school chaplain is an impartial listener who brings a compassionate heart and a discerning ear. This “ministry of presence” provides teachers and staff with a place to turn when life gets hard, and situations begin to impact their work. Chaplains are perceived as peers and a member of your team who voluntarily engages with others to establish close relationships, becoming an ally when they need a confidential partner to walk with them through difficult life situations. (Data Sources: This release from the C12 Group, General Motors, and Ford)


Invest in your teachers’ future: a $9 return for every $1 invested in their chaplaincy programs
Mitigate educator burnout: 90% of NEA members say feeling burned out is a serious problem (67% very serious)
Keep teachers in classrooms: 33% say it is very likely they will leave teaching within the next two years.

Mental Health

With teen suicide at an all-time high, chaplaincy is a non-threatening solution. Chaplains exist at the complex intersection of spirituality and mental health, where the line between a spiritual crisis and a mental health crisis is not always clear even to the person experiencing it. School chaplains are not therapist; in fact, schools employing chaplains stress that they are only one part of a holistic health and wellness approach. They are a nonjudgmental confidant easy to talk to without fear of harassment, and guided by their training, help decide when to refer someone to a licensed therapist. Even in an increasingly secular society, faith in chaplains and their ability to help with personal problems remains strong. A chaplain might be able to address a spiritual crisis better than a medical professional or school counselor. (Data Sources: This release from the C12 Group, General Motors and Ford; This website; EdWeek)

What School Chaplains Will NOT Do

Interfere with the teacher or school staff work process
Force a conversation or relationship with teachers, staff, or students
Judge lifestyle or personal conduct
Report to management regarding employee work habits
Break confidentiality of discussions with teachers, staff, or students
Promote a particular religious group or church, preach, or proselytize
Accept gifts or gratuities from teachers, staff, or students for any services


Support students with anxiety or depression: 73 percent of respondents said they had “somewhat or a lot” of confidence in their clergy to help them with depression or anxiety
Bridge the gap to other resources: Studies show that black men underutilize mental health services
Provide a holistic approach to healthcare - one that recognizes religious and spiritual beliefs as an enduring part of modern life
— your trusted partner


Woman asking a question

National School Chaplain Association provides:

National standard for school chaplaincy qualifications
Professional trained relationship-driven chaplains candidates for employment
Seamless integration of chaplaincy into schools
Branded uniform clothing consistent with a workplace environment
Continuing education training
Trusted, proven, confidential support for all teachers, staff, and district employees

Our 5 Point Proven Process


When you hire a NSCA chaplain an onsite orientation will be organized to introduce your School Chaplain to your team to learn about the benefits available to them. This is the first step to building a relationship centered on trust and authenticity between your chaplain and team.


Your School Chaplain will hold onsite visits to discuss anything individuals choose to share. These are voluntary and permission-based meetings and are entirely confidential. These meetings will strengthen the bond between your team and your chaplain.


Your team will have access to one-on-one care sessions onsite and offsite. These sessions are intended to foster relationships and demonstrate care for your team members. This creates a school culture of care.

24/7 Chaplain Access

Your school will be provided a phone number and secure app access, which also contains comprehensive resources for your benefit. You have access to your NSCA chaplain at all times due to our 24/7 policy.

Offsite supervision

Three veteran chaplains form a governing body called the Senior Chaplain Board. The Senior Chaplain Board administrates school chaplains in coordination with education and when necessary act as an arbitrator. Local school districts will employ school chaplains. NSCA will facilitate relations between chaplains and education although NSCA is not an employer or employment agency.

— Chaplaincy in Public Schools

Legality of Chaplains

You are not alone if you are wondering what is and isn’t legal or appropriate regarding chaplaincy. There is a common misconception that school chaplains are illegal employees of public schools. That is not true. Chaplaincy is not a legal issue as much as it is an ideological issue. Any school district may hire a chaplain if they desire.

As district employees, chaplains are subject to all the rules and regulations like any other employee. The district defines a chaplain’s role and responsibilities. For example, in some districts, a chaplain’s primary function is to serve teachers and the adult employees of a district. In other schools, chaplains can engage with students in common areas like hallways, cafeterias, or sporting events, but not in private one-on-one settings unless another adult teacher or parent is present. 

Many educators struggle with separating the concept of spirituality from the idea of religion. However, the courts consistently uphold chaplaincy because chaplains represent God, not the church, denomination, or religion. As Godly counselors, chaplains are trusted Biblical advisors, which is why chaplains are paid to serve schools, the military, law enforcement, hospitals, the U.S. Senate, and Congress. Understanding the difference between God and religion will avoid confusion and help you move from fear to freedom.


Necessary Legalities

How can chaplaincy survive challenges from the American Civil Liberties Union, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and other liberal law organizations? The following describes how and the necessary legalities for public schools to employ chaplains.

  • Chaplains have a long precedent of serving in public institutions, including schools.
  • Kennedy v. Bremerton School District – Religious expression including prayer upheld (U.S. Supreme Court 2022)
  • Carson v. Makin – Public funds for students who attend private religious schools upheld (U.S. Supreme Court 2022)
  • Although the Supreme Court has never addressed the constitutionality of military or prison chaplains, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals explicitly held in Katcoff v. Marsh that the military chaplaincy does not violate the establishment clause (2d Cir. 1985)
  • The Supreme Court has directly addressed chaplaincy only within the context of the legislature. In Marsh v. Chambers (1983), the Court held that a Nebraska legislative chaplaincy program did not violate the establishment clause.

  • Carter v. Broadlawns – Public funds to pay chaplains serving public institutions upheld (U.S. Supreme Court 1971)
  • Secular humanism is a religion taught in public education; therefore, Christianity has equal access. (Torcaso v. Watkins – Federal District 1961)
  • Sherbert v. Verner – States must have a “compelling interest” to refuse to accommodate religiously motivated conduct (U.S. Supreme Court 1963)
  • Northwest Ordinance of 1787 – Religion, morality, and knowledge education shall forever be encouraged in school
  • 48 states have laws that require the Gospel to be taught in school


  • Chaplains are paid to serve in public institutions, including schools. If chaplains are on the payroll in one school, why would it be “illegal” for any school to have a staff chaplain?
  • Forty-eight (48) states have laws that require the Gospel to be taught in school. To get a copy of your state’s education standards and how they apply to the Gospel, send an email request to Lorena Garza at Please include the following information: your name, email, and state.


Before a NSCA chaplain starts work with a school, that chaplain will hold an orientation meeting to explain the benefits of chaplaincy, including chaplain confidentiality. This meeting is similar in tone and function to other benefits or orientation-type meetings, with a time for questions. At the end of the orientation, employees receive a business card with the chaplain’s telephone number and email address. The card will have NSCA contact information should anyone prefer to report chaplain conduct directly.

At the orientation, the employees learn that they—not the chaplain—make all decisions about interaction. In practice, virtually all employees eventually enjoy a good relationship with the chaplain simply because the chaplain is there for no other reason than to care.

Every week the chaplain will try to make brief personal contact with each team member. The chaplain will foster relationships with the employees by providing care and encouragement. The employee can call his or her chaplain any time to help with personal crisis management.

Chaplains are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to care for teachers and district employees. In addition, chaplains will assist your employees in hospital care, family and marriage care, substance abuse, stress management, and interpersonal conflicts. Chaplains are certified to enter jail facilities, emergency rooms, and accident scenes. Your chaplain can also perform death notices, funeral services, and other traditional roles of clergy.

While many chaplains hold degrees and licenses in counseling, your chaplain will not provide counseling services. We provide care for those who need professional counseling by helping to connect them with a suitable counselor, either from the school’s insurance network or from our referral network.

In addition to regular rounds with employees, the chaplain is available to respond to crisis needs 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

No. All hires are at the discretion of the district. The U.S. Senate has one chaplain. His name is Barry Black. He is a retired Navy Rear Admiral and a sincere Jesus-following Christian. Why would a local public school be required to hire a second or third chaplain if a single Christian chaplain may serve the U.S. Senate?

Your leaders will find the chaplain to be an effective management resource. Dealing with employees’ personal life issues can consume a skilled manager’s time, who may not feel adequately trained to provide advice. The chaplain is a valuable, well-trained resource that your managers can call in to help employees deal with delicate personal situations.

Because a thorough understanding of a school environment is essential, all NSCA chaplains are required to have youth experience. NSCA also provides a custom training and certification program for all chaplains. 

No. We respect the faith boundaries of individuals and adhere to the standards and expectations for a confidential, voluntary, permission-based, and secular workplace ministry. Chaplains are required to have a reference letter from church where they regularly attend. When directly asked about their theological underpinnings, we’ve trained our chaplains to respond from a Biblical Christian worldview. Contact us to learn more information.

Yes. NSCA ’s chaplains are skilled workplace caregivers trained in providing care in a multicultural environment. They currently care for some 20 million people and their loved ones, representing many different religious backgrounds.

Schools have lots of options when hiring a chaplain either full-time or part-time. In most states federal and state funding designated for mental health are available along with school safety and security. 

There are several benefits to contracting chaplain care:

  • Contracting might be more cost-effective than hiring a full-time staff person.
  • Contracting allows for great flexibility hiring and discharging chaplains.
  • Contracting might be a way to test acceptance before committing to a hire.

No school is too small to enjoy the services of a chaplain. In some cases, districts share a single chaplain.

Every week the chaplain will try to make brief personal contact with each team member. The chaplain will foster relationships with the employees by providing care and encouragement. The employee can call his or her chaplain any time to help with personal crisis management.

Employees can approach their chaplain with anything they need to talk about in confidentiality unless self-harm or harm of others is discussed. In such cases an appropriate referral is advised and proper authorities are contacted. Chaplains can provide insight into engagement and marriage issues, grief care, parenting, stress management, and much more.