Guidelines for Preparing the BCC-MC Application

The following guidelines may be helpful to applicants in preparing their materials and evaluating their readiness for the certification process.  

General Guidelines

ADVANCED PRAXIS AND SPECIALIZATION:  The Board Certified Chaplain–Military Chaplaincy Specialty Certification (BCC-MC) signifies that a chaplain possesses specialized expertise, knowledge, and competencies in military chaplaincy at an advanced supervisory level. The successful BCC-MC applicant will be at least a senior 03 and have supervisory responsibilities. The BCC-MC is not simply a gradual progression but represents entry into a new and advanced level of service not obtained by all. The BCC-MC possesses advanced education, intentional skill development, extensive experience, and the personal and interdisciplinary integration of professional skills and competencies characteristic of exceptional superior expertise in military chaplaincy.  

The BCC-MC chaplain has voluntarily submitted to a rigorous process of education, training, consultation, and evaluation and is dedicated to providing exceptional chaplaincy care through a career-long process of self-improvement and supervisory and peer evaluation. Successful applicants will reflect this commitment in every component of their applications ~ in letters of recommendation, clinical experience, education, understanding of their progression toward this specialized ministry, integrated articulation of the theory and practice of military chaplaincy, case presentation, quality improvement project, and original PowerPoint presentation.  

In preparing and reviewing their materials, applicants are strongly encouraged to ensure that their applications demonstrate the consistent performance of advanced, evidence-based praxis as a military chaplain beyond the excellent work of a BCC. 

THE 30 PROFESSIONAL COMPETENCIES: The applicant must demonstrate all 30 professional competencies of the BCC-MC in their written work or in the certification interview. Ideally, all 30 competencies should be addressed in writing, so that the interview time can be used for clarification and in-depth exploration. Applicants are well-advised to review the list of competencies before preparing and submitting an application, in order to plan and ensure that all competencies have been addressed in the essay, the case presentation, the QI project, the PowerPoint presentation, the progression essay, and/or the letters of recommendation.

EVIDENCE-BASED PRACTICE: The successful BCC-MC applicant will be well-versed in the training, plans, operating instructions, and literature of military chaplaincy, both historical and current. The essay, the case presentation, and the quality improvement project, in particular, will clearly illustrate the applicant’s familiarity with these materials and the ways in which they inform and are integrated into the applicant’s advanced praxis in military chaplaincy.  

INTERDISCIPLINARY, TRANSDISCIPLINARY and MULTI-DISCIPLINARY PRACTICE: Military chaplaincy is an interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary ministry. The applicant’s application materials should demonstrate clearly that the applicant’s work is interdisciplinary or even transdisciplinary and not simply multidisciplinary. Multidisciplinary work occurs when colleagues from a variety of disciplines get together at some point, exchange information, and essentially work separately (e.g. most staff meetings of various units or joint-service training classes.)  Interdisciplinary work has the goal of collaboration in exchanging information, transferring knowledge from one discipline to another, and sharing resources so that each team member’s work is informed by the others’ work and there is integration of disciplines toward a holistic plan of care (e.g. a case management meeting between the chaplain and others: commander, first sergeant, doctor, lawyer, mental health, etc. when coming up with a care plan for a military member/family in crisis.) In transdisciplinary work, team members contribute their unique expertise and perspectives while at the same time transcending their own disciplines to understand a whole system rather than one part of it, to capture complexity, and to create new spaces for practice (e.g. an exercise or deployment situation, or a mass-casualty event.)   

BIBLIOGRAPHY, FOOTNOTES, REFERENCED SOURCES: Successful BCC-MC applicants will reference academic and research literature and/or documents supporting the theoretical and practical components of their praxis. This may be in a bibliography or footnotes in the essay, parenthetical comments, references informing the choice of intervention in the quality improvement project, and citations within the PowerPoint presentation. If sources are important to applicants’ understandings of what they do and why they do it, or how they moved toward their own philosophies of military chaplaincy, include them with appropriate reference and explanation.  Give credit where it is due: Cite all direct quotes, borrowed slides, and other primary sources.

Specific Guidelines 

(in order of the requirements)

MILITARY CLINICAL EXPERIENCE: The standard for the BCC-MC is three years of military chaplain experience.  The successful applicant will have mastered the skills and knowledge of the entire continuum of military chaplaincy over the course of their career. The required clinical experience may be acquired in a single setting.  

RECOMMENDATIONS: Three letters of recommendation are required.  One is from the applicant’s chaplain supervisor. This recommendation can also do double-duty by verifying the applicant’s clinical experience (i.e., three years of clinical experience.).  A second recommendation is to be from the applicant’s faith endorser. The third is from a military 04 or above non-chaplain with whom the applicant has served.  Letters of recommendation that are marked by in-depth, case-documented writing will be particularly helpful in the application process. All letters should clearly demonstrate the BCC-MC applicant’s contributions to the military community through service as a chaplain.  

PROFESSIONAL PROGRESSION FROM BCC TO BCC-MC APPLICANT: A reflective essay on the applicant’s professional progression from the role of a point-of-service (normally an 02-03) BCC to the specialty role of the supervising (normally a senior 03 and above) BCC-MC will meet this requirement.  The integration of professional experience, personal growth, values, spiritual disciplines, professional praxis, ideas, philosophies, and knowledge are the hallmark of a specialist.  

ESSAY IN ONE PART OR THREE PARTS: The essay has three required components:  the theory and practice which informs the applicant’s provision of chaplaincy care as a supervisor; a case presentation; and a quality improvement project.  Some applicants will choose to integrate these three components into a single document.  Other applicants will choose to write them as three separate documents.  Either approach is acceptable so long as (a) the total number of pages for all three components does not exceed 12 pages and (b) each component is clearly identifiable for the committee reviewing the written materials.  

  • ESSAY / THEORY & PRACTICE: Address the theory and practice of chaplaincy across the continuum of chaplaincy care in the military environment.  Although the competencies may be demonstrated in any of the components of the application, the vast majority of them will be met in the major essay.  This part of the essay should demonstrate not only the applicant’s understanding of what the applicant does in practice, but also how the applicant integrates theology, familiarity with psychosocial disciplines, knowledge of religious beliefs/practices, mastery of professional literature/documents, and all other skills, knowledges, and life experiences that inform the applicant’s advanced professional praxis as a supervisory military chaplain. 
  • ESSAY / CASE PRESENTATION: Provides the certification committee an opportunity to see the applicant at work.  The case presentation should clearly demonstrate the applicant’s mastery of professional literature/documents and integration of these concepts into an evidence-based advanced, supervisory praxis. Unlike a verbatim, which is a snapshot of a single encounter, the case presentation shows the progress of the applicant’s work and collaborative work with others over a period of time, as intervention and ongoing assessment. Details of the case may be altered to meet confidentiality requirements and situational requirements. 

    The case study must include at least four elements.  (1) a spiritual plan of care that is comprehensive and that evolves in response to on-going assessment or changing circumstances; (2) how and why the applicant’s spiritual practice progressed over the course of the case; (3) the integration of your spiritual ministry to enhance other military disciplines in providing holistic service to military members/family/staff; and (4) a multi-person, team approach to the military member or family in the case.   Note the distinction in the case between multidisciplinary cooperation and an integrated, collaborative trans- or interdisciplinary collaboration. 
  • ESSAY / QUALITY IMPROVEMENT PROJECT: Successful BCC-MC applicants will demonstrate their participation in a QI project that enhances the delivery of spiritual care in a military setting.  The QI project should be one that the applicant helped create and implement, and should clearly demonstrate the resources available, the activities carried out to ensure or improve quality of care in the military, and the measurable outcomes experienced as a result. Applicants should  1) identify a gap in spiritual care within the military to authorized care-recipients; 2) create a project improvement project to address the gap; 3) pilot the improvement; and 4) collect data to exemplify the outcomes. Note: the data may show benefit to the military or identify another researchable gap.

ORIGINAL POWERPOINT PRESENTATION: The successful BCC-MC applicant will submit a PowerPoint presentation presented by the applicant in collaboration with another military chaplain or non-chaplain colleague (active, reserve, Guard or retired) to educate the military community or the broader civilian or international community about spiritual practice in military care. The presentation is to have 20-30 slides and is to be accompanied by a script.  It should be largely original work, although borrowed commonly-used slides for some portion are acceptable (proper credit required).  Because the BCC-MC is an advanced specialty certification, the presentation should reflect an advanced level of expertise beyond the BCC. Print the slides and the script for submission and clearly identify the colleague with whom the presentation was planned and given.  

CONTINUING EDUCATION: Successful BCC-MC applicants must have at least 50 hours of continuing education each year as a BCC. Submit with this application proof of the required APC 50 CEs which includes 20 hours of continuing education applicable to the specialized military care for the three BCC years immediately preceding this application. You may include professional military officer and/or chaplaincy training courses, exercises, and any self-help military education, as well as professional workshops/seminars/readings which can directly apply to military care.

Successful applicants will pursue educational opportunities designed to facilitate new skill development, to strengthen their knowledge base, and to enhance the overall depth and breadth of the advanced practice of military chaplaincy.