White House Launches New Website Focusing on State Licensure Hurdles for Military Spouses

It’s PCS season! You’ve packed up your kids and your stuff, found a new home in a great school district, said goodbye to your favorite coworkers... and are psyching yourself up to start the job hunt all over again. Will your license even transfer to your new state? The internet can take you down a dark hole and the answer isn’t always clear.

Today, the White House invited the National Military Family Association and other military family supporters to a formal unveiling of their new website designed to make those answers easier to find.

Veterans.gov/milspouses is the Department of Labor’s latest effort to improve the military spouse unemployment rate, which is four times higher than the current veteran unemployment rate of 3.7%.

Jenny Korn, a Marine spouse and Special Assistant to the President said it’s time to take what we’ve learned about veteran employment and apply it to military spouses. She called this website launch a continuation of the work done for the Executive Order signed in May 2018. The order requires federal agencies to report on how often they use their hiring authority to help military spouses and requires HR managers to receive annual training on how to use appointment authority.

Hollyanne Milley, spouse of the Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, talked about her 19 military moves over 33 years of military service. Hollyanne is a registered nurse and remembers the anxiety of each move and what it meant for her career. “Am I going to have to start over again? Am I going to have to start from the bottom? Will the job be in my skill set? And when I finally find the job, will I have to start over again?”

She says this new website will save military spouses hours of research and phone calls, making them more prepared for the challenges they’re sure to face. There’s an interactive map showing whether a license can be used temporarily, whether the process of getting a new license could be expedited and other employment resources. The White House is excited about the launch, but says it’s a work in progress and will only succeed when people start using it and giving them feedback.

Check out the new site and let us know what you think! We’ll pass along your feedback.

Posted June 28, 2018


From: Ebony Williams on: July 7, 2018
I'm so happy to see them continually working on this matter, but there is much work to be done. As someone stated earlier, there are so many occupations that aren't being recognized. I'm a registered dental hygienist and along with the electricians and other trade fields, dental professionals are not once mentioned and dental boards always try and take us (at least the dentists and the hygienists) for an arm and a leg when you want to credential to another state, sometimes it can be over $1000. Even if things cant be expedited at least point us in the right direction of temporary licenses until our official ones come in and reimbursement fees would be another great benefit, if possible.
From: Shannon on: July 5, 2018
So they're basically making a google for mil spouses. Great. Finding out who to call is the easy part. I appreciate that someone recognizes that this is an issue, but I don't see how it's going to help unless there are changes coming from within each profession. I'm a sports massage therapist. I'm licensed in state A. I'm moving to state B and need to get a new license. Among many pieces of paper (that cost money to obtain each time ON TOP of the license fee), State B wants licensure verification from state A (even though they also require a copy of my official license) and is telling me to have them send state A's licensure verification form. State A is telling me they have no such form, and that if state B wants verification, the form should come from state B requesting the information from state A. State B does not have a form like this and is telling me to take it up with state A. This is just one of several examples I have encountered in our many moves. Another state requires us to take their licensure exam, but if you're a mil spouse, you can be exempt from the exam by submitting a list of paperwork. Wonderful, right? Well, the list of documents required is so extensive and expensive, it costs more than the exam. I was told by that state's board that most mil spouses just end up taking the exam anyway. Totally pointless. Like I said, I appreciate this being recognized as a challenge, but it's going to take more than a website to help some professions.
From: Tanya on: July 4, 2018
Ok but it’s not just the work upheaval there’s the school ones for the kids with the IEP or here in TX they call them ARD big eye rolling let’s be real here. The paperwork is supposed to protect your kid or even yourself but it sometimes doesn’t. You get the new base in a new state and have to start over. And don’t get me started on idiot doctors. Ok? Because just you have a degree doesn’t mean you know my body and know my treatment plan better than me and what my doctors have been doing for years. For example I am a gastric bypass patient so this means I can not take pills basically because they wear off way to fast or don’t work at all. Like vitamins they don’t work for me. I lost my teeth and not have dentures before 40 not because of bad hygiene but I don’t absorb vitamin D. However, at Christmas time last year a friend of mine’s parents whom I had never met asked her at a dinner for the first time if I did meth. Because I had no teeth. When I told my doctor whom I was trying to get me into the dental school program he was like here take Vitamin B and D in pill form in low amounts I am like it doesn’t work like that I’m going to end up needing an infusion in 6 months he’s like no you won’t and low and behold yes 6 months later I did. Doctors who are generally general practice don’t always know or been taught everything. Or been exposed to everything. In their military career especially were a Captain who was pinning on Major. Rant done thanks for listening.
From: Leslie on: July 3, 2018
Hopefully this will also take into account licenses in career fields that are not traditionally female. Male spouses have issues too, but just nurses, teachers, and hair dressers. It took a Congressman to intervene and help my husband get his electrician license when their state process couldn’t fathom that someone had not lived in the same place for 10 years. Next state after that- their portable license process only included the traditional female jobs. All the trades were left out. We talked with a state representative who worked tonchange the law.
From: Marlena Syvertsen on: July 3, 2018
Glad there is a step being taken to address the added stress of unemployment for military spouses! Tried using the spouse priority placement program and I’m a registered nurse & priviously served 9-Years in the Army myself, but all the HR people could tell me was I would have to accept whatever job they offer (not necessarily nursing) or I would be dropped from the program. ??? Really didn’t make any sense at all. Hopefully soon military spouses will have options that are realistic for each move to include child care. 2-year wait lists for CDC for us to hold a job is unacceptable.
From: Alyce on: July 3, 2018
After 30 plus years as a military spouse, this is a very welcome step. Our daughter is a nurse practioner who’s husband is active duty. The hoops she has to jump through for licensing every transfer is crazy. I hope this will lighten the stress on her and the family.
From: Christina Kosobud on: July 3, 2018
Thank you for any progress in this endeavor. As a military spouse and a special ed teacher, it has added another layer of challenges and testing requirements to get my licensure in the new state to which we move. It looks as I won’t be teaching for the first year. That’s a big loss for all of us.
From: Laura on: July 3, 2018
More is needed. I'm a social worker. I obtained my masters in 2011, but the process for clinical licensure takes 3 or more years. I was close to completing my license at our prior base and we PCSd and I couldn't take my hours with me. A waste of time and money, so I started over again. I checked out the website and looked up my current state. It was just general information and contained a broken link. You'd think a brand new website would at least have working links.
From: Jessie on: July 2, 2018
Come on ASWB & NASW let's make licensure national!
From: Lisa on: July 2, 2018
I am an RN and we are going to be stationed in Pennsylvania in a few months and I was excited to have a new resource to help me figure out getting a new license endorsement. However the website told me nothing of value about getting a PA liscense. I hope this the work on this website continues because it is a great idea.
From: Catherine on: July 2, 2018
What a wonderful idea to assist these military spouses, who give so much supporting their husbands and wives, as they support us! I WHOLEHEARTEDLY AGREE WITH THIS IDEA! GIT ER DONE!
From: Jennifer on: July 2, 2018
That’s cool. Or it would be cooler if there was a say, 3 year “provisional” waiver for licensure in states if a national certification was available. Like nurses and teachers... we take a nclex or praxis, NATIONAL proficiency exams, but if we did it in one state we have to take extra classes and spend hundreds to work when we are moved. And let me tell you... as someone who’s had to do it a lot... besides costing time and money, it doesn’t make you any better equipped to do your job.
From: Rebecca on: July 2, 2018
This is a good first step. Next we need more states to expedite the initial licensing process, and more importantly states to come together and create reciprocity across the country.
From: Jessica on: July 1, 2018
This site lets me know that the state I will be going to helps military spouses via the map, however, it doesn't give any details how. When scrolling down to the "State Occupation License Finder", it only tells me the requirements needed to get my license, not what my options are as a military spouse to help expedite the process. This is a nice first step, but there should be more resources to help the military spouse with this process. I have been through this process 3 times now as an elementary teacher and it never gets any easier as it takes sometimes a year or more in some areas to get through the process, then apply to the districts and meet their requirements as well. Then no one accounts for the fact no one knows you, so you are competing for another year with people already in the system to get the job. I have been lucky enough to get a job for about 2-3 years before moving again. I build very little retirement , tenure, or accumulate any professional development to transfer over to the next place I work as each area has its own requirements for PD. This is my least favorite part of moving, even more than being out of a home and having to look for a new one each time. So, the more help we can get with this the better.
From: Sarah on: July 1, 2018
A website to help answer these types of questions could be beneficial but that doesn’t address the bigger issue of actually making finding and obtaining employment for military spouses like myself. There should be easier ways for spouses in fields like nursing and education to be able to take their valid state certifications from state to state without having to go through lengthy paperwork and paying new certification costs after each move.
From: Paula on: June 29, 2018
Awesome and wonderful timing, I have a great nephew who's deploying for Afghanistan for the third time leaving two young children and a wife. All the resources made available to all spouses is so necessary. Their sacrifices count also! Respectfully, Retired Military Spouse
From: Karen on: June 28, 2018
For spouses with children who are planning to be teachers, this is a crucial area of concern. Thank you for your consideration of this obstacle to licensed professionals.
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