Checklist for PCSing with a license (Mental Health Profession)

You have (or may have) PCS orders and you wonder about job opportunities at your new duty station. How do you increase your chances of successfully PCSing with your license? Click here for the printable checklist.

Start with this checklist:

  1. Check your current license(s). Has it expired or is it up for renewal soon? Keeping your license up to date can facilitate re-licensure at your new duty station.
  2. Research the requirements of the licensing board at your new/potential duty station. You can find reciprocity agreements between states, and other licensure-transfer requirements here:
  3. Determine whether your current-license state’s requirements meet or exceed the new state’s requirements (at licensure board links above). If not, you may have additional criteria to meet in order to get that license:
    • If you need additional courses, research local or online courses. Consider community college or other non-profit schools’ courses, which offer less expensive alternatives. Contact a certified career counselor with the Department of Defense Spouse Education and Career Opportunities program for assistance in identifying and comparing options. 
    • Need additional clinical supervision? Connect with the Milspouse Network to determine if options for free supervision are available.
  4. For certain mental health professionals, consider “banking” your credentials. This facilitates transfers by holding in one place all of your important paperwork, including licenses, recommendations, and transcripts.
  5. Even if your profession doesn’t have a banking organization, consider storing extra copies of your credentials together in a secure, cloud-based platform (e.g. Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.).
  6. Get to know the licensure portability laws in your new state. Each state has different rules for military spouses -- license via endorsement, temporary license, or expedited review:
    • Licensure via endorsement: your new state will recognize your license in good standing from another state. This is the ideal and a best practice.
    • Temporary licensure: if you have an up-to-date license from another state you can begin work in a new state while completing any state-specific requirements you haven’t yet met.
    • Expedited review: the state will accelerate the review of your license application.
  7. If you encounter hurdles with re-licensure in your new state, be your own best advocate. Bring the applicable military spouse license-portability rule (above) to the attention of your state board. You can find your state board by using the links above.
  8. The person serving you may not be aware of the rules applying to you. If you’re still having issues, contact the Defense State Liaison Office (DSLO), so they can help, if possible.
  9. Connect with other spouses who have successfully navigated the process. NMFA’s Facebook Group – MilSpouse Network for Mental Health Professionals -- is a great place to get answers to your questions.
  10. For employment opportunities, visit the Military Spouse Employment Partnership Career Portal and use key words such as “mental health” “psychiatrist” and “psychologist” in the job search tool. 
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