Military Spouses by the Numbers
Income lost per year by spouses trying to relicense or find work in a new state
Have jobs requiring a license or certification
Have a four-year degree
Are unemployed, compared to 3.6% nationwide pre-pandemic
Wondering how moving affects a military spouses’s career?
Relicensing is a Barrier for Working Military Spouses
Most military families will move every three years. The result for working military spouses? Time gaps and employment lapses on their resumes. Of the many military spouses in the workforce, more than 30% are in careers that require a state-based professional license or certification to practice.
And these credentials are rarely transferable when a military spouse moves to a new state. Despite many legislative and grassroots efforts, time-consuming and expensive upkeep of licenses and certifications remains a barrier for working military spouses everywhere.
Military spouses are no strangers to being their own best advocates. Licensing and certification is no different. Our Take Action Guide provides a step-by-step process for how to get involved.
Why Relicensing Is a Problem
It's time consuming
Researching a new state’s eligibility and other requirements; studying for and taking tests to obtain a new license (then waiting for results); taking additional required courses before being eligible to apply for a license: the process for a spouse to stay current with professional credentials is daunting.
Military spouses earn 26.8% less in income than their non-military counterparts, which adds up to $12,374 per year in lost wages. These licensing and credentialing barriers keep military spouses out of the job market longer and can negatively affect future employment.
The barriers faced by military spouses trying to obtain a new license or certification in each new state is not only damaging to his or her career, it hurts the entire military family by eroding the financial stability that comes with a second income.
Costly fees associated with additional courses, renewing, testing, and transferring professional licenses and certifications range from hundreds to thousands of dollars, making it difficult for military spouses to enter the workforce in their new state, and ultimately provide needed income for their families.
Real Stories From Military Spouses
Transferring or renewing an occupational license in a new state can be confusing. These seven tips from military spouse pros can help you clear the hurdles to make the process seamless.
Military spouses hoping to transfer their professional licenses say the process can feel like a scrambled Rubik’s Cube…an unsolvable game. Despite the difficulty transferring their professional licenses, military spouses are still trying to win.
Interstate Compacts Provide Relief
Occupational interstate compacts are agreements between professional associations, occupational licensing boards, and other state boards designed to ease the burden on transient professionals, like military spouses, who want to stay employed even after a required military move across state lines.
Interstate compacts allow a military spouse with an occupational license or certification in one compact state to practice in another participating state through “privilege to practice” policies. States can voluntarily sign onto each compact to allow spouses to take advantage of the state-to-state reciprocity.
Stay on Top of the Latest Legislative Info for Your State
Defense-State Liaison Office (DSLO)
DSLO’s key issue status tracker is a great resource provided by Military OneSource that addresses advances made on key issues in each state.
Department of Labor (DOL)
DOL provides spouses with a status tracking map and occupational license information and contacts for each state.