Why look for just another job, when you can embark upon a whole new career? Learn about the latest developments in careers for military spouses. With your mobile lifestyle, there are certain portable careers that can offer you and your family stability and future growth. If you have any topics that you would like to see us write about, feel free to email the editor:
Transferring a professional license just got easier

Do you dread moving your career when you PCS? Is it difficult to transfer a license for certain careers from state to state?

Legislators are hoping to help military spouses make that transition smoother and quicker.

So far 25 states have signed into law the “Military Family Licensing Act” to allow for more reciprocity among states in licensed careers.

Roughly 70 percent of active duty spouses are covered by the legislation that has been passed, according to the Military Officers Association of America.

However, each state’s legislation is different.

“It’s not a ‘one size fits all’,” said Katie Savant, government relations information manager and writer for the National Military Family Association.  

Currently, certain states, often those that border each other, have reciprocity for some licensed careers, or are part of a licensure compact, enabling general employees who choose to relocate to move around and begin their new jobs more quickly. The new legislation is specific to military spouses who move with their service member.

“Many states have agreed to, for military spouses, allow them to practice with a temporary license while they are getting their license for their new state, or they’ve streamlined the approval process, or the employee may have to provide a demonstration of competency in their field,” said Karen Golden, Deputy Director for Military Family Issues with the Military Officers Association of America.

Each state’s legislation is different so the careers that are covered also vary. It is important to be familiar with what licenses your new state provides assistance for before your move.

For instance, teachers, some medical professions and attorneys may have to complete some additional processes and paperwork specific to their state, because they aren’t covered under the legislation in that state. When they move again, the new state may cover them and the transition may be easier.

Golden said “the key is finding out and really understanding what your state’s provisions are.”

Savant added that while the new laws don’t completely eradicate the difficulties of porting your career to a new state, they are a step in the right direction.

“It doesn’t fix everything, but it helps ease the process,” she said.

And, because you never know where your military life will take you, some states have planned ahead for a spouse’s eventual return. Texas will now reinstate an expired Texas license, if a spouse later returns to work in the state.

Though not covered under the licensing act, the number of states who cover unemployment compensation for military spouses is also up. Currently 45 states, up from 10 in 2004, consider military spouses who leave their jobs due to PCS as eligible for unemployment pay.

 “On a military directed move, a spouse can lose six to nine months worth of income during the moving transition,” said Golden. “Spouses who leave due to military assignment, is not necessarily voluntary. This compensation helps to offset the impact of having to leave his or her job.”

Supporters are hopeful that every state will eventually offer streamlined options to spouses as they PCS.

“The reason this is all so important, and has such an impact, is to help these military spouses make their careers portable and transfer their licenses across state lines,” Golden said. “And, at the rate spouses are moving on mandated government moves, this helps mitigate their cost.”

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