Military spouses with professional licenses: we need your feedback to improve the process

Military spouses with professional licenses: we need  your feedbackWe all know it – between frequent moves, maintaining the household during a service member’s deployment, and providing strength and support to the entire family, military spouses make sacrifices every day. Their service to this country is invaluable and such an important part of the success of our military.

These sacrifices often include a spouse’s career. We often hear that many of you face career challenges due to frequent moves, especially with professions that require a license.

The National Military Family Association has worked in partnership with the Department of Defense State Liaison Office to address state licensing issues to ensure military spouses can pursue their careers regardless of the number of times they have to move. We were asked to reach out to see if state legislation has impacted your professional career in a positive way. If you have a story or experience to share, tell us the following information:

  • What is your spouse’s branch of Service?
  • What is your professional affiliation?
  • Have you applied for a license in your current state using new legislation? Which state?
  • Have you benefited from spouse licensing state legislation?
  • Was it a positive experience? If so, please tell us why!

We look forward to sharing your positive experiences with state legislators so more states can support military spouse career portability!

To obtain more information about state-specific licensing, review our 50 State Licensing Chart and see where your state stands.

22 responses to “Military spouses with professional licenses: we need your feedback to improve the process

  1. My husband is in the USAF and I am a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in Virginia. I have not yet had the opportunity to use the new legislation to my benefit, however when I learned of the change I contacted the state where we hope to move (Washington) and learned that the process would be no different for me aside from being “streamlined” and they provided no specifics about what that entailed. I was disappointed as I have spent 2 years obtaining licensure in Idaho when moving from Massachusetts and another 2 years obtaining licensure in Virginia when moving from Idaho. The process has been costly, time consuming, frustrating and discouraging. However, I look forward to where we go from here and it means a great deal that this issue is being addressed.

  2. ■What is your spouse’s branch of Service? USMC
    ■What is your professional affiliation? Attorney
    ■Have you applied for a license in your current state using new legislation? Which state? No there is no legislation in place in California and from what I can tell it does not apply to attorneys.
    ■Have you benefited from spouse licensing state legislation? Not available
    ■Was it a positive experience? If so, please tell us why! N/A

    • Hi Karen! Have you joined MSJDN? There are quite a few of us in California. Our SoCal group is having a wine tasting the 23rd. You are welcome to join us if you are in this area. Feel free to email me, marianne.gatti@gmail.com.

      Marianne

    • hi there, I saw your feedback about this and I’d like to know and hear more about your ordeal. I am a military spouse as well and I have raised this issue to the CA State Assembly. They are trying to pass the Assembly Bill 186 and I am actually doing an interview with the media in the next couple of days regarding this. Hence, I’d like to hear more about your opinion and things you want to air out. I am an RN and I have to deal with the licensing portability to the State of CA. We are in the same boat with our career hurdles.

  3. ■What is your spouse’s branch of Service? USMC
    ■What is your professional affiliation? Attorney
    ■Have you applied for a license in your current state using new legislation? Which state? No, there is no milspouse provision in CA for attorneys yet, only in Idaho, Arizona and Texas.
    ■Have you benefited from spouse licensing state legislation? No, attorneys do not fall under the Joining Forces Initiative since we are licensed by private bar associations and not by the state.
    ■Was it a positive experience? If so, please tell us why. I would love to be working, but I do not want to take yet another bar exam which is expensive for all the various parts of the application, as well as bar review classes. Also, with bar review, the exam, and the grading process, it takes 6 – 9 months at a minimum.

  4. What is your spouse’s branch of service? USAF
    What is your professional affiliation? attorney
    Have you applied for a license in your current state using new legislation? No. I live in NC and have to have practiced for 5 years to waive in. We’ve moved every two to three years, so I can’t make the requirements to waive in. Teaching law here, though, at a local community college.

  5. Alyson M. B. Schumacher

    What is your spouse’s branch of Service? USMC
    ■What is your professional affiliation? Social Worker, MSW
    ■Have you applied for a license in your current state using new legislation?
    No, I have not obtained initial Licensure becuase of diffulities early in my career networking in an effort to find reputable supervision that was mutally benificial to both myself and the supervisor. Unfortunately, after building relatiionships with professionals in the community and locating a supervisior it was time to move and I needed to start over, in another state, where I had few professional relationships, if any, at all. And so begins the searcn again. After two PCS moves, I chose to focus my energy in other ways with the hopes of returning to the licensure process once again in future. Thankfully, Social Work employment does not always require Licensing, however, I beleive the field is moving in that direction and eventually I will need to finish what I have started.
    ■Have you benefited from spouse licensing state legislation? N/A
    ■Was it a positive experience? If so, please tell us why.

  6. What is your spouse’s branch of Service? USMC
    What is your professional affiliation? Teacher, Secondary Science
    Have you applied for a license in your current state using new legislation? Which state? I have had to apply for licensure in both Washington and Oregon due to PCS moves. I was easily able to obtain temporary teaching credentials in each after paying the appropriate fees. I pursued my non-temporary license in Oregon which required several hundreds of dollars in testing fees and additional fees to apply for the non-temporary license (Initial Teaching I).
    Have you benefited from spouse licensing state legislation? This part is confusing to me because the 50 states resource list states that Oregon does not accept licenses from other states, but, they were able to issue me an 18 month temporary license using my North Carolina teaching credentials. That 18 months was to give me the time to take the proper licensing tests.
    Was it a positive experience? If so, please tell us why! Overall it would have been much more pleasant if Oregon would have accepted my NC credentials without making me jump through the hoops of taking several tests that cost approximately $400 to complete.

    • Thanks for your comments. Our 50 state licensing chart doesn’t include teachers or attorneys, but additional efforts are being made to streamline the licensing requirements for those professions. Attorneys can find additional support through the Military Spouse JD Network, and teachers can find support through through the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification. DoD is rebuilding the map and we’ll be sure to include a link on our website once it is available.

  7. I am a new realtor and after I completed my license class and exam, it STILL cost me approximately $2,000 to affiliate with a broker in this state. When we move from here, I will have to take the state portion of our new state, and pay the fees, and pay again to affiliate in the new state all over again. I figure each move will cost me about $3,000 to realistically establish myself with each move.
    I am a Navy veteran married to a Navy chief.
    I am unaware of any legislation for spouse that will help me. I was also told that the military spouse tax laws that were passed allowing me to maintain my state of legal residence will no longer apply to me because I am considered self-employed. If I am wrong, please point me in the right direction but as for now, it seems all of the legislation that has passed will not help me and other realtors (or self employed spouses) at all.

  8. ◾What is your spouse’s branch of Service? USAF
    ◾What is your professional affiliation? massage therapist
    ◾Have you applied for a license in your current state using new legislation? Which state? I have applied for a license here in North Dakota. It was expensive and extremely time consuming.
    ◾Have you benefited from spouse licensing state legislation? According to the chart posted above, North Dakota does not have any spouse licensing legislation, nor does my previous state of Idaho, at least for massage therapists. I am also self-employed which also I believe affects the tax laws for state of residence.

  9. Cassandra Belton

    Thank you so much for this opportunity to share~
    Spouse Branch of Service – United States Army
    My Profession – Special Education Teacher – (Out of State License)
    I have applied New Jersey under the new legislation.
    Most importantly, I learned about the new legislation from a career counselor within MilitaryOneSource. One I was informed, it was as my feet had hit the ground running. I was able to obtain information about the current NJ legislation for military spouses who are educators.

    In a moments notice, I connected with the New Jersey Senate Education Committee along with Senator Greenstein/Senator Beach and I was able to testify on behalf of Bill A2892 as it reads -” Allows certain military spouses with out-of-State teaching license to receive temporary instructional certificate in New Jersey.”

    As of Feb 21, 2013 the bill is at the 2nd Reading in the Senate

    The Timeline – New Jersey
    5/14/2012 Introduced, Referred to Assembly Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee
    6/14/2012 Reported out of Assembly Committee, 2nd Reading
    6/21/2012 Passed by the Assembly (78-0-0)
    6/25/2012 Received in the Senate, Referred to Senate Education Committee
    2/21/2013 Reported from Senate Committee with Amendments, 2nd Reading
    I am staying contact with the committee and with the Senators as it moves forward for the next step.
    It does look promising for this new legislation to be approved. (God Willing)

    Overall, my experience of testifying and gaining information regarding the new legislation was quite positive, insightful and empowering. I never in a million years thought I would be speaking on such an important issue.

  10. When I was in high school, I got my CNA license in MA. Fast forward, 5 years later after being a working CNA in good standing on the KY registry, I moved back to MA for just one year. When I went to transfer my licence back over to MA, I was told that because I had let the certification lapse the first time in MA, that I was unable to get the certification back without more testing which costs more money. I could not understand the logic in this…Since then my licence valid in KY expired about 2 months ago. I am now living in washington and am plannin to enquire about my options to get it reinstated this week. My hopes of an easy solition is not high.

  11. Pingback: Tips for PCSing with your professional license | Branching Out

  12. Chelsey Mahler

    What is your spouse’s branch of Service? USAF
    What is your professional affiliation? Psychologist
    Have you applied for a license in your current state using new legislation? Which state? I have not applied for a license in my current state yet. I am currently living in the state of Florida, which only allows military spouses to obtain a temporary license for one year, but only if you are working on a military base or at a VA hospital. If I were to obtain a position in my field that is outside of these settings, I would have to take the Florida state licensing exam. This is a common occurrence for many states. This can be very limiting to my career because if I decide to work anywhere else besides a military base or VA it would be more difficult, time consuming, and costly to obtain a license.
    Have you benefited from spouse licensing state legislation? No. I am still in my first year of graduate school, but I am interested to know more about how this will benefit me as a psychologist in the future when I do decide to move.

  13. Jennifer Wigginton

    What is your spouse’s branch of Service? USCG
    What is your professional affiliation? Licensed Clinical Social Worker
    Have you applied for a license in your current state using new legislation? Which state? No, my first move with the military will occur next June and I am trying to be as proactive as possible re: my license as I DO NOT want to take the exam again. Honestly, I worked my butt off (as most everyone who has commented on this site) the first time and don’t know if I can go through it again. When we are told our next state, how do I figure out the legislation re: this issue in that state?
    Have you benefited from spouse licensing state legislation? Not yet but finding this information and finding that some states have passed legislation to help make this easier has been extremely uplifting. I truly hope it will help during our transfer!

  14. I have my CNA for NC, but we are stationed in WA. We are going to PCS to Kansas but I need to use my CNA in WA and be able to use it in Kansas when we move also.. There is very little information on how to make this possible and I just need to know how to Do this or if it’s possible.

  15. ■What is your spouse’s branch of Service? United States Army
    ■What is your professional affiliation? Registered Nurse
    ■Have you applied for a license in your current state using new legislation? Which state? No. I am currently in Colorado which is a compact state however the hospital system here prefers state licensure and prefer to hire nurses that are travelers under compact. From my understanding they won’t even look at your resume unless its a Colorado license. That defeats the purpose of having a compact license if you ask me. I have been a nurse for 13 years and have never had problems securing employment until I moved to Colorado.
    ■Have you benefited from spouse licensing state legislation? I did when we were in NC. We are PCsing to Mass next and I do not see where they honor this.
    ■Was it a positive experience? If so, please tell us why. My experience in NC was a good one. I had to sigh a waiver at the hospital that I worked at and it was a smooth process. There really needs to be something that addresses this across the board. Its a bit cumbersome to have do this every time we move.

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