Military Spouse License Portability Update

Military Spouse License Portability Update

How would you feel if you had busted your behind for YEARS pursuing your education, only to be told you would need to do several steps over after each and every PCS move?

Having to repeat all those clinical hours you did in nursing school…

All those supervision hours to get licensed as a mental health counselor…

All that time spent apprenticing at some obscure beauty salon just so you can practice your craft legally in the state your service member is stationed at…

You’ll likely not feel very good about it. In fact, you’d probably be downright PISSED about it…as you SHOULD be! Unfortunately, tens of thousands of military spouses just like you are going through this right now…and they have been for generations.

As most of you know, the military spouse community is overwhelmingly made up of females, (not to discount our male military spouses…they aren’t exempt from career hazards of military life either).

However, our country has been standing at the crossroads of the female career scene for quite a while…far too long, if you ask me.

Especially since any progress that was made towards closing the gender pay gap back in the 80’s and 90’s has slowed significantly in recent years…we (women) are still getting docked $.80 for every dollar made by our male counterparts, according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.

My point is this: It’s hard enough for us to maintain a dual-income household when living the military life. We don’t need the added nonsense of not being able to actually use the education we busted our a$$ to get. That ‘ish inevitably ends up hurting our overall earning potential MORE than the stupid gender pay gap. It just ends up being a “double whammy” for military spouses like you and me.

License Finder

The Department of Labor (DOL) launched a portal giving military spouses info on state specific efforts to help ease military spouse license portability and credentialing process after PCS Moves. In May, President Trump released the Executive Order Enhancing Noncompetitive Civil Service Appointments of Military Spouses, and the DOL’s Veteran Employment Training Service (VETS) followed up by creating this new website designed specifically to ease the licensing burdens as we move from state to state.

The site boasts an interactive map to help you search for licensing and credentialing requirement by state. All you need to do is hover over the map to determine your license transfer options and find out which states have adopted licensing rights for military spouses on the move.


If you’re interested in seeing how the sausage is made, check out the Defense State Liason’s Office efforts at USA4MilitaryFamilies. Here you’ll also find a map showing the status of each state’s legislative progress towards easing license portability requirements through reciprocity, grace periods and transferability.

However, back in December of 2017, the DSLO commissioned a report to exam the status of the portability issue. The findings weren’t so encouraging. To date, 46 states have enacted legislation specific to licensing and credentialing for military spouses. While this is encouraging, unfortunately, the language used in each state doesn’t match up across state lines.

And while each state did have license and credentialing webpages, none of them had language on them that was specific to transferring military spouses…which is needed because our situations are very unique and very specific. We can’t just fall under a one-size-fits-all framework. We’re special!

Several recommendations were made in this report; one of them being to increase the prominence of information on websites about accommodations for military spouses. The launch of DOL’s new military spouse specific website just might help with that, but it’s still too early to tell.

Have you experienced issues transferring your professional license or certification across state lines? We want to hear your story! The more stories there are, the more lawmakers will see what it’s really like to live in the shoes of a military family. We might not always be residents of their state, but we’re on their turf and they need to hear about what’s working and what isn’t, so don’t be afraid to use your voice and story to educate them!

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