10 Great Jobs for Military Spouses

Great Jobs for Military Spouses - featured image

In a 2020 Blue Star Families survey, more than half of the military spouses surveyed reported negative effects on their employment because of their service members’ military service. With frequent relocations, unpredictable deployment schedules, and balancing family and career responsibilities, job uncertainty and the financial issues that come with it are major stressors among military couples. 

Fortunately, these challenges can be overcome, and you, a military spouse, can establish and enjoy a rewarding career! The trick is in choosing the right job and industry that will align with your education and training, personal interests and professional goals, and lifestyle.

Great Jobs for Military Spouses - fact

What Makes for the Best Jobs for Military Spouses?

The best job for you isn’t the best for others. You must always carefully consider your unique talents, skills and circumstances when planning your professional career. You should also take into account the additional education and training that the jobs and industry you’re interested in require among prospective employees. 

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For this reason, you should be aware of the best schools for military spouses, too, particularly if the industry requires continuous professional development. These schools generally offer online programs and courses, which enable military spouses to learn anytime, anywhere, with a stable Internet connection, as well as provide student support and career development services for online students.

The best schools also participate in the Yellow Ribbon program and, in many cases, maintain dedicated offices that provide student assistance services for active-duty military or veterans and their spouses and dependents. 

With that said, here are the main characteristics that make the best jobs for military spouses. 

Portable jobs

These are jobs that can be seamlessly transitioned from one location to the next and, thus, allow for continuity in your resume and career development. The best examples are in the healthcare professions, such as nurses and doctors, since most places usually have hospitals and other healthcare facilities.

Work-from-home and remote work

Online work can be performed regardless of your location for as long as there’s a fast and stable Internet connection. Examples include web design and development, academic writing and ghostwriting gigs, and blogging and vlogging.

Optimized use of skills

Military spouses have unique strengths that many employers and industries value! These traits include resilience and adaptability, cross-cultural competence, resourcefulness and time management, and networking skills. Jobs that maximize these transferable skills – after all, most technical skills can be learned on the job – are excellent choices for military spouses. Examples include customer service representatives, sales representatives, and insurance agents – and many of these are portable jobs, too.

Flexibility in work hours

Part-time jobs and jobs with flexible schedules are also great choices for military spouses because these allow for greater flexibility. You can meet your family obligations and even your commitments as a military spouse in your local community with more time.

What Effective Strategies Can Military Spouses Adopt for a Successful Career?

At first, you will find it a challenge to establish a successful career while balancing your personal and professional responsibilities. But it’s possible with patience and perseverance – and a strong support network consisting of your spouse, family, and friends! Even the military offers a helping hand for military spouses. 

  • Build your personal brand on social media, focusing on LinkedIn and other similar platforms. This is true when building your portfolio and reputation on remote work platforms like Outsourcely, Jobspresso, and Pangian.
  • Earn transferable and stackable professional certifications that are recognized across different industries and locations. Be sure to look into the Military Spouse License Recognition program since it facilitates license transfer between states for certain professions. The healthcare, education services, and computer and information technology industries are excellent choices in this regard.
  • Maximize your remote education and training opportunities. You should be aware of reskilling and upskilling opportunities that will increase your employability regardless of your location.
  • Build and maximize your network by using connections within the military community, attending networking events, and joining online networks. The more expansive your network, the more people you can ask for career support and job referrals.
  • Take advantage of military-specific and community resources for job placement services, career counseling, and financial services. The Chamber of Commerce Foundation – Hiring Our Heroes, the Department of Defense’s Military Spouse Employment Partnership (MSEP), and the American Corporate Partners are excellent resources.
  • Consider entrepreneurial ventures that can be transferred anywhere, such as an online business. You will find plenty of business-related support for military families, such as the military-specific Small Business Administration (SBA) programs. 

By adopting the strategies above, you can build a rewarding career regardless of the challenges that come your way! 

Excellent Jobs for Military Spouses

The following ten career industries are based on the list created by the Navy Federal Credit Union (NFCU) and Hire Heroes USA. We provided examples of jobs within these industries that allow flexible schedules, remote work, competitive pay, and career progression. We chose to highlight industries because it’s an excellent idea to explore diverse job opportunities in your preferred industry.

Government and Public Administration Occupations

Many of the jobs in government and public administration provided job security, workplace transfers, and competitive pay – workers earn $70,495 in average annual salary. Jobs in the industry also have a clear career progression, usually with excellent job performance and professional development, which contributes to effective career planning. Indeed, military spouses with security of tenure can advance in their careers and be in public service until their retirement. 

There’s also the fact that the military establishment and its allied organizations require civilian employees! You and your spouse on active duty can plan dual careers, such as being relocated together from one base to the next. Many jobs can also be done remotely. 

Examples include: 

  • Administrative assistants and officers 
  • Budget analysts 
  • Planning assistants and managers  

Again, look into civilian jobs in the military.

Business and Human Resources Management Occupations

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics is seeing a faster-than-average growth rate of overall employment in business and human resources management occupations. The median annual wages for these occupations range between $64,240 and $76,850 (May 2022), meaning these jobs offer competitive wages for bachelor’s degree holders. 

Depending on the industry and employer, you can enjoy flexible hours, work-from-home and remote work arrangements, and career progression in business and human resources management occupations. 

  • Accountants and auditors 
  • Budget analysts 
  • Compensation and benefits managers 
  • Claims adjusters, examiners, and appraisers 
  • Human resources development specialists and managers 
  • Business managers and supervisors 

If you’re interested in business management but frequent relocations get in the way, you can create an online business that can be conducted anywhere, too. Drop shipping, selling your artwork, craft products, or clothing line, and curating subscription boxes are viable online business ideas.

Healthcare and Social Assistance Services Occupations

The occupations in these industries are well-paid, with the median annual wages for healthcare practitioners at $77,760 for technical occupations and $49,380 for community and social service occupations. Many of them require at least a bachelor’s degree, but a lot can also be enjoyed with an associate degree or professional certifications. 

Plus, these occupations feature transferable credentials, meaning multiple states, industries and employers accept certain professional credentials without additional requirements. Even with additional regulatory requirements, these are fairly easy to comply with. 

Examples of well-paying occupations with transferable and stackable credentials: 

  • Nurses and nursing assistants 
  • Physicians and surgeons 
  • Dentists, dental hygienists, and dental assistants 
  • Social workers 
  • Community development workers and aides 

Note, too, that many healthcare jobs can be done remotely, such as medical transcriptionists, telephone triage nurses, and medical billers.

Educational Services Occupations

The educational services sector consists of institutions that provide education and training in diverse subjects. K-12 schools, colleges and universities, and training establishments. Here, military spouses can find plenty of job opportunities suitable for their unique challenges, from in-person classroom and online teachers to private tutors. You can even combine roles for maximum income, such as being an online instructor in college math and a private math tutor. 

Being a licensed teacher also has its transferability benefits in terms of being able to practice in multiple states. If you’re licensed in a state with a license reciprocity agreement with another state, then you can practice in both states. The NASDTEC or National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education & Certification is an excellent example of state reciprocity, with Alabama, California, and Connecticut being among its members. 

Even in states where additional requirements are necessary, such as New York, New Mexico, and Wisconsin, the licensing requirements are fairly easy to comply with. 

Examples of educational services jobs suitable for military spouses: 

  • K-12 teachers 
  • Adult learning teachers 
  • ESL teachers 
  • Career and technical education teachers

Think about being in the library-related occupations, too.

Computer and Information Technology Occupations

In the Digital Age, there’s always a high demand for competent computer and information technology professionals! Their professional credentials, from bachelor’s degrees to specialist certifications, are usually recognized across the country and industries. This is particularly true for third-party certifications, such as Certified Data Privacy Solutions Engineer, Certified Cloud Security Professional, and Certified Ethical Hacker. 

Plus, computer and technology occupations are among the highest-paid workers, with a median annual wage of $100,530 (May 2022) and a faster-than-average projected growth rate in overall employment. Many, if not most, of these jobs can be done remotely since these are tied to information technology, too. You can also easily change locations with many of these jobs, meaning frequent relocations aren’t such a headache anymore. 

Examples of military-suitable jobs in the computer and information technology sector are: 

  • Computer programmers 
  • Computer support specialists 
  • Software developers  
  • Web designers and developers

Financial Services Occupations

The beauty of being in the financial services sector is the transferability of credentials, the high demand for finance professionals, and the flexible schedules and remote work opportunities. Military spouses concerned about frequent relocations can find rewarding employment in a wide range of workplaces, from banks, credit unions, and finance institutions to real estate companies. You can even establish your own finance services business, such as an online blog about personal finances. 

Examples of finance services jobs that with portability, flexibility in schedule and workplace, and maximum use of soft skills: 

  • Personal finance advisors 
  • Financial analysts 
  • Insurance agents 
  • Real estate brokers and sales agents 

Military spouses, with their extensive network and excellent networking skills, will also find these jobs rewarding.

Defense Contracting

According to federal regulations, defense contractors are individuals, among other legal non-federal entities, that enter into direct contracts with the Department of Defense for the supply of products, services and construction. With their extensive contacts in the military combined with their insider knowledge of the military and its workings, military spouses are in the best position to become defense contractors. 

Of course, there are challenges in defense contracting, but the trick is in starting the process and learning as you go along. Start by knowing the registration process at MySECO, talking with your network of contacts, and determining your niche. Note, too, that under the current regulations, veteran-owned businesses are given priority in defense contracting bids.

Community-based Services Occupations

Professionals in community-based services occupations are the cornerstones of rural and urban communities, as well as work in diverse settings. Schools, government agencies, medical and healthcare facilities, and nonprofit organizations are just a few of their common workplaces. Their importance lies in their significant contributions toward the improvement of a community’s overall health in general and the well-being of individuals in particular. 

Depending on their job title, community-based services workers assist individuals and groups in navigating their careers, resolving family and marriage conflicts, overcoming substance addiction issues, and improving their lives. Many also work with students to overcome their academic issues and personal challenges. 

Military spouses, with their soft skills in communication, collaboration and compassion, are well-situated for community-based services occupations like: 

  • Social workers 
  • Substance abuse counselors 
  • School counselors 
  • Child welfare social workers 
  • Family and marriage therapists 
  • Career counselors 
  • Social and human service assistants

Many of these jobs can also be conducted online, such as online consultations. Most of these jobs also have transferable credentials between states, meaning smoother job placements and transitions between relocations. Professions with license portability include social work, substance abuse counseling, and family and marriage therapy.

Retail and Customer Services Occupations

With digital technology, many retail and customer service occupations can be done remotely, too. Military spouses like yourself can then work from their homes, achieve a better balance between family and work commitments, and deal with less relocation-related job stress (e.g., displacement). 

Your unique strengths as a result of being a military spouse can also be used for career success in the retail and customer services sector. Your communication and collaboration skills, extensive network and networking skills, and resilience and resourcefulness are valued in jobs like: 

  • Customer service representatives 
  • Retail sales agents 

These two jobs can also be done remotely! Customer service representatives work from their homes and take calls from across the country, even worldwide. Retail sales agents can also sell products and services from their homes.

Manufacturing Occupations

Manufacturing jobs are diverse in terms of their education, training and work experience requirements, but most occupations offer competitive pay, flexible hours, and portable credentials. Welders, machinists, and production managers are common jobs in the manufacturing sector, and their education requirements range from practical training to college degrees. 

The best things about manufacturing occupations are that their credentials are portable and that these can be performed in your home. For example, you can make and sell cakes as a homemade business, or you can work as a welder across several states (i.e., welding certifications are multi-state credentials).

Frequently Asked Questions

Do employers value the unique skills and experiences of military spouses?

Yes, they do! You should highlight these transferable skills on your cover letter, resume and interviews to increase your chances of being hired. 

What in-demand skills should military spouses develop?

We suggest the following technical and transferable skills suitable for the 21st-century workplace: 

  • Communication and collaboration skills
  • Leadership and teamwork skills 
  • Project management skills, both for in-person and online purposes 
  • Digital skills, such as the use of Microsoft 365, emailing and collaboration software

What are the financial assistance programs for education and training purposes specifically for military spouses?

Military spouses can look into these military-specific scholarship programs: 

  • Post 9/11 GI Bill transferability
  • My Career Advancement Account (MyCAA) program 
  • Survivors’ and Dependents’ Education Assistance Program
  • Marine GySgt John D. Fry Scholarship Program

What can you do to address resume gaps due to frequent relocations?

  • Highlight your relevant skills and achievements through a skills-based resume. 
  • Emphasize your freelance projects, community work, and volunteer work during the employment gaps. 
  • Explain the gaps in your cover letter and focus on the skills you learned during these times.

What are the career counseling services for military spouses?

Look into mental health resources offered by the military, such as the Military Family Life Counselors, and the career counseling services offered by military-specific communities and official foundations. 

Sources: 

LinkedIn
Purdue University Global
Military.com
Navy Federal Credit Union
Data USA
Bureau of Labor Statistics
Military Time
Military OneSource