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Portable Careers for Military Spouses


One of the challenges military spouses face during relocation is finding employment in their area of training, education or interest. Thankfully, portable career options have increased due to new technologies like voice over IP, virtual meeting spaces and high speed Internet.

Spouses can now pursue their personal and professional goals in a variety of portable occupations. Listed below are just some of the possibilities:

  • accounting
  • customer service/ support
  • sales
  • technical service
  • transcription
  • fundraising
  • grant writing
  • editorial and content writing
  • marketing
  • creative services
  • web design
  • programming
  • social media
  • public relations

Consider these tips and suggestions as you pursue your goal of building a portable career:

Plan ahead

Plan ahead and build a career that will move with you. Investigate opportunities in high growth, high demand fields that won’t limit your job market or your career progression as you relocate.

Review the Industry Competency Models to learn more about the foundational and technical skills and competencies critical for success in a variety of industry sectors.

Find a wealth of information on occupation groups, available positions, educational requirements, salary ranges and growth sectors in the Occupational Outlook Handbook.

Develop portable skills

Skills used in different types of positions or occupations are considered portable. Examples of portable skills include management, technology, organizational and communication.

Skills related to your talents and interests can also be portable. Photography, culinary arts or interior design are examples. Developing skills used in positions and locations anywhere are a huge plus to finding employment and building a portable career.

Consider independent contracting

Freedom and flexibility are often important to military spouses and choosing to work as an independent contractor, also known as consultant, freelance or self-employed, allows you to set your own hours and work for yourself. Independent contracting isn’t for everyone, so do your homework before you decide to pursue this direction.

Examples of independent contracting positions include trade show or product presenter, online tutor, application developer, virtual assistant, fitness instructor, technical support, researcher and website design/ development.

Investigate self-employment or independent contracting by visiting the U.S. Small Business Association website.

Search for Portable Jobs

The Military Spouse Employment Partnership website lists open positions available from 162 MSEP employment partners all focused on offering portable career opportunities to transitioning military spouses. A number of MSEP partners offer virtual jobs in customer service, legal, accounting, counseling and a range of other positions. Others have facilities across the country making it easier to continue your career path with the same organization as you transfer to new locations.

Visit the Military Spouse Employment Partnership website to learn more about partners and available jobs. Make sure to identify yourself as a military spouse when you apply for a position with a MSEP partner company, either in your cover letter or when you’re asked where you heard about the position.

Take control of your career by planning ahead, developing portable skills and utilizing resources like the SBA, MSEP and your family readiness and education center on your installation.

Spouse Education and Career Opportunities counselors are also ready to assist you in all areas of career exploration, education and training, career readiness and career connections. Call 800-342-9647, or visit the Military OneSource/SECO website for additional information.


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