State Licensing and Career Credentials Initiative

As you begin to explore your education and career path and find that you are interested in a career that requires a license or certificate, you may be wondering how relocating with your military spouse will affect your employability as you move from state to state.

Many occupations require a state license, often with state-specific conditions and processes, which can cause lengthy re-employment delays when you move between states. In the past, because of these delays and the expense for re-licensure, many spouses decided not to continue in their professions. Now, those delays and expenses are becoming a thing of the past. First Lady Michelle Obama and the nation's governors are taking action to streamline state licensing for service members, veterans and their spouses by the end of 2015. Streamlining state licensing procedures and increasing license portability can ease some challenges facing military spouses.

New options for licensure and certifications

The Department of Defense, along with state legislators and officials, have developed three options to advance the transfer of licenses that are in good standing and equal in scope from one state to another. The options include:

  • Licensure through endorsement. This option allows spouses to show competency in their occupation through completion of continuing education units or through recent work experience – full-time, part-time or volunteer – for at least two of the five years before the date of the application for new employment. To date, 27 states have passed legislation supporting this option, and 8 states have active bills.
  • Temporary licensure. Many states give temporary licenses that allow a spouse to work while completing the new state's requirements or while waiting for proof of a current license, certification or employment history for an endorsement. To date, 30 states have passed legislation supporting temporary licensure, and 9 states have active bills.
  • Expedited processes for issuing licenses. Some states have procedures to approve a license based on an application certified by affidavit, a sworn statement, as being correct and verified. Other states allow the director of the overseeing agency to approve applications on behalf of the licensing boards. In Utah, military spouses may work using their current out-of-state licenses for the length of their service member's assignment. To date, 22 states have established processes that fast-track licensure, and 9 states have active bills.

By the end of April 2013, 36 states had reduced the time needed for a spouse to transfer a current license when entering a state. These efforts do not affect the licensing standards of the state, and military spouses are required to qualify fully within their occupations.

If you would like to know more about the state licensing and career credentials initiative, or if you are interested in knowing the issue status of your state or the state where you will relocate, visit USA4MilitaryFamilies for the latest information on this important initiative.

Licensed occupations

After reading the beginning of this article, you may be curious about what occupations require a license or certification. If you have a particular career in mind, you can visit the CareerOneStop Licensed Occupations page for an index of states and occupations that require a license or certification. You will also find a description of the occupation, the name and address of the licensing authority and an explanation of the types of licenses within that occupation. Just a few of the many occupations requiring licensing or certifications include:

  • Health care
  • Education
  • Cosmetology
  • Real estate
  • Child care provider
  • Food services
  • Health and fitness services

Check out CareerOneStop for a full list of occupations by state.

Making education and career choices involves research and planning, so be sure to use all the tools and resources available to you from Spouse Education and Career Opportunities. Visit MySECO through Military OneSource to learn about career exploration, education and training, employment readiness and career connections. You can also call Military OneSource at 800-342-9647 to speak to a career counselor. Start building a bright future for you and your family with SECO.


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