Building Job Skills and Funding Your Portable Career
How can you make your military spouse career "more portable"? By making sure you have the skills, training, licenses, degrees and certifications that employers want in high-growth, high-demand fields and occupations.
Your military support community, including the SECO program, can help with education and career guidance, and financial assistance for eligible spouses.
- The MyCAA Scholarship Program provides up to $4,000.
- Spouses who move due to a PCS can apply for up to $500 in reimbursement of relicensure or certification fees from their service branch.
- Search for financial assistance resources and career development opportunities offered specifically to military spouses and family members.
What are "portable" careers?
A portable career is one that employers value, with skills that are in demand and move easily with you. These skills:
- Can be used across various positions or certain occupations like management, technology, organizational and communication.
- Include talents and interests that you can use anywhere, such as photography, culinary arts or interior design.
- Can involve independent contracting positions, such as consultants, freelancers or self-employment careers. Examples: online tutor, application developer, virtual assistant, fitness instructor, technical support, researcher and website design/development.
How can I discover what skills are needed in different fields?
These places offer a great start:
- Review the Industry Competency Models at CareerOneStop to learn more about the skills and competencies critical for success in various industry sectors.
- Learn about the different occupation groups, available positions, educational requirements, salary ranges and growth sectors in the Occupational Outlook Handbook.
- Investigate self-employment or independent contracting by visiting the U.S. Small Business Association website.
Is there funding for building my portable career?
The My Career Advancement Account Scholarship is a workforce development program that provides up to $4,000 of assistance to eligible military spouses who are pursuing a license, certification or associate degree in a portable career field and occupation.
- Spouses may use their MyCAA funds at any academic institution approved for participation in the MyCAA Scholarship.
- You can learn more about whether you're eligible and other details at MyCAA Scholarship Program.
- See the chart and the end of this article for some of the fields where you can use your grant.
In some cases, your license may not transfer to a new state. If you move due to a permanent change of station and pursue the same licensure or certification in your new location, you can apply for up to $500 in reimbursement of relicensure or certification fees from your service branch.
Where can I find open positions in portable careers?
The Military Spouse Employment Partnership website lists open positions available from 300 employers that focus on portable career opportunities for spouses.
- A number of these 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.
- The advanced search lets you review jobs by installation, company, industry, location, job type and more.
What sort of careers can I use my scholarship account for?
|Aerospace||If you have a passion for flying or working with aircraft, then an occupation in the aerospace career field could be for you.|
|Animal Services||This growing and rewarding career will give you the training necessary to work in areas such as animal hospitals, grooming and training centers and animal control.|
|Automotive Services & Transportation||The transportation industry requires drivers and operators, dispatchers, attendants, mechanics and engineers to keep things moving safely and affordably.|
|Business, Finance and Administration||Business and management consulting firms influence how businesses, governments, and institutions make decisions. These firms offer their clients expertise, information, contacts and tools.|
|Construction||Contractors use high-tech tools and machinery to build highly sophisticated facilities such as hospitals, laboratories, skyscrapers and dams. Careers include architects, carpenters, painters, electricians, HVAC repair and civil engineers.|
|Education||The educational services industry includes academic education, vocational or career and technical instruction, and other education and training. Teaching positions, which constitute almost half of all educational services jobs, require at least a bachelor's degree, and some require a master's or doctoral degree.|
|Health & Human Services||The health care industry administers care around the clock responding to the needs of millions of people. Most workers’ jobs require less than four years of college education, with diagnosing and treating practitioners among the most educated.|
|Homeland Security||People's lives often depend on the quick and competent care of emergency medical technicians (EMTs), paramedics, police officers and firefighters. Emergency dispatchers schedule and dispatch workers, equipment or service vehicles to carry materials or passengers|
|Hospitality||Hospitality is a thriving industry, caring for business travelers and vacationers, offering both accommodations and dining. Hotels, resorts and casinos are destinations in themselves requiring talented staff and management.|
|Information Technology||All organizations today rely on computer and information technology. The computer systems design and related services industry helps them meet their specialized needs and is expected to experience rapid growth.|
|Legal||While lawyers assume ultimate responsibility for legal work, they often delegate many of their tasks to paralegals. Paralegals — also called legal assistants — continue to assume a growing range of tasks in legal offices.|
|Skilled Trades||Trades such as these are particularly important to areas that are growing in population, require certification or other credentials, and provide the portability necessary for frequent relocations:
Aesthetician or Cosmetologist
Journalist, Writer/Editor, Photographer
Take control of your career by planning ahead, developing portable skills and using resources at your family readiness and education center on your installation.
Spouse Education and Career Opportunities coaches 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.