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Building Job Skills and Funding Your Portable Career

Military spouse

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.

FlexJobs for Spouses

Find a job that fits your MilLife with a free one-year membership to FlexJobs, a leading career site featuring flexible and remote job openings.

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 include 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 Small Business Administration website.

Is there funding for building my portable career?

The My Career Advancement Account Scholarship is a workforce development program that provides eligible military spouses with up to $4,000 in financial assistance for the pursuit or maintenance, including continuing education courses, of a license, certification or associate degree necessary to gain employment in an occupation or career field. Spouses can also use funds for national tests to earn course credits required for the degree approved under the program, including the College Level Examination Program tests.

The MyCAA Scholarship

MyCAA pay grade eligibility has now expanded to E-1 through E-6, W-1 through W-2 and O-1 through O-3.

  • 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.

In some cases, your license may not transfer to a new state. If you move within the United States or OCONUS to stateside due to a permanent change of station and pursue the same licensure or certification in your new location, you can apply for up to $1,000 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 approximately 300 partners who 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.
Career Field Description
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
Mortuary Science
Sales Manager

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 career coaches are also ready to assist you in all areas of your career and education. Call 800-342-9647 or visit the MySECO website for additional information.

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