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The Spouse License Problem and How You Can Help

Many working military spouses (or those trying to work) know that finding a job after a move to a new state is low on the totem-pole of career problems compared to one major sticking point: landing a new professional license. Necessary? For more than 30 percent of working spouses, yes. Easy? Not always.

Unemployment – military spouse, veteran or the whole wide world’s – is a hot topic for the Obama administration. Since the professional licenses problem is the number one employment complaint they hear on bases, it’s now at the top of their military spouse to-do list. Today they are busting a move … and you can help. Here’s the deal:

When a military spouse who works in a profession that requires a professional license (like cosmetology, nursing, teaching, working as an attorney, being a real estate agent, and more) moves to a new state, chances are she will need to apply for a new license under that state’s laws, pay fees and potentially do state specific training. Since the laws surrounding these licenses are put in place by individual states, there is nothing the federal government can do to force uniform standards or make the rules change.

With a mere 11 states already on board, the White House will today release a “best practices” report that they hope will pressure remaining states into making licensing for military spouses a little easier in every state by 2014. They are asking them to either accept out-of-state licenses held by military spouses or allow spouses to operate under temporary licenses while they work towards a new, state-accepted one.

You can read all the details of the report and White House push in my Military.com story. In the meantime, the National Military Family Association is hot on the trail of this problem as well. They are working on a state-by-state basis with officials to push for the quick passage of laws that would fix the problem – but they need your help.

As part of their presentation to the states and work with the DoD, they are running a survey to get a better handle on just how many spouses have the license problem and just how much chasing down new licenses tends to cost.

Visit that survey here.

Like I mentioned above, there are 11 states that already have rules in place to help spouses. A handful also have legislation on the issue currently in the works. Curious if your state (or a state you may be moving to soon) is included, or just want to know what the rules are? DoD has a fantastic, interactive map that includes links to each states’ rules and information on any new rules in the works. Check it out here.

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