44 States Now Offer Military Spouse License Help



If you're a military spouse who holds a professional license, military moves are only getting easier.

That's because 44 states now offer some kind of professional licensing help, while 11 have joined the Military Spouse JD Network's (MSJDN) licensing policy push military spouse attorneys.

New York in August became the latest to join the list of the states that offer relief in military spouse license transfer. New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed legislation Aug. 18 that made a variety of changes to how the state treats military personnel and their families, including easing license requirements for military spouses in some professions, allowing in-state tuition for all GI Bill users and making the state the final one to join the military child education inter-state compact.

How professional licenses held by military spouses are treated depends on the state. It would be nice if they were all the same, but they are not. New York's law, for example, permits is broad in who can use it, but narrow in for what they can use it. It allows the spouse, domestic partner or other member of the household of a service member to practice as a real estate broker or a real estate agent with an out of state license. And it gives them a grace period to obtain a barber, cosmetology, natural hair styling and nail specialty license if they are already licensed in another state. It doesn't ease the licensing for other professions, however, including nursing or teaching.

Other states are more lenient, while some are even more strict. Mississippi, for example, allows spouses to use outside licenses for some professions, lets them have a grace period for others and then expedites the process for the remainder. Alaska, however, only allows temporary use for my licenses and no help for speeding up getting an in-state one for flat out endorsing others.

The Defense Department employs officials through the DoD state liaison office to work with state governments on this issue and others, like providing unemployment benefits to spouses who are forced to quit their jobs because their service member receives orders to another state.

MSJDN, however, has been key in making progress towards easing the bar exam requirements in new states on military spouse attorneys. When an attorney moves he or she must take the bar exam in their new state in order to practice there. That exam costs thousands of dollars and can take months of study to pass successfully. By the time they take the test they could be getting ready to move again. However, thanks to MSJDN's work 11 states now offer some kind of reprieve. For example, New York, the latest to join the list, allows attorneys to apply for a waiver from their state bar exam and, in theory, get a job as soon as they move in.

Does the state in which you are currently living have eased licensing requirements for spouses? Have you been able to use them? Tell us your story below.


Photo courtesy of the U.S. Marine Corps. 

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