Military spouses with careers that require a professional license or certification can now get help covering the costs of transferring those credentials when they experience a permanent-change-of-station move with their service member spouse.
The 2018 National Defense Authorization Act allows each service branch to reimburse spouses up to $500 for relicensure and certification costs resulting from relocations or PCS moves that cross U.S. state lines. Spouses of both active-duty and Reserve component service members are eligible for this benefit as long as their members are serving on active duty.
Covered costs include recertification fees and exam and registration costs, along with costs associated with gathering verification documents such as transcripts, test scores, practicum hours and previously held licenses required to continue in the same profession a spouse had before moving.
"The spouse licensure reimbursement initiative seeks to assist military spouses in pursuing their career goals and helps relieve military families of this common financial burden," said James Stewart, performing the duties of the undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness. "When families PCS, the spouse may need to change jobs or careers. This is just another way for the department to support our military spouses and the readiness of our force."
Policy details and reimbursement procedures vary by service branch. Spouses are eligible for reimbursement after getting their new license or certification. Information for each service branch is available on the Military OneSource website.
Before seeking to transfer professional credentials, Defense Department officials said, military spouses should review licensing information for their new state. In some cases, states may already authorize reciprocity for certain types of occupational licenses. The Labor Department's military spouse page links to government boards and agencies for individual states and provides a license recognition guide. If the process turns out to be lengthy or costly, officials said, spouses may be eligible for unemployment compensation, and they can contact their new state's employment office for more details.
For questions on licensure or certification, spouses can call Military OneSource at 800-342-9647 to speak with a Spouse Education and Career Opportunities career coach.
The Defense Department established the Spouse Education and Career Opportunities Program to provide education and career guidance to military spouses worldwide, offering free comprehensive resources and tools related to career exploration, education, training and licensing, employment readiness, and career connections. This program also offers free career coaching services six days a week.
Military OneSource is a DOD-funded program that is both a call center and a website providing comprehensive information, resources and assistance on every aspect of military life. Service members and the families of active duty, National Guard and reserve (regardless of activation status), Coast Guard members when activated for the Navy, DOD expeditionary civilians, and survivors are eligible for Military OneSource services, which are available worldwide 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at no cost to the user.