WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — One problem military spouses face is being able to continue in their own careers, in part, because of the frequent transfers to different states. Now, a group is working to make those career transitions easier for military spouses.
Jessica Strong is a military spouse of 16 years. With a Ph.D. in social work, she initially worked in academia but as she explains, “then military relocated us to a different duty station, so I had to leave my tenure track position at the university.”
She then decided to work toward getting a clinical license to practice psychotherapy “with the goal of being a mental health practitioner with other military families and military couples.”
In Tennessee, that license required 3,000 hours of work.
“We weren’t going to be in a state long enough for me to obtain licensure in that state,” Strong said.
States often have different licensing requirements for different jobs — ranging from social workers and teachers to cosmetologists, and meeting those requirements is expensive and time-consuming.
Many states don’t recognize professional licenses that were obtained elsewhere.
Veteran Terron Sims now works with Merit — a group that’s making it their mission to make interstate moves easier on military spouses “for one person to take their skill set from one state to another without having to go through additional training,” Sims said.
To open those doors, Merit says he’s working directly with state governments to update laws as Sims explains, “to show how this isn’t going to harm what they do now, but actually will add value to their professional community.”
Sims says making those changes would help military spouses and help fill critical roles — like teachers.