Top 10 Best Careers for Military Spouses

    Top 10 Best Careers for Military Spouses

    Military life comes with unique challenges and career opportunities that are often overlooked. Military spouses face frequent relocations, long periods of separation from their serving partner, and the difficulties of maintaining independence and purpose outside of the support role they play for their loved one in service.

    However, being a military spouse can also open doors to interesting and fulfilling career paths that are well-suited for the transient military lifestyle. In this detailed guide, we’ll explore the top 10 careers for military spouses along with information on job requirements, salaries, mobility, and growth opportunities to help you make an informed choice.

    What are the Top 10 Best Careers for Military Spouses

    1. Teacher

    Teaching remains one of the most common and practical careers for military spouses thanks to its portability and scheduling flexibility. While being a military spouse, you can teach at Department of Defense Schools located on or near many military installations worldwide.

    Requirements: Teaching positions at DoD schools typically require a bachelor’s degree and a state teaching certification/license. Some specific subject certifications may also be required depending on the grade level and subject being taught.

    Salaries: Starting salaries for DoD school teachers range from $35k to $45k on average depending on location, education level, and years of experience. Salaries can grow up to $70k-80k for senior/lead teachers.

    Mobility: Teaching credentials transfer easily between states which makes this career highly portable for following service members on PCS moves. DoD schools aim to support continuity of education for military children.

    Growth Opportunities: DoD teachers have opportunities for leadership roles like department head, assistant principal, principal and above. You can pursue advanced degrees and specialist certifications to climb the career ladder over time.

    2. Healthcare Administration

    The military healthcare system employs many administrators, managers and clinical support staff to run medical treatment facilities (MTFs) on bases worldwide. Some key healthcare administration roles suitable for military spouses include:

    Medical Records and Health Information Technician: Maintain and organize patient health records either electronically or physically. Bachelor’s preferred but associate’s sufficient. Starting pay $35k-$45k.

    Patient Services Representative: Manage front office operations, patient check-ins/check-outs, and medical billing/coding. High school diploma or equivalent, on-the-job training provided. $28k-$36k starting salary.

    Practice Administrator: Oversee daily operations of a medical practice like a clinic. Bachelor’s degree required, some roles prefer experience or master’s. Starting pay $45k-$55k.

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    All these roles are stable careers that allow you to work in military hospitals near your spouse’s duty station anywhere in the world. Specialized credentials or military experience may also help career progression in these fields.

    3. Federal Government Work

    Civil service jobs at federal agencies employ spouses of active-duty service members on many military bases worldwide. Some good options within the federal sector worth exploring include:

    Military Personnel Clerk: Maintain personnel records, process paperwork like travel orders and awards. High school diploma, associate’s preferred. $28k-$38k starting pay.

    Logistics Management Specialist: Procure supplies, inventory management, coordinate transportation of goods. Bachelor’s degree required. $45k-$55k average starting salary.

    Social Services Assistant: Provide support in areas like crisis counseling, substance abuse prevention, domestic abuse programs. Bachelor’s in social services field required. Starting pay $38k-$48k.

    Federal jobs tend to offer stable benefits, relocation allowances, and pension plans along with flexible scheduling options ideal for military spouses. Relocation to follow spouse is generally supported, helping you to stay employed worldwide.

    4. Counseling/Social Work

    Serving military families can benefit greatly from support roles tailored to the unique struggles they face like deployments, transition, mental health issues and more. Mental healthcare professions directly serve this need:

    Marriage and Family Therapist: Master’s degree required, licenses mandatory in some states. Experience working with military families a plus. Average starting pay $45k-$55k.

    Clinical Social Worker: Master’s in social work, licensing/ certification required. Clinical experience preferred. Starting salary range $45k-$55k typically.

    School Counselor: Minimum of a master’s in school counseling, licensure/certification. Help students with social/emotional development, academic advising. Average starting pay $45k-$55k.

    All these roles offer flexible work arrangements suitable for spouses accompanying soldiers abroad. Telehealth is also enabling remote counseling in some cases. Supporting the well-being of military families can be personally fulfilling.

    5. Nursing

    Nursing remains a reliable career field for military spouses worldwide with excellent salary and growth prospects. Nurses are in high demand universally including at military medical facilities abroad:

    Registered Nurse (RN): Associate’s or bachelor’s in nursing required, state licensing. Starting pay depends on experience but ranges between $55k-$68k on average.

    Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN): One-year certificate or associate’s degree. Licensing requirements vary by state. Average starting pay $45k-$53k.

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    All levels of nursing – from LPN to advanced practice roles like Nurse Practitioner – are portable careers ideally suited to accompany military families worldwide. Experience in areas such as emergency rooms or operating theaters is valued.

    6. Education Administration

    Military families rely on the network of DoD-run schools for quality education abroad. Supporting roles in education administration help orchestrate this important function:

    School Administrator: Principal, vice principal, director etc. Minimum of a master’s degree in education leadership or related field. Average starting salary $62k-$72k.

    Education Program Specialist: Assists with curriculum development, accreditation, policy planning etc. Bachelor’s degree required. Starting pay $45k-$55k typically.

    Guidance Counselor: Help students with college/career planning, course registration. Master’s in school counseling required. Starting salary around $48k-$58k on average.

    Administration roles offer stable careers that support educational continuity for military children worldwide. Leadership opportunities exist at all levels over the long term.

    7. Business Ownership

    Being your own boss through self-employment suits the military lifestyle by offering flexibility and portability to tag along with spouses wherever duty calls. Some business ideas well-suited to launch from abroad include:

    • Freelance Writing/Content Creation
    • Online Consulting/Coaching
    • Virtual Bookkeeping/Accounting
    • Product/Service Dropshipping
    • Independent Programming/Web Development
    • Online Retail Store through E-commerce
    • Editing/Transcription Services
    • Tuition/Test Prep Teaching

    With the right idea and work ethic, self-employment gives you complete autonomy over schedules to balance career and frequent relocations.

    8. Information Technology

    IT skills allow for in-demand work from just about anywhere due to the digital nature of jobs. Certification-based roles suit military spouses with transferable skills and short training timelines. Some entry-level options:

    Help Desk Technician: Troubleshoot software/hardware issues over phone, provide tier-1 support. A+ certification sufficient. Starting salary ~$32k-$40k average.

    Network Support Specialist: Maintain network infrastructure, install/configure hardware-software. CCENT/CCNA certifications required. $38k-$45k starting pay.

    Web/Multimedia Designer: Create websites, graphics and multimedia content. Portfolio and relevant certificates. $35k-$42k starting salary.

    IT offers stable career paths with growth into higher roles over time. Experience at military bases helps future employment worldwide via telework.

    9. Child Development

    Serving families need quality childcare; whether on installations or through home-based daycares and nannying abroad. Childcare professions provide meaningful work supporting deployment cycles:

    Child Care Provider: Operate in-home daycare with state certification/license. Education level can vary, on-job experience matters most. Average pay $25k-$35k.

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    Teacher’s Aide: Assist lead teachers in a daycare/preschool setting. High school diploma or equivalent education required. $21k-$28k starting salary.

    Nanny: Provide daily childcare and light housekeeping support to military families. Experience is key, certification helps but not required. Pay $20/hr+ depending on location/experience level.

    Nurturing roles suit spouses accompanying service members worldwide while staying home with children.

    10. Event Planning/Coordination

    From onboarding briefs to formal balls and change of command ceremonies, bases and posts require events support year-round. Military-friendly roles in this field include:

    Event Coordinator: Plan all aspects of events large and small from budgets to timelines. Bachelor’s degree preferred, prior experience beneficial. Average starting salary $36k-$45k.

    Catering Manager: Oversee food preparation logistics at scale for galas, banquets, conferences. Hotel & restaurant management background desired. $42k-$52k average starting salary.

    Wedding Planner: Military couples rely on quality coordinators to plan ceremonies abroad while juggling relocation timelines. Bachelor’s not required but beneficial. Starting pay averages $30k-$38k.

    Event roles offer short training duration and flexible schedules that travel smoothly alongside families on PCS orders. Experience planning ceremonies unique to military culture stands out to employers on and off base worldwide. Networking within installation communities also creates stable long term career prospects.

    Wrapping Up

    Choosing the right career path means weighing factors like education requirements, licensing/certification needs, salary ranges, growth opportunities and above all – seamless portability abroad.

    Some pursuitable degrees are more transportable than others due to universal accreditation across state lines. For example, nursing and teaching credentials typically transfer without issues whereas state-specific careers may face occasional roadblocks.

    Short-term certification programs offer quicker workforce entry compared to 4-year degrees when ability to relocate fast matters most. Areas like IT, medical technician roles and event planning involve certifications pursued part-time while working.

    Salary expectations are also relative based on local economies at various duty stations worldwide. Careers allowing periodic advancement or supplementary income help compensate for lowered pay at remote overseas locations.

    Networking within installation communities creates awareness of your unique military spouse experience and builds rapport with in-house employers. Volunteer roles serving on base also generate career references to smoothly transfer skills between posts.


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