Tips to Overcoming Career Challenges for Military Spouses

woman at laptopIf your spouse is in the military, you are more than familiar with the unique challenges frequent moves place on establishing and maintaining a successful career. You are not alone.

According to the Military Spouse Employment Report, overall, military spouses are more often underemployed or unemployed, earn less income, and have less career advancement than their civilian counterparts—despite possessing more advanced education. But don’t be discouraged!. We’ve put together a few ideas to help have a satisfying career as a military spouse.

Work remotely
If you’re in a job that you already love, you may not have to leave it behind with the next move. Skype, Google Hangouts, screen share programs, and video conferencing tools make working remotely an effective and viable option for many fields.

Before you ask your employer if working remotely could work for your position, create a formal proposal outlining your plan. Include how you would connect with your team, stay accountable for your work, manage meetings, etc. Don’t forget to emphasize how valuable you are to the company and how you can continue to contribute from a remote work environment.

Choose a new career that fits your lifestyle
This could be your chance to start a new, exciting career! Many careers are mobile or allow you to work from home, keeping your career safe from frequent moves.

When applying for a new job, look for careers you can do from home or those with lots of opportunities or offices nationwide. The list is expansive, so you are sure to find something that sparks your interest.

Some great work-from-home options include medical coding and billing, medical transcription, freelance writing, social media marketing, web design, cosmetology, tutoring, and more. If you have a specialized skill such as playing the piano, cooking, or speaking a foreign language, consider teaching lessons. Crafty? Start your own Etsy store or blog about DIY tips and tricks.

Need a little helping choosing a new career? Check out this video and infographic on finding the perfect military spouse career.

Get the right kind of career training
Even if quality training programs are not available in your area or a traditional classroom setting just doesn’t work with your schedule and responsibilities, you can still train for a new career. In today’s internet age, there are many quality online training options. In fact, 74% of academic leaders rank online education as on par with or better than on-campus instruction. However, it’s always important do your research! Look for these indicators of an excellent program:

Industry approved – Will you be learning what the industry values?
Graduate hire rates – Will you be able to get a job after training?
Employer relationships – Does the school have relationships you can leverage?
MyCAA approved – Is the program eligible for financial aid?
Support from instructors with industry experience – Are your instructors true experts?
Affordable – Is the return worth the investment?
Student resources – Is the school invested in helping you succeed?

For more tips, check out this infographic on choosing a great online training program.

Not only are there some great online programs available, but most of these programs can be completed at your pace—in as little as a 3 to 12 months.

For example, Brittany, a certified pharmacy technician, found the flexibility of her Career Step online training invaluable as a military spouse. In her words, “Since I was working full-time, I spent most nights studying. In the middle of the program, my husband came home from Afghanistan, and I stepped away for a month while he settled into our life again. It was great that I could jump right back into the program without having to worry about anything.”

Take advantage of military spouse financial aid
Don’t let the cost of tuition stop you from starting on the path to your successful career. There are a variety of financial aid options available for military spouses. The MyCAA funding program in particular was created especially to make career training for military spouses a little easier, and this scholarship can be applied to MyCAA-approved schools, many of which offer online programs.

Achieving and furthering a worthwhile career is not impossible, particularly with online career training and the MyCAA scholarships available for military spouses.

Are you a military spouse? What advice can you give fellow military spouses facing career challenges?

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