In October 2018, there were over 630,000 military spouses in the United States.  Compared to civilians, military spouses are 10 times more likely to have moved to a new state lines in the last year due to military relocation.  For those who work in licensed occupations it can be time-consuming and costly to obtain licensure in a new state.

These difficulties contribute to employment gaps and underemployment within military families, which can lead to additional stress and financial strain that could also impact military spouses’ health and well-being, as well as service members’ military readiness.

In recent years, most states have passed laws creating streamlined license recognition options for military spouses.  The U.S. Department of Labor has created resources to help military spouses, organizations that support military spouses, and state agencies and licensing boards understand and take advantage of these laws.

Resources for Military Spouses, American Job Center Staff, and Organizations that Support Spouses

Military Spouse Interstate License Recognition Map

Many states have laws to make it easier for military spouses relocating from out-of-state to carry their occupational licenses to a new state.  Use the map and license finder tool on this page to learn about these state laws and find out where to apply for an occupational license in a new state.


License Recognition for Military Spouses – A Resource Guide
The Resource Guide explains how many states now have laws in place that require or encourage licensing boards to grant military spouses expedited applications, temporary licenses, or license recognition. The Guide outlines four steps that guides military spouses working in licensed occupations through the process of transferring and gaining recognition for their license. Also included are tips for spouses on what to say when talking to the licensing board.


Military Spouse License Recognition Resources

Most states have passed laws creating license recognition options for military spouses looking to practice their occupation in another state.  The impact of these laws depends on the extent of how the laws are implemented and operationalized by state agencies and licensing bodies.  Participants learned about promising practices from states that are working to make the occupational license recognition process easy to navigate for military spouses.


Women’s Bureau – Meeting in a Box
The Women's Bureau at the U.S. Department of Labor provides assistance to support employment opportunities for military spouses. To help you better communicate about this important issue, we have created Meeting in a Box. The Meeting in a Box is a communication resource that includes a presentation slide deck with notes, a fact sheet, and talking points. The resource provides information to use in meetings, speeches, or incorporate important messages in a presentation. These tools can be used as stand-alone pieces, or in combination, depending on the audience and setting.