Military Spouses Benefit from Careers that Move

Posted By Marisa Sanfilippo on March 3, 2017 at 8:57 am
Military Spouses Benefit from Careers that Move

A recent study conducted by Blue Star Families and the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah recently found that the cost of military spouse unemployment and underemployment may be costing the nation as much as $1 billion dollars each year. That’s in part because of having to start over after frequent military moves. But careers that move with movers can help.

Some findings from the study:

  • 43 percent of military spouses are not part of the labor force, compared with 25.5 percent of civilian spouses.
  • Women represent about 90 percent of the military spouse population.
  • 38 percent of military spouses are underemployed relative to their educational level compared with 6 percent of civilian spouses.

Military spouses are in a constant state of flux. Each time they move they are forced to find a new job. Some career fields are better suited to this type of lifestyle, including direct sales, healthcare, technology, and online entrepreneurship.

Careers that move: direct sales

A report from the Direct Selling Association shows steady growth in the field of direct sales. In 2015, more than 20 million Americans were involved in direct selling, generating a total of approximately $36 billion dollars.

Most direct sales representatives are women making person-to-person transactions. The top three product groups have been wellness, services, and personal care products.

Direct Selling News listed the top companies of 2016 in North America by their 2015 revenue. The top five were:

  • Amway with $9.5 billion.
  • Avon+ with $6.16 billion.
  • Herbalife with $4.47 billion.
  • Mary Kay with $3.70 billion.
  • Tupperware with $2.28 billion.

One benefit of being in direct sales as a military spouse is the potential for new customers increases with every move. Instead of frequent moves being a career liability, it offers opportunity.

In addition to enrolling new clients, it is also possible to enroll new consultants, which is another way to increase one’s income with a direct sales company.

Consultants can keep existing clientele because orders can be placed online and shipped directly to the customer. Social media makes it easy to maintain a tribe of clients that are still able to feel connected even if their consultant moves to a different state.


To say healthcare is among careers that move is true, but there are hurdles. Working in the medical field can be complicated when one crosses state lines. Nurses who have received at least an ASN or BSN in nursing are able to take the NCLEX-RN exam, which provides certification of their skills. However, to practice in a specific state the nurse must also go through the state’s licensing procedure.

This is essentially the same for other health professionals such as doctors, dentists, dental hygienists, and physical therapists. The main difference will be in the amount of additional work required to be licensed in a new state. Military families are typically stationed in each location for a minimum of two or three years, which is enough time to meet any licensure requirements and begin working.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projected a growth of 19 percent in healthcare occupations between the years of 2014 and 2024. This career field is poised to provide ample opportunity for those who move frequently.


The field of technology has expanded rapidly over the past two decades and is expected to continue growing at a rate of 12 percent through 2024. This covers a wide variety of careers, including computer network architects, programmers, systems analysts, database administrators, information security, software developer, and web developers. All can fit into the category of careers that move.

Even in remote areas, those with experience and education in a technological field will likely be able to find work. When positions in the immediate area aren’t available, many IT professionals choose to freelance or telecommute.

“I’ve worked with graphic designers all over the globe. I think it’s important to surround yourself with the best talent, even moving to a place where the talent pool is larger,” says Justin Morgan, a dental marketing consultant.

“To be around more talent, I moved from the small town of San Luis Obispo, California all the way to Austin, Texas. What they say is true: things are bigger here in Texas, and in the web design field, that’s certainly true. There’s a plethora of talent here,” says Dan Steiner, CEO of Elite Legal Marketing. While Steiner’s home base is now Austin, he is able to run his business from anywhere in the world.

Online entrepreneurship

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development recently published Entrepreneurship at a Glance 2016 which shows a tentative rebound in the growth of entrepreneurial endeavors. The explosion of social media, decreased costs of launching a website, and the ability to target virtually any market has created a golden age of digital businesses.

While there are several degrees that can benefit those kwho now this will be part of their lifestyle, others become entrepreneurs out of a desire to create a work environment that suits their needs.

Darrius Glover, founder and CEO of Wool Fresh, cited flexibility with personal time as a driving factor but noted, “A downside to running a business remotely with remote teams is lack of interaction with others.”

A sense of isolation can be especially difficult for those who have recently relocated and are continuing their business in a new location away from their personal support network. Darrius recommended utilizing shared work spaces for those who have their own company to create a sense of community.

When people discuss the plight of military spouses, it is often in relation to the time they spend apart when the person serving is deployed. The quiet epidemic of unemployment and underemployment of military spouses has been growing. A greater focus on teaching this population about careers that move may help rectify this trend.

Marisa Sanfilippo
Marisa is an award-winning marketing professional who loves to write. During the day, she wears her marketing hat in her marketing director role and at night she works as a freelance writer, ghost writing for clients and contributing to publications such as Huffington Post and Social Media Today.

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