All marriages require work and dedication, but being a military spouse to an active-duty member of the armed forces involves extra commitment and flexibility.
Military families are required to relocate, every few years or even more than once in a year, and the moves can sometimes be sudden and unpredictable. This lifestyle can make it tough to hold down consistent jobs as a military spouse, 88% of whom are female.
The frequent moves, specificity of military culture and sometimes remote living areas all contribute to the difficulties a military spouse may face when looking to build their career.
But military spouses do not need to be limited to ad-hoc money-earning opportunities like babysitting and pet sitting, especially given the fact that 40% of spouses have some kind of higher education degree and 30% have a four-year degree.
Here is a guide to finding the best jobs for military spouses.
Opportunity Abounds With Remote Work
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, remote work is more popular now than ever.
Thanks to this trend, military spouses have a wealth of job opportunities to pursue without needing to explain an upcoming move or inability to come into an office.
In fact, many employers view having a widespread workforce as a strength, bringing geographic diversity and tapping talent pools nationwide.
Even if a job description doesn’t explicitly state it is remote-friendly, it is still worth applying to. You may find via conversations with the recruiter or hiring manager that they will consider remote applicants who are well-suited for a role.
According to a recent Gallup Poll, nearly 45% of Americans work remotely (also called work from home). As a military spouse, you could join that workforce, too. Brush up your resume or improve your professional skills with these free resources, then begin applying to jobs that pique your interest.
Resources for Military Spouses on the Job Hunt
You don’t have to start from scratch searching for a suitable job. Here are free career resources available for military spouses.
- USA JOBS: This website that posts open jobs in the federal government also has an initiative designed to help spouses of active-duty military members find a government job. A job is not guaranteed, but the program allows you to apply in a “non-competitive” environment and then have your resume reviewed to see if you may be a good fit for any open federal government roles.
- National Labor Exchange: The NLX has an entire search engine dedicated to finding jobs that are not tied to a location and are work-from-home-friendly.
- Hiring Our Heroes: The organization “connects the military community with American businesses to create economic opportunity and a strong and diversified workforce.” You can leverage Hiring Our Heroes to attend in-person and virtual hiring events, fellowships that allow you to work in the civilian workforce, and networking sessions to meet other military spouses.
- USO Pathfinder Transition Program: This program serves to help active duty military members, veterans, and military spouses find and keep careers that are rewarding to them. The Program provides professional development and job counseling to help individuals craft an action plan to find a job or career path they love.
- Military One Source: Military One Source has myriad resources for military spouses considering a job or looking for a new one. Whether you want to search for a job, improve your resume or pursue further education, Military One Source has guidance on how to reach your goals.
- VirtForce: VirtForce is an online network dedicated to helping military spouses find sustainable telecommuting and remote work. VirtForce has a military spouse community of more than 60,000 spouses, providing them with free training and networking to help land and keep a job.
- Career Pursuit: This not-for-profit magazine, published annually, provides consolidated career advice to the military spouse community. Career Pursuit has grown so much in popularity it is now backed by the U.K. Ministry of Defense.
- LockHeed Martin: The technology company that works closely with the U.S. government, is dedicated to helping military spouses explore a variety of career paths. LockHeed Martin provides a military spouse fellowship. The fellowship is similar to an internship and allows military spouses to get hands-on training and experience in the civilian professional world. LockHeed Martin provides training and guidance to spouses in the fellowship, as well.
- USAA: The military-focused insurance provider, has its own military spouse employment program. You can search by location, level of education and years of experience.
Career Paths for Military Spouses
Some fields are especially well-suited for military spouses and their often-changing life circumstances. Check out these promising fields.
1. Freelancing or Contract Work
Freelancing can be an excellent path for military spouses because it is often remote and flexible schedule-wise. As a freelancer, you are self-employed, but may be hired on as a temporary contractor for a company to help them complete a project or to backfill a position for a specific duration of time.
Freelancing covers a multitude of fields, but freelance writing is an especially popular pursuit.
If writing isn’t your specialty, there is always a need for freelance graphic designers, video editors, those who know computer coding, and executive assistants. These nine freelance websites will help you start connecting with clients.
2. Virtual Assistant
Becoming a virtual assistant is a fantastic way to earn at least $40K per year (and as much as in the six-digits) from the comfort of home — wherever that may be.
Virtual assistants provide organizational help all via online applications. You may be asked to manage someone’s meeting schedule and emails or coordinate when an office is due to reorder supplies.
Some virtual assistant jobs can begin to mix with other tasks such as creating editorial or social media calendars, having a hand in planning company events, or onboarding other employees.
Virtual assistants are generally contractors and may work on a fixed-term schedule of employment. This can work well with any predicted moves or hectic times in your life, too.
Fast, accurate typists can make $15 to $25 per hour as transcriptionists. Transcriptionists are needed especially in the legal and medical worlds, where lawyers and doctors will often verbalize client and patient notes and then rely on a transcriptionist to convert those audio clips into written notes.
Expect to deliver transcription assignments within a few days — or even hours — of receiving them.
Everyone needs their hair cut eventually, right? No matter where your base is, folks will need a haircut. Although you will need some basic training in order to be able to cut hair well, hair stylists make between $25,000 – $50,000 per year before tips (which can add up to 20% on top of your base salary).
If you can catch a typo quicker than anyone, consider working as a proofreader.
You can proofread transcripts, like court proceedings or medical dictation, blogs, journals and book manuscripts. Using just an iPad, you could make about $17 per hour no matter where in the country (or world) you are located.
6. Customer Service
Thousands of call center jobs in retail, health care, airlines and many more fields shifted to remote work during the pandemic.
The Penny Hoarder’s Work-from-Home jobs portal is updated five days a week with new remote opportunities, many in customer service positions. Bookmark it and check it often!
From kids to adults, tutoring services are always in demand.
Work with home-schooled students on subjects their parents aren’t confident teaching; offer after-school sessions in students’ homes or at the library; or work with a tutoring company to host SAT prep classes.
Private tutors can expect to earn $13 to $20 per hour.
8. Social Media Management
Small business owners know they need to have a social media presence, but many don’t have the time or know-how. If you’re comfortable and knowledgeable about the most popular platforms, you could manage social media accounts for small businesses.
You don’t need to be a CPA to be a bookkeeper. You don’t even need to be in the same town as your clients!
There are few costs in setting up a bookkeeping business, and you can earn $60 an hour in this specialty.
Colorado-based writer Kristin Jenny focuses on military topics, lifestyle and wellness. She is a regular contributor to The Penny Hoarder.