12 Jobs For Military Spouses

Well, there is an uproar on the internet, and it is about military spouses and jobs.  A few days ago, a syndicated column was posted on a few online sites.  The article is titled 12 great jobs for military spouses.  It starts off well, talking about the skills and qualifications of military spouses, and the the Military Spouse Employment Partnership, and then it runs a bit off track.  Actually, like the track just fell away into a ravine or something.

The “great” jobs  included in this article are:

  • direct selling
  • child care
  • selling handcrafted goods online
  • tutoring and substitute teaching
  • errand runner
  • catering or cake decorating
  • pet services
  • gift basket creator
  • personal trainer
  • administrative assistant
  • information technology specialist
  • tax preparer
  • temporary worker

Now, don’t get me wrong.  These are all fine jobs, and can be exactly the right choice for some people at some times.  However, to pigeonhole military spouses into such a  limited range of opportunities is really annoying.  In addition, many of the items on this list are actually awful choices for military spouse.  Anything that involves building a clientele, like running errands or making gift baskets, is virtually impossible for someone who moves regularly.

I know that military spouses are capable of having any type of job or career that they desire.  Sometimes it is challenging, but it can be done.  I’ve had milspouse friends who are teachers, doctors, hairdressers, craft demonstrators at Michaels, lawyers, nurses, authors, radiologists, social workers, lobbyists, accountants, gosh, I can’t even count them all.  Heck, I’ve been a waitress, a temp, worked retail, managed a restaurant, worked in mortgage banking, sold Pampered Chef.  (And that selling on Etsy thing looks cool, until I think about how uncrafty I am.)

What do you think about the article?  What sort of jobs have you had?  Fun, awful, cool, impressive, boring, whatever – we can be whatever we want to be, when it works for our families and us.

About the Author

Kate Horrell
Kate Horrell is a military financial coach, mom of four teens, and Navy spouse. She has a background in taxes and mortgage banking, and a trove of experience helping other military families with their money. Follow her on twitter @realKateHorrell.
  • I have multiple teaching certifications in both Georgia & Texas. It’s incredibly expensive to obtain them as well as to maintain them (continuing ed). While we lived in GA, I worked in schools as a teachers aide while I finished my certification, then waited tables during the summer to make ends meet. In TX, they were firing instead of hiring teachers so I subbed and attempted to make & sell children’s clothes online & to boutiques. I’m not sure if I ever actually made any money doing that but I did completely burn myself out on sewing for a long time. Now we’re in AZ, we won’t be there long enough to get my certification (only 5 months). I probably won’t work at all. I think it’s ridiculous to expect military spouses to have to do all that expensive continuing education work to maintain their certifications when they aren’t living in the state.

  • Diamond

    I count 13…hmmmh…

    Also, from the referenced and other the posted urls.

  • EODixon

    When I moved to Korea with my husband’s most recent duty station, I quickly discovered that an MBA does not mean anything outside of the US. After floundering for a while, I fell back on a set of job skills that I had forgotten about: coaching. I’m a volunteer soccer coach on post, but also do one-on-one training for high schoolers that are hoping to get scholarships. Its not the kind of career money that I’d like to be making, but its hard to complain about a job that keeps me fit, outside, and with some cash in my pocket.

  • Wendy

    I couldn’t find the original article, but I am doubtful it was much different from the usual piece that isn’t telling you anything a little common sense couldn’t find in the dark.

    But how many of those jobs, not careers mind you, earn a living wage? Admittedly, I didn’t research but I think fewer than half is a generous estimate. If correct, it’s a pat on the head and a “you go, girl!” for ideas about supplemental income which may not in many cases offset the opportunity cost.

    The Military Spouse Employment Partnership is hardly better, or at least it was earlier this year. It irked me so I haven’t kept up on developments, but amidst all of the initial hype I found that companies were more than willing to put their names on the list of supporters, but could not find out what commitments they were making to employment of military spouses let alone in living wage positions. The website to assist military spouses in finding jobs in their geographical locations or ones that could be performed at home was essentially a dump of job listings, many in differing formats making it difficult to search and filter for relevance. Many of the jobs were also highly specialized, indicating it wasn’t a tailored list, which is fine but if I were a job-seeking organic chemist, I probably don’t need that website in order to find employment in my field.

    In my opinion, military spouses need help determining the best certifications or degrees to pursue and perhaps even assistance, such as low interest loans or heck what about work study? These target jobs AND careers should be based on the obvious relevant factors as well as job outlook from the DOL. Military spouses should have assistance to become entrepreneurs. And employers should be given some sort of incentive to hire military spouses for jobs above the poverty level at a minimum. Even an incentive less than that of hiring a veteran would encourage employers to take it into account.

    I do appreciate that this topic is being raised for conversation at a national level, but I hope the discussion can also translate into meaningful results for those it is intended to help.