G.I. Jobs Virtual Job Fair   |   June 27

Virtual Job Fair   |   June 27

How to Manage a Civilian Career with an Active Duty Spouse

manage a civilian career

If you are planning to transition out of the military but your spouse will remain on active duty, you are not alone. Many military couples have made the same transition and have managed the difficulties that can come with it. Obtaining and finding success in a civilian career with an active duty spouse is no easy task. However, it is possible if you are up to the challenge!

The best jobs in this situation are those that are obviously the most portable or compliment the military. By portable I mean jobs that have a demand almost anywhere. These include nursing, information technology, teaching and writing, to name a few. Of course, the most portable job is one you could do from home. There are opportunities that allow this strategy, from teaching online college courses or designing websites to writing articles or being a freelance photographer.

If you are looking at jobs that compliment the military (which makes sense when trying to manage a civilian career with an active duty spouse), keep your spouse’s military duties in mind (MOS/rating). By this I mean, positions that are often hired in and around military bases. These include federal jobs (READ: Fast Track to Civilian Jobs) that support the military and military contractors. These positions require a wide range of responsibilities and your military experience can go a long way in terms of marketability.

Additionally, look at companies that have a significant national and international presence. Some companies will transfer employees to the closest work center when they move, maintaining the same pay and benefits – allowing their employees to continue to build experience.

If you don’t already have the required training, education or certifications required to work in one of these fields, going to school might be the next best step. Be sure to consider the state-to-state certification requirements of certain careers (such as those required by public schools). The Department of Defense school system generally accepts certification from any state.


-When heading in for an interview, don’t feel responsible for informing any potential employer that you are a military spouse. Remember you are the one being considered for the position, not your spouse.

-Create a support network. Whether this is family or reaching out to your military community, be sure to locate and plan for help, especially if you have children. This not limited to emergencies but also as a release valve for stress.

-Be sure to practice self-care. When you were active duty you were used to the rigorous focus on professional development. Create goals for yourself that include self-improvement. It is easy to feel tied to your spouse’s service; a personal goal can bring you greater fulfillment.

Next: To take a closer look at some of the careers that are trending right now, check out our latest list of 2015 Hot Jobs for Veterans.