Are you a military spouse? If so, there’s a good chance that you’re tired of hearing the same old ‘military myth’ – that military spouses don’t work. The truth is, not only do many spouses have successful careers outside of their service to their spouse in the armed forces, but there are also incredible opportunities available that enable them to make a positive impact on their community. It’s time for this tired stereotype to end once and for all! So let’s dive into busting this ‘myth’ wide open with some real-life stories from fellow military families who prove it doesn’t have to be an obstacle in reaching your personal or professional goals.
Military spouses are some of the most incredible people I know. When faced with adversity they can arise to the challenge time and time again. This has been especially true of the spouses I have been around throughout the 15 years I’ve spent as a military wife so far.
Unfortunately one of the toughest challenges of becoming a military spouse is finding a job. A lot of people wrongly assume that military spouses don’t work because they choose not to. When in reality many of us do work and in fact, we are quite adaptable and willing to retrain if needed.
So far, I’ve been a social worker, bookkeeper, sales associate, mortgage broker, temp, and several other things before finding long-term work freelancing from home with this website. I am not the only one that has had to do random stuff just to have a job. I have a friend who is a speech pathologist but is currently selling jewelry since they are stationed overseas with limited opportunities. I’ve known a college professor who after a few moves re-trained and became a fitness instructor.
I know many military spouses who are the primary breadwinners. They were able to obtain high-powered jobs when they were stationed in good job markets.
I’ve known military spouses that were still working towards degrees including master degrees and doctorate degrees.
When I first became a military wife I was still working on finishing my degree. I only had three semesters to go and figured finishing up would be simple. Unfortunately, the reality was it was difficult to finish. Not all of my credits would transfer from one state to another even though I had attended a major university. I also had not factored in how rapidly we would move. I only managed to get in one semester at the 1st school I transferred to and then only one semester and one summer session at the second school I transferred to. So, after being a military spouse for 2 years I still hadn’t finished!
Online programs are ideal for military spouses. I didn’t do a traditional online program but was able to finish the last of my classes online. I graduated from a school in Texas while we were stationed in Idaho. Somehow I managed to only graduate a year and a half later than I was supposed to despite moving 4 times during that time period!
I looked into transferring to Boise State University when we first got stationed in Idaho, but the school was an hour away, I was due to give birth during the first term, and it was trimesters instead of semesters. This is a common problem for military spouses when they end up moving across the country and why often an online college works out better. There are lots of colleges out there that offer fantastic online programs like Martinsburg. These days you can even become a phlebotomist through an online school!
Some of the perks of selecting a college like Martinsburg College with an extensive online program is the flexibility they offer. You could be taking a class or two and end up having your spouse deployed and suddenly things are too crazy to be taking classes. At Martinsburg College students receive a refund based on the amount of coursework completed (pro rata) through 50% of their program. This means if a student does only one course then they are charged for only one course.
Another perk is that Martinsburg College helps spouses with costs. They help you save money on textbooks through their learning management system or they will provide you with a loaner tablet. They will also help you obtain MyCAA (Military Spouses Career Advancement Account).
MyCAA is an entitlement program, sponsored by the office of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Military Community and Family Policy (DUSD/MC&FP). Which means that MyCAA is not a scholarship and applicants do not have to compete against each other in order to be selected. Instead, you must be the current spouse of an active duty Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine, National Guard, or Reserve member in pay grades E1-E5, O1-O2, or W1-W2 with more than 6 months before separation/retirement.
Martinsburg College even has a Facebook group for military spouses with info about special college benefits for military spouses.
When I finally did finish college I had just had baby #2 and decided to stay home with my kids instead of working. We lived in a tiny town so there were few jobs to be had anyway. As soon as we moved to a larger area I was able to go back to work immediately.
Could you imagine living in a town so small there were no jobs? Can you picture yourself switching jobs every 2-3 years? It seems crazy but these are the things military spouses deal with, yet they still find ways to finish their education and gain employment.