Military Spouse Licensure: Is Your State on Board?

Dec 06 2012



Career portability continues to be a significant challenge for military spouses.

Complicated state licensing requirements and the lack of license portability impose significant administrative and financial burdens on military spouse professionals that move across state lines.  With the help of the Department of Defense State Liaison Office and support from the Joining Forces Initiative, states are taking action to ease this problem.

Currently, 49 states have passed legislation or an executive order to better support military spouses serving in professions with state license and certification requirements.   Many states are now expediting licensure though:  endorsement and temporary/provisional licensing. It should be noted that professions covered by such legislation vary from state to state.

Is your State on Board?  Check below:

Alabama Yes
Alaska Yes
Arizona Yes
Arkansas Yes
California Yes
Colorado Yes
Connecticut Yes
D.C. No
Delaware Yes
Florida Yes
Georgia Yes (for some contruction trades)
Hawaii Yes
Idaho Yes
Illinois Yes
Indiana Yes
Iowa Yes
Kansas Yes
Kentucky Yes
Louisiana Yes
Maine Yes
Maryland Yes
Massachusetts Yes
Michigan Yes
Minnesota Yes
Mississippi Yes
Missouri Yes
Montana Yes
Nebraska Yes
Nevada Yes
New Hampshire Yes
New Jersey Yes
New Mexico Yes
New York No
North Carolina Yes
North Dakota Yes
Ohio Yes
Oklahoma Yes
Oregon Yes
Pennsylvania Yes
Rhode Island Yes
South Carolina Yes
South Dakota Yes
Tennessee Yes
Texas Yes
Utah Yes
Vermont Yes
Virginia Yes
Washington Yes
West Virginia Yes
Wisconsin Yes
Wyoming Yes


Click here for additional information on transferring your occupational license or certification.

We need to hear from you!  Share your personal challenges regarding career portability. What obstacles have you faced?  Share your story here!  We will elevate your story to our partners at the Department of Defense State Liasion Office. 

Stay tuned for updates on this critical legislation. Sign up for our legislative update and for MOAA Spouse E-News.

Karen serves as a Deputy Director, Government Relations (Military Family Issues).

11 responses so far

11 Responses to “Military Spouse Licensure: Is Your State on Board?”

  1. Hannahon 06 Dec 2012 at 11:37 pm

    South Carolina passed legislation to help military spouses in professions requiring licensure, except for teachers. I am transferring my Virginia teaching license to South Carolina and I have to pay hundreds of dollars and take two additional tests.

  2. Rebeccaon 07 Dec 2012 at 2:13 pm

    I applied for a CA teacher license in 2005 and it was a HUGE undertaking (even though I already had an IA license and had taught full-time for 6 years). I see CA is now on the list for being “on board”. I hope others now after me have an easier time. The most arduous part of CA certification was the test they required I take…I believe it cost me $75. Would have been nice if they’d have had something in place to wave fees for military spouses trying to certify where their spouses were stationed.

  3. Megon 07 Dec 2012 at 6:03 pm

    It’s very deceiving which states are on board and which actually follow through. I had to fight with California to have them honor my Massachusetts teaching license, even though I hold an advanced degree and was licensed in two subjects. Essentially, they didn’t think that MA’s testing met their standards. In Virginia, it’s a not just a battle; it’s a war. Even though I now hold multiple licenses in two states, they want me to go back to school for more courses and testing. However, had I taught for three or more years, I would be fine. I am a relatively new grad. And, after fighting to get licenses in a state that I lived in for less than two years. We move every three. How on earth will I get the three years they require?!?! New clauses need to be added, substituting multiple credentials in multiple states and/or advanced degrees for teaching experience.

  4. Rebeccaon 08 Dec 2012 at 6:30 am

    I am a Nurse Practitioner & moved from SC to VA and was able to transfer my RN license by endorsement. However, I had to pay the fee to transfer my NP license. My current position in VA does not require prescriptive authority or DEA licensure, but if it did I would also be responsible for these fees as well.

  5. Laraon 09 Dec 2012 at 9:30 am

    I have to agree with the previous posters about states “saying” they are on board with this, but do not follow through. I got my original teaching license in NC. California would not accept it and it took me forever and lots of money to get my CA teaching license. California even said “We are the toughest state. Once you get licensed here, we have reciprocity and you are licensed in any other state.” NOT TRUE. Then we moved to Virginia and they exact thing happened. VDOE would not accept my CA license nor any of the teacher “tests” required to take. I had to take many courses…even silly ones like History 101, retake all the same teacher tests given by Pearson and again, LOTS of own money out of my pocket. It’s extremely frustrating and very annoying and lots of unnecessary money spent out of our own pockets. Theses tests are not cheap: $80-$100 for each one. I have a friend who is a military wife and got Nationally Board Certified and still ran into this problem.

  6. Lauraon 11 Dec 2012 at 8:55 pm

    As a licensed cosmetologist I totally understand the frustration with licensure and transferring from state to state. I recently had a very frustrating experience on Guam. And now since we have moved to VA I found the state requirements to transfer expensive and time consuming. But , this is a problem for anyone in the State of VA applying for a cosmetology license. I don’t believe it is feasible or even safe for us to expect that we should be able to get licenses in states where we don’t meet the requirements. What I would like to see is the opportunity for Military Spouses to be compensated monetarily either through the military or by being able to draw unemployment until we secure the proper license, including time needed to meet the needed extra education ect… It would be nice if all states were on board with the same requirements , it is kind of scary to know that some states for example require less education and training to be a nurse than others. But that problem a problem for all of the US and we need to help or spouses. With the amount of moving we do we definitely lose money and experience and should be compensated in some way for that. Thank you MOAA for looking after us and bringing our concerns to the attention of the general public and our lawmakers!!

  7. kellyon 12 Dec 2012 at 10:59 am

    I think Laura makes a good point. As a lawyer, I don’t expect to be able to get special dispensation for admission to the bar in states that have no reciprocity with other states, and these states are relatively few (I wish, the CA bar is expensive!). However, I think there could be a financial break involved, especially if you are requesting reciprocity (that can cost upwards of $1000). I also think, specific to the legal profession, it would be nice if states granted military spouses a break on annual dues when we are paying for more than one state. It can be detrimental to reciprocity to go inactive in a state you no longer live in. Maybe there could be an alternative option. Of course, like Meg, I may not have enough years of continual practice to qualify for reciprocity at our next duty station. The spouses I know who have been able to make it work usually have a special agreement with their employer that does not require them to apply for a new license.

  8. Torrey Fronkon 10 Apr 2014 at 11:43 am

    As a recent graduate nurse living in Northern Virginia and looking for jobs in DC it is very disappointing to me that DC is not participating in this vital program. I believe the DMV area has the highest concentration of military spouses in the world. Additionally Mrs. Michelle Obama and Vice President Joe Biden has been advocating this issue around the nation but have somehow failed to find success in our own local area.

    On behalf of all the military spouses here, many of whom have chosen portable careers like nursing and teaching due to their spouse’s military service, please, please, help!

  9. Joann Hauseron 17 Jul 2014 at 2:15 pm

    I am an Elementary School Teacher, licensed to teach K-6. I can tell you that some states like Florida are easy to transfer too. However, upon my arrival in California it has become quite difficult. I have 3 1/2 yrs of teaching experience and they are requiring me to go back and retake more tests. This is just ridiculous.

    I already had to take the Praxis when I first graduated and that was well over $150 to take. Now I have to take not only 1 but 2 tests in order to teach here.

    It’s so frustrating that they won’t look at your recommendations, evaluations or how well your class performed on state test. I LOVE my job and it’s so discouraging to see and hear these “hoops” they make us jump after going to college and earning your degree.

    Every time I move I have to dish out more money to be certified in a different state. Let’s face it I’m a teacher and we all know we don’t make that much money. Something needs to change.

  10. Celina Dugason 05 Nov 2014 at 11:00 am

    Called Texas Social Work Licensing Board, only to be told “your in Texas now we don’t honor those laws” I had to pick my jaw up off the floor. 10 years Practicing and I am working on my 4th State Licensure. The Fees are insane! I have to pay fees to all states I was licensed in, in order to get licensed in the new state. I had to pay to renew in MASS just to apply in Texas even though I won’t ever practice in MA. So frustrating.

  11. Nateon 20 May 2015 at 1:04 pm

    My wife is an LPN. She was originally licensed in Virginia in 1997, but when we moved to Oklahoma in 2001, she changed to Oklahoma and let Virginia lapse. Now we’re back in Virginia.

    Virginia says that they WOULD honor an Oklahoma license with an endorsement if she has never had a Virginia license before, but because she has a lapsed Virginia license, they don’t honor any licenses she may have with anyone else. She now has to take 15 continuing education hours and pay a $200 reinstatement fee, even though she has over 40 credit hours toward her RN degree. I can’t find anywhere where the military will help with the cost of the classes or the fees.

    I’m also concerned that we now will have to pay at least two license fees for the rest of her life just in case we move to Oklahoma or Virginia again, plus any other states we move to.