Finding stable employment can be one of the most difficult things about being a military spouse. Thanks to frequent moves and the fact that military households become single-parent households during deployments, military spouses have an unemployment rate of 16%, compared to the national rate of under 4%.
Still, military spouses are finding innovative ways to bring in money to help support their family, both full-time and part-time. Here are some ideas for spouses looking for employment opportunities:
Your computer goes where you go, which means you can keep the same teaching job no matter where you’re located. There are many ways to teach online. If you have a graduate degree, you can teach online with a university. If you are an elementary through high school teacher, you can teach through K12 online private schools. And you can create and sell your own online courses on a variety of topics through teachable.com.
I’ve known many military spouses who have made great supplemental income through multi-level marketing opportunities like Stella and Dot, Lularoe, Rodan and Fields, Arbonne, Mary Kay and Younique. Remember, though, that you work on commission, so your income will vary. Another option is to join the Fiverr online marketplace, where you can sell anything from photography services to graphic design or writing.
Crafting doesn’t only have to be a hobby. Whether you knit, paint, make candles or design your own clothes, there are many ways to start making money from your crafts. Open an Etsy shop and look around for local craft fair opportunities. Visit local boutiques and ask if they’re interested in carrying your products. My sister hand-makes leather journals in her spare time, and a high-end local jeweler recently started selling them in his store.
While the kids are at school…
If there’s one job you’ll find anywhere, especially around military bases, it’s healthcare opportunities. Consider getting a degree in nursing, becoming an EKG technician, a sonographer, a veterinary assistant, a professional coder or a medical billing specialist. You can get many of these certifications through online courses. Because online therapy is becoming more popular, you can also consider a degree in social work or becoming a licensed counselor. Home health aides for the elderly are also in high demand.
The National Association of Social Workers recently opened up a new credential for social workers: Social Work for Veterans and Military Families. You’ll need a masters degree, but your personal experience will give you a leg up in this career.
Consider working for a military bank or credit union like USAA or PenFed. They provide employment opportunities across the country from insurance processors to financial advisors, and they often hire military spouses.
Local gyms are always looking for fitness instructors. I’ve known many spouses who have taken up new careers teaching Pilates, yoga, Les Mills courses, spinning, Crossfit and more. They stay fit, make new friends, get free gym memberships and make extra money along the way.
Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society
Start volunteering at your base’s Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, and it could turn into a paid opportunity. The Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society provides emergency financial assistance to active-duty and retired Navy and Marine Corps personnel and their families. They rely mostly on volunteers, but they all also have full-time and part-time staff, from directors to financial counselors.
Freelance, freelance, freelance
If you have a skill you can translate into freelancing, use it! Maybe you’re great a graphic design. Online job boards are always posting positions for freelance writers and copy-editors. Web developers are in high demand right now. If you speak another language, look into translation opportunities. You can also find freelance jobs in research, data entry, photography or administration.
Whether you’re looking for a lifelong career or just a temporary job, earning an income as a military spouse is not impossible. Think about what fields you’re interested in, what skills you already have, what hours you are available and what certifications or education you’ll need for certain careers, and go from there.
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