12 Great Jobs for Military Spouses
The Department of Defense reports that 85% of military spouses want or need to work.
The good news? This population has more education and training than the general public. 84% have some college, 25% have a bachelor's degree and 10% have an advanced degree. And that doesn't take into account their other marketable skills. Because 35% of military spouses in the workforce are in jobs that require a professional license, Michelle Obama and Jill Biden announced a goal for license portability for military spouses to be passed in all 50 states by 2014, as part of their work with Joining Forces.
The Military Spouse Employment Partnership (MSEP) is developing partnerships with local, national and international businesses to support the workforce needs of both military spouses and businesses. Through MSEP, Fortune 500 "PLUS" companies across America are partnering with the Department of Defense to create employment and career opportunities for spouses. The impressive list of employers includes Microsoft, Hyatt, Amazon, CVSCaremark, DELL, H&R Block and many other marquee employers who value military spouses.
"Our partners recognize that military spouses bring reliability, adaptability, knowledge and skills that put them head and shoulders above other candidates," says MSEP Program Manager, Dr. Lillie Cannon. "Federal employers give preference to military spouses and private employers make an effort to employ them." Cannon advises job seekers to start their search at their military readiness offices and check with the MSEP website to see which jobs are available in the area. (Check out this list of Military Spouse Friendly Employers.)
With the help of MSEP, we have also come up with this list of 12 ways military spouses can turn their education and/or skills into a money-making venture regardless of location.
1. Direct selling
Become a representative for an established, direct marking firm like Mary Kay, Avon, Stella & Dot or Pampered Chef. Most require a small but affordable investment for the sales materials and products necessary to get started. Consultants sell door-to-door or organize home parties.
2. Child care and babysitting
Good, reliable childcare is always in demand so start your own childcare and babysitting service for parents in your area. Having experience with your own children will probably give you a leg up on the competition. Be sure to familiarize yourself with state laws for caring for children, especially if hosting them in your home.
3. Selling handcrafted goods online
Websites like Etsy.com and Artfire.com are the equivalent of eBay for handcrafted or artisan goods. If you have a knack for creating artsy crafts, supplies, jewelry or art, you have the potential of earning hundreds of dollars each month.
4. Tutoring and substitute teaching
Proficient in math, science or English? Hang out your tutoring shingle! Also, websites like Tutor.com and Tutorvista.com need tutors to work with students online from their home computers for almost every subject. The pay varies depending on the subject and the number of hours. Every school district in the country needs quality subs and the flexibility makes this a very appealing job for military spouses. Most fill-ins will need a college degree but qualifications vary from state to state. Check with your state education department to learn if you qualify and how to start working in your area school district.
5. Errand runner
Whether they are elderly, busy or simply lack a car, many people need help with time-consuming tasks like picking up the dry cleaning, grocery shopping or renewing their auto registration. That's where you can come in. Establish an errand business and earn extra cash being a go-fer for others.
6. Catering and/or cake-making
Those hours spent watching the Food Network might be the genesis of a money-making plan. If you have great culinary chops, try catering parties or backyard cookouts, selling homemade baked goods or offer your services as a personal chef. A course in cake decoration, candy making, and baking from a community college or gourmet food shop can boost your presentation skills.
7. Pet services
Turn your love of pets into some extra cash by caring for animals for people who travel or work long hours. While most pet owners need help with dogs and cats, be prepared to care for rabbits, snakes, hamsters, birds and fish, too. Listing your services on Craigslist or posting flyers at neighborhood pet stores and veterinary offices can drive customers your way. A mobile dog and cat grooming business can also bring in consistent income.
8. Gift basket creator
Use your creative flair to create beautiful gift baskets. Package gifts and goodies in attractive baskets, decorative tins, boxes or bags for special occasions like baby showers, birthdays, anniversaries or holidays and market them via word-of-mouth, brochures or a dedicated website.
9. Personal trainer
Are you in great shape? Do people often ask you to share your fitness tips? Instead of giving away the store, hire yourself out for personal training sessions. Your chances of getting a job at a gym or fitness studio are good since staff turnover is high.
10. Administrative assisting
This is one of the largest occupations in the country. Your office and computer skills can land you a job in a variety of settings including schools, government agencies, or a variety of corporate settings.
11. Information technology (IT) specialist
Temporary agencies and MSEP partners like Microsoft and Dell are consistently in need of workers in this portable, high-growth and high-demand field.
12. Tax preparer
Each year, large tax-preparation firms such as H&R Block and Jackson Hewitt train and employ tens of thousands of people to prepare tax returns in their storefront offices. Any background in accounting and bookkeeping will undoubtedly give you a leg up on the competition.
13. Consistent "temp" work
Local temporary agencies, as well as national ones like Manpower and Kelly Services, provide an opportunity to work in your field of expertise or learn a new skill. Another great resource for hourly work is SnagaJob.com.