Friday, February 17, 2012

Make licensing easier for professional military spouses.

As a military spouse with a career the term permanent change of station or PCS has the ability to bring a grown woman (or man) to tears. 

Not because we will be moving, leaving friends and a home behind, although that part can be hard as well. For those of us who have careers that require licensing or certification in each and every state that we move to. 

This applies to not only teachers, but nurses, cosmetologists, lawyers, nail technicians, well you name it, they have to go through an entire process of getting re-certified or licensed with each military move. 

I understand that each state has their own "rules" and "laws" as far as what makes a person qualified to teach, nurse, practice law, cut hair etc, but what I don't understand is why. Why can not there not be a National Certification Program for these careers? (Not all districts accept the National Teacher Certification btw) Or why there are not already programs in place for the military spouse to make their move with their spouse less traumatic. 

For teaching there are reciprocal certification programs between some states (some not all mind you), but a PCS move still can get very expensive. For example when we moved to Florida after being stationed in the UK for 8 years I incurred the following expenses just to get a job:
1. Certificate application 
2. Fingerprinting in each of the districts I applied in, and private schools as well (in my case 3 districts, and 2 private schools) 
3. FTCE (Florida Teacher Certification Examinations) 

Then Florida did not accept all of my certifications from DoDDS, so I lost my reading endorsement, and had to fight for my ESOL endorsement.

Three years later we moved to Georgia, who once again considered my current certificate as reciprocal but I  had to go through all of the expenses again. 
1. Certificate application (thankfully my district where I was hired paid for this)
2. Fingerprinting in each of the districts I applied, or substitute taught (4)
3. GACE Georgia Assessments for the Certification of Educators

"In some states, for example, applicants are required to take an entry-level course in state history or other subjects before the licensing board will grant a license.  So if you’re a military spouse with years of teaching experience and you move across state lines, you could end up taking extra classes for weeks on end before you can even get a job, and that’s just what happens in one profession" First Lady Michelle Obama February 15, 2012.

Now we are nearing the end of this adventure called Our Life As An Air Force Family we have been on for the last almost 17 years, and coming up on Jerry's retirement from the Air Force. Which means there is a very good possibility I will be encountering these expenses once again if we need to move for Jerry to have a post military career. 

Yesterday the First Lady Michelle Obama and the Second Lady Jill Biden along with the Joint Chiefs and their spouses held a briefing in regards to this very issue. They have released a report on this issue. You can read their comments at:

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