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“Great” Jobs For Military Spouses?

What ARE “great” jobs for military spouses?? This week military spouses scorched an article that suggested the “great” jobs available to us included babysitting, preparing taxes (Turbo Tax, anyone?) or baking cupcakes.

Since we actually pay attention to our military spouse readers, we know that there is a large population of spouses either looking for a “great” job right now or they are thinking of going back to work sometime in the future. We know they are willing to make some compromises so that they can have both a career AND a life with the service member they love.  So we decided to start a SpouseBuzz List Of Great Jobs For Military Spouses. Can you help?

Take a look at our criteria for a “great” job. We want a mix of jobs that require a degree and those that don’t. Also, we are thinking:

  • The work has to bring in thousands a month, not a hundreds.
  • The field has to be experiencing notable growth or demand to overcome our lack of local connections.
  • The job has to be available outside a major city (so working in IT or as a chemical engineer is probably out).
  • Extra points would be awarded for jobs that related to military families because wherever we lived it was likely a bunch of other military folks would live there too.

Here are our first seven suggestions. Can you suggest other jobs (particularly those in business) that might work?

ABA Therapist. Applied behavioral analysis (ABA) therapists work with patients to overcome mental and social disabilities—especially kids on the autism spectrum. The Center for Disease Control indicates that 1 in 88 children in the United States have received a diagnosis on the autism spectrum. That figure applies to military kids, too. As the parent of a child on the spectrum, I know how hard it is to get these professionals– especially in more rural areas. ABA therapists can work full or part-time. The job requires formal education in psychology, behavior analysis or a related field of study.

Early Adopter. As Loretta Lynn said about breaking into country music, “You have to be the first or the best.” Which is easy for her cuz she was both. Same goes with anything you want to sell, manufacture or retail. You have to be the first or the best or there is little money to be made. When it comes to work, an early adopter is the kind of person who recognizes a trend way before anyone else. If you are the kind of person who was first with Angry Birds, iPad, or Viagra, sales might actually work for you as a military spouse. You might be able to identify the next Silpada. And then move on before everyone else climbs on.

Healthcare —Especially Concerning The Elderly. The need for registered nurses and Healthcare employment is expected to grow. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, there is also opportunity in healthcare on the business side of the house. We are thinking that if you specialize in providing services to the growing population of older Americans you will have the kind of skills that are rare in nearly every community. What kind of educational requirements would that take? Suggestions?

Richard Scarry character. Remember those Richard Scarry books from Kindergarten? Those were the books with the cats and pigs and worms dressed up as carpenters and welders and electricians. The Society for Human Resource Management says that skilled trades like these will be experiencing great demand in the next few years. If you are a person who works with their hands, or you were already trained as a welder in, say, the Navy, this looks like opportunity. Shoot, if you can dance, you can learn to weld. See Flashdance for confirmation.

Special Education Teacher or Aide.  Your original plan to be a teacher had you imagining yourself in front of a group of charming fourth graders all working on their reports about Jamestown and Williamsburg. According to our readers, getting those jobs often requires that you spend a few years in the school system—which is hard to do when you move every other year. What if you break out of that crayon box and imagine yourself as a Special Ed teacher or a classroom assistant instead? The National Education Association says there is a greater need for special education teachers than for any other type of teacher. This requires some specialized training and the drive to make a difference in the world.

Marriage and Family Therapist. The Bureau of Labor projects that the need for marriage and family therapists will rise 29.8 percent in the coming years. The divorce rate is not climbing that fast; it is just that it is becoming more and more common for people to seek help from a therapist when their marriage gets rocky. This shortage is particularly great when it comes to military families living in less urban settings. A master’s degree is usually necessary for this job.

Pharmacist and Pharmacy technicians. There is a Rite Aid on every corner. A CVS in every strip mall. The opportunity for employment is there. Although it takes about six years to become a pharmacist (salary over $100K), most of the training a pharmacy tech (salary $30K) gets is on the job. Demand for pharmacy techs is expected to increase with the elderly population. Pharmacies are also expected to look to cut costs by shifting responsibilities from pharmacists to pharmacy techs.  Can you retool other work/school/volunteer experience to make yourself more attractive to employers?

Social Worker With Military Credential.  The National Association of Social Workers announced this week that they are launching a new credential for established social workers.  Although social workers have to be certified and certification does not necessarily translate from state to state, this may be an area of expertise you could capitalize upon.  In an interview, Executive Director Betsy Clark said that a social work who is also a military spouse who earns this credential would be ahead of the game and “in a position to be in a supervisory position over other social workers.”  Something to think about….

This is just the beginning of our list, please make suggestions especially if you are a military spouse in a job that meets our criteria. At SpouseBuzz we believe that the best information comes from those people who walk the walk. No one knows better than you.

About Jacey Eckhart

Jacey Eckhart is the Director of Spouse and Family Programs for Military.com. Since 1996, Eckhart’s take on military families has been featured in her syndicated column, her book The Homefront Club, and her award winning CDs These Boots and I Married a Spartan?? Most recently she has been featured as a military family subject matter expert on NBC Dateline, CBS morning news, CNN, NPR and the New York Times. Eckhart is an Air Force brat, a Navy wife and an Army mom.