Challenges and Opportunities Dissected
Because of the military lifestyle, military spouses face unique challenges when it comes to their career choices. The good news? A satisfying and rewarding career in healthcare jobs is available to you, even though you are ‘married to the military’.
Put Your Needs First
Military spouses are a diverse group of people who each have their own set of challenges. Some may want to work in healthcare, while others want to work in other fields.
Military spouses can face many challenges when they choose to pursue a career. Like their civilian equivalents, they must carefully weigh the need for stability and family time against the need for income and professional recognition. However, there are also challenges that are unique to military spouses who want to work.
In this article, we outline these unique challenges that you will face as a military spouse who wants to work. And you’ll learn what types of healthcare jobs could overcome all the challenges you face.
Challenges Military Spouses Face When Seeking Work
According to a report by The Council of Economic Advisors, there are around 700,000 military spouses in the United States. They are a diverse group, with a wide range of ages, racial, and ethnic backgrounds. They also possess a wide range of skills to bring to the market.
However, participation rates in the labor market are low. The reason for this? The challenges faced by military spouses who want to work. For you as a military spouse, these challenges include:
· Regular Relocation Makes It Difficult to Develop Careers
Typically, you’ll be assigned to a new post every two to three years if stationed stateside. Many employers are reluctant to hire you because of this. Moreover, regular switching of jobs makes it hard for you to develop your career or become established within a company.
· Occupational Licensing Requirements Affect You More
You’ll suffer additional hurdles because of the differing occupational licensing laws in each state. Every time your spouse is assigned to a new location, you’ll face the potential requirement of the need to relicense.
Surveys have found you are seven times more likely to move across state lines than a civilian. In addition, a new license can take months to acquire – and this is time that you should be working and building on your career.
· Occupational Licensing Costs Are Hard to Recoup
Because of your short stays in any location, it is hard for you to recoup the costs of occupational licensing, and any other fixed costs associated with your job.
· You Are Likely to Earn Less
Data shows that military spouses earn substantially less than non-military spouses. While a lot of this difference can be explained by weeks and hours worked, among full-time employees the Deployment Life Study found that you are likely to be paid around 3.5% less than your civilian equivalent.
· Bases Are Often Rural
Many of our military bases are in rural areas, where there are fewer jobs, and they are more difficult to commute to.
Employment Law Helps, But It Isn’t the Answer
Federal and state laws now offer greater flexibility to military spouses who work in healthcare jobs. These include that a military spouse can now work across state lines without worrying about being disqualified from federal benefits like unemployment insurance or 401(K) matching contributions, and that many states now offer temporary licensing when you relocate.
Many states also provide expedited reviews to reduce the waiting time for license applications to be reviewed, and some have taken steps to exempt military spouses from licensure requirements.
However, despite these welcome rule changes, some of the challenges remain. Lower wages, the difficulty to build a career, and the difficulties of working in rural locations must still be overcome. A career in the new world of healthcare could be the answer you seek.
Three Healthcare Working Options That Offer Huge Flexibility and Great Earning Potential
Military spouses can find work in many different fields such as telehealth, travel nursing, or on military bases:
- Telehealth allows you to practice through video and phone
- Travel nursing contracts enable you to work in healthcare facilities near to where you are stationed
- You may also work with civilian nurses on military bases
Across each field of work, you’ll find opportunities to suit your qualifications, skillset, and experience.
No experience and no degree? Not a problem. Start your healthcare career in travel nursing as an Emergency Medical Technician.
All three options are short on experienced Registered Nurses.
America is short of healthcare professionals including nurses, physicians, pharmacists, pediatricians… the list is endless.
And if ‘hands-on’ healthcare work isn’t for you, there are many opportunities in admin roles in healthcare, from medical record keeping to management.
Which field of healthcare is right for you? Let’s look at each in turn.
Telehealth is a term that is used to refer to remote healthcare services. Some of these services might be provided by medical professionals in the state where patients live, but most of them take place at a distance from the location where people are being served.
Telehealth allows physicians and other medical professionals to communicate via video with patients who are far away from them. It also allows remote patient monitoring without the need for a hospital stay.
The market for telehealth services is extremely vibrant, having been accelerated into the mainstream by the lockdowns and patient nervousness to attend clinics caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Want to know more? Read our article:
Travel nursing is a specialized type of nursing that focuses on traveling to different locations. There are many benefits to this type of work ranging from the freedom it offers and the opportunity to work in different areas.
Usually, these roles are taken by healthcare professionals who want to travel and explore new locations. But turn this on its head. As a military spouse, you are already traveling. Working as a travel nurse could be the ideal option for you to find work in the temporary location in which you live, rather than finding temporary work in a location where you don’t live!
Hospitals typically use travel nurses who are a mix of experienced and new graduates. These nurses tend to be employed for hospitals to cover their staffing needs, and usually for periods of up to six months (though assignments may be shorter or longer).
The most popular types of roles for a travel nurse include long-term care, emergency care (ambulance), critical care, oncology, surgical, and pediatric care.
Want to know more? Read our articles:
- Can You Be a Travel Nurse with an Associate’s Degree?
- Travel Nurse 101: What You Need to Know About Contracts
- How Long Do Travel Nurses Stay in One Place?
- Can Travel Nurses Choose Where They Go?
- Can My Experience in Nursing Jobs Help Satisfy My Travel Bug?
Working in a Hospital on a Military Base
Military spouses can also take advantage of opportunities to be found on military bases in a variety of positions including nurse, medical technician, and medical assistant. Some of these opportunities arise when a base needs to hire more nurses due to an influx of patients during a deployment. Other opportunities occur when a base has too many employees and needs to hire more casual labor to cut costs.
If you have nursing skills, there could be high demand for your services. You will, of course, need the right licensing and certification.
Where Should Military Spouses Start to Look for Healthcare Jobs?
Military spouses have a great range of opportunities to work in healthcare. However, it is crucial to apply for healthcare jobs that make the most of your skillsets, allow you the flexibility you need for your unique lifestyle, and give you the rewards you deserve.
Our specialist staffing consultants will help you gain a clear perspective on your options, discuss the benefits of having a compact nursing license (including saving time and money, and opening more opportunities for you), and guide you through the most suitable healthcare jobs for you to apply to.
For more information and career clarity, contact Loyal Source today.