• Are you moving to another state?

  • What does that mean for your occupational license?

  • Will your license transfer to your new state?

Generally speaking, licenses are state-specific and each state has their own licensing requirements. Laws vary by state and before you can establish yourself in a new state, you should understand the laws of the state in order to get your license there.

That doesn’t mean you'll have to start the education and licensing process from scratch. Some states offer “license reciprocity” which means that if you already hold an active license in one U.S. state, you can apply for a license in your new state without taking all of the state-required pre-licensing courses. These reciprocal agreements vary widely from state to state; some have reciprocal agreements with all other states, while others may have agreements with only one or two neighboring states.

It is the U.S. Department of Labor policy to reduce employment barriers and enhance career opportunities for military spouses. 

1. Learn About Military Spouse Interstate License Recognition Options

Explore the status of legislation and policies addressing 10 key issues important to service members and military families across the nation including occupational licensing compacts for military spouses.

Visit MilitaryOneSource page for key legislation

2. Explore Occupation-Specific Guidance

Many states have joined interstate licensing agreements for certain occupations. These agreements establish common standards for competency and allow licensees to practice in other states more easily.

MilitaryOneSource offers occupation-specific information for a wide range of occupations.

Visit the MilitaryOneSource page on transferring your license

3. Find Your Licensing Board

The CareerOneStop License Finder provides state-specific information about occupational licenses required such as license names, descriptions of occupations, and issuing agency contact information.

Visit the CareerOneStop License Finder

4. Contact Your Licensing Board

Start by following any specific instructions for military spouses that may be posted on the licensing board’s website. If the board does not offer clear information, you can use these tips when contacting the board.

  1. Tell them you are a Military Spouse
    Identifying as a military spouse will allow the licensing board representative to direct you to any accommodations that may be available.
  2. Share what you know about the state law
    If the licensing board representative is not familiar with the provisions of the state legislation, they may be able to refer you to someone else who can assist. Use the summary from the U.S. Department of Labor Military Spouse Interstate License Recognition map above as a guide.
  3. Ask what accommodations the specific board offers
    You might ask, “What support do you offer military spouses who want to practice their profession in your state?” These may include issuing a temporary license, recognizing your license from another state, expediting the application review process, and/ or fee waivers. When you apply for licensure in your new state, be sure to request all options that might apply to you.

Additional Resources

Speak with a Career Coach

Spouse Education and Career Opportunities career coaches are available at 1-800-342-9647 and can help guide you through career transitions.

Visit your Local American Job Center

American Job Centers can help you look for work and offer job search workshops, free computer access, and more. Find the Center closest to you.

Attend a Professional Development Event

Connect with Other Spouses and Spouse-Supporting Organizations

Occupations with Interstate Reciprocity Agreements 

*States that have passed model reciprocity legislation for military spouses.

Military Spouse Licensing Reimbursement Program

In many circumstances, military spouses who move from one state to another because of change-of-station orders are eligible for reimbursement of licensing costs up to $1,000.

Guides and Action Plan