Pay & Benefits

Here are the top careers for military spouses that don’t require a license

Software developer, market research analyst and human resources specialist are the top three occupations with good prospects for military spouse careers — and no state licensure requirements, according to research conducted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes program.

“Best Bets: Military spouse careers that don’t require a license,” is the first of a series of lists that will focus on best bets for military spouse careers. There have been a number of efforts to address the problems spouses encounter when they move to a new area and must encounter state licensing requirements that make if difficult to find employment — as a teacher, hairdresser, or in many other areas. But in many cases, it remains an expensive and time-consuming frustration for spouses.

Besides licensing requirements, this analysis focused on careers that have good growth prospects over the next 10 years, pay relatively well, are more likely to be located near a military installation and generally take less than five years of on-the-job training.

It also considered careers where a four-year degree may be helpful but isn’t always required. Researchers used sources including the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Labor Department’s Occupational Information Network, the Census Bureau, and Burning Glass Technologies’ database of more than 800 million job postings.

Burning Glass, a labor market analytics firm, weighted the analysis to address challenges faced by military spouses, considering careers with more work-from-home opportunities and flexible work schedules, as well as more self-employment opportunities.

“These are great career paths for those of us who move a lot, who relocate a lot, who want to be family together, who want to be co-located with our active-duty member,” said Bonnie Amos, speaking at the Hiring our Heroes' announcement of the research. She is a Hiring Our Heroes personal brand ambassador, and wife of retired Gen. James Amos, the 35th commandant of the Marine Corps, who left service in December 2014.

Future “best bets” lists will include entry-level, hourly-wage jobs; professional careers that require a state license; emerging tech careers; and careers with many remote work opportunities.

The report provides a deeper dive into its top three choices:

  • Software developer includes jobs with titles such as application developer, software architect, software developer, software development engineer, software engineer. Most have a four-year degree, but some entry level jobs are open to those with an associate degree or self-taught experience.
  • Market research analyst includes jobs with titles such as business development specialist, client service and consulting manager, communications specialist, market research manager, product line manager, project manager. These analysts often have a four-year degree, although their majors vary widely.
  • HR specialists can carry titles such as corporate recruiters, employment specialists, HR coordinators or talent acquisition specialists. They generally have a degree in human resources or business.

Here are the top 10 in this “Best Bets” list of careers that don’t require licenses:

Career Jobs nationwide
Projected growth rate
 (over 10 years)
Software developer 831,300 30.7% $100,080
Market research analyst 595,400 23.2% $62,560
HR specialist 547,800 7.1% $59,180
Information security analyst 100,000 28.5% $92,600
Business operations specialist 1,023,900 8.8% $69,040
Web developer 162,900 15.0% $66,130
Sales manager 385,500 7.5% $117,960
Office supervisor 1,506,300 3.4% $54,340
Property/real estate manager 317,300 10.3% $57,040
Civil engineer 303,500 10.6% $83,540

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