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Portable Careers for Military Spouses

portable careers for military spouses

Following your own career goals as a military spouse isn’t always easy. With moving around every few years, not being able to set down roots, and dealing with a spouse with a very crazy schedule, it can be hard to find something that works. Luckily, there are some portable military spouse careers that can take with them from duty station to duty station. Here are some ideas:

Portable Careers for Military Spouses

Professional Photographer

Photography is always needed, no matter where you live. From homecoming photos to pre-deployment family shoots, military families still need photos taken. If you can take good pictures and want to run your own business, being a photographer can be an ideal portable job for you.

As far as education goes, many photographers are self-taught. However, you can go to school and earn a certificate, associate’s, or even a bachelor’s in Art with a specialty in photography. Education and plenty of photography experience can set you apart and allow you to have a successful career. Taking a few business classes can also help if you want to become a professional photographer.

Read more: 10 Unexpected Careers For Military Spouses Covered by MYCAA


If you can write, becoming a writer can be such a smart way to have a portable career. You can work as a freelance writer and have your own clients, or you can work from home for a company. All you would need is a good internet connection and a laptop.

A degree would be a good idea. A bachelor’s in English or a similar major can help you find jobs as a writer or even as an editor. Having a strong portfolio is a must even if you don’t have as much education as you would like to have.

Having An Online Shop

In today’s world, you no longer have to have a brick and mortar building to have your own shop. You can do everything you need to do online. Whether you create something or buy something for resale, having an online shop and running your own business can be a portable career. You can sell digital or physical products and be as creative as you want to be.

Any degree in business would be helpful if you want to learn as much as you can about running your own business. One important caveat about running an online business? If you are at a military base overseas you may not be permitted to use a military post office box or on-post mailing services in support of your business. Military spouses at overseas bases have in the past been required to use a local post office service instead of on-base mail options which are typically reserved for personal and official mail only.

Hair Stylist

Becoming a hair stylist is something you can take with you from base to base. So many military spouses need to get their hair done. To get into this line of work, you need to go to cosmetology school. This will take you on average about a year. This can be a good plan for someone who wants to get started on their career in a short amount of time.

Make sure that your state approves the beauty school you go to. You will need to be licensed, and your state will need to approve of the school you went to. There also could be reciprocity agreements between states to make things easier when you move.

After you are licensed, you can then get a job working for a salon, open up your own, or work out of your home. There are a lot of options for working as a hair stylist based on what will work for you.

FCC Provider

FCC stands for Family Child Care and is a way to watch children within the Army, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard. The Navy calls it the CDH, Child Development Home. When you are an FCC/CDH provider, you will be able to watch children in your home, either on or off base. You can even be one if you are stationed overseas.

While you do not need a degree for this, a background in early childhood education would be a plus. You will have to have a background check and apply as well as abiding by specific rules and regulations. You may be required to undergo training and certification and the laws of your state or region will also apply in addition to any DoD or military standards.


You can work as an accountant or CPA (Certified Public Accountant) virtually and take your career with you. There is a difference in becoming a CPA or being a “regular accountant” but according to Indeed.com, “It typically takes four years to start a career as an accountant because the primary qualification for entry-level accountant roles is a bachelor’s degree.” In addition to degree requirements, CPAs must meet specific state and education requirements.

Social Media Manager

As a social media manager, you would be in charge of the social media accounts for a business or organization. You would need to know all about the different social media platforms and be able to multitask. A company could hire you or work as an independent contractor.

As far as education goes, a bachelor’s degree in communications, journalism, or marketing would be a good idea. You would need to know how to write and be able to learn the different ways to market a business online. This job can be done from anywhere and is a very portable career to get into.

Graphic Designer

As a graphic designer, you can work for yourself or for a company. Like the social media manager, you can easily move with this type of career.

You can work to get your degree online, or attend classes and earn a degree in graphic design. While a specific degree is not required, it would be beneficial to have some classes, so you are able to do well in this career field. Natural talent and education are exactly what you need to succeed as a graphic designer.

Virtual Assistant

As a virtual assistant, you would be fulfilling the role of a type of administrative assistant or secretary, except it would be entirely online. You could do work for a business, organization, blogger or anyone who needs this type of help.

You can be an independent contractor or an employee depending on the type of work you can find. You must be able to multitask and have an understanding of how the internet works, how to write emails, how to use social media, and even light graphic design work.

If you want to find other jobs for military spouse jobs, please visit our military spouse jobs page.

Education Options

Having education behind you will help you find a job in this field. While you do not need a specific degree, taking classes and gaining certificates would be a good idea. Having one in graphic design and marketing can be a good start.

If you are interested in starting a career that can follow you wherever military life might take you, this list can be a good start. Find something that you are interested in, get the education for it, and pursue your own dreams. It will be worth doing so.

Looking for education options that fit the careers listed above?

Use CollegeRecon’s Program Matcher to find programs for the career options listed above and many others. Active duty spouses may have an option to have their education paid for through MYCAA.  Check to see if you’re eligible and which programs are available.