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While most certifications are national (have the same requirements in every state), requirements for occupational licenses vary by state. Not all states license the same occupations, and for those that do, requirements can differ substantially.

Veterans and spouses have to continually find out if a license they hold in one state is accepted and recognized in another. Thirty-five percent of military spouses work in professions that require state licenses, an obstacle to employment after relocation that some states are addressing through legislation, according to the Society for Human Resource Management.

Some states will give consideration to individuals licensed in another state or based on military experience. For example, the licensing board may:

  • Recognize licenses granted by other states as equivalent, called “reciprocity.”
  • Issue a license based on the individual having met similar requirements out of state, called “endorsement” or “license by credentials.”
  • Credit equivalent out-of-state training, education and examinations.

If your company is one whose jobs require licensing and certifications, assisting a veteran or spouse with this sometimes difficult process will help them accelerate the time it will take to jump into work more quickly for you. And you will find that it also helps with their frame of mind and loyalty when you help them complete the process.

Two examples of how the government and businesses are helping veterans with licensing:

  • A public-private partnership in Michigan called Michigan Shifting Careers provides information and technology training and certification to Michigan veterans. The effort involves the state’s Veterans’ Services Division, the Michigan National Guard, and companies including Cisco and New Horizons. Look out for similar opportunities to get involved or inform your veteran employees in your state.
  • The Military Commercial Driver’s License Act of 2012 permits states to issue commercial driver’s licenses to members of the military who are stationed in a state but not a resident of that state. Read more here.