Military Spouse Licensure Portability Examination

Research Report

The well-being of military spouses can significantly impact Service members. Moreover, military spouses’ well-being is influenced by several factors, such as their career options and mobility of employment. Since many military spouses work in careers that require licenses or credentials, it is important to understand how they can maintain their licensure as they navigate the many changes (e.g., multiple relocations) military families experience. This report presents a review of state legislation that addresses portability of military spouse licensure as well as findings from interviews of staff at occupational boards as to how the legislation is implemented.  Accompanying this report are two-page summaries of the process to transfer licenses and credentials for military spouses in each state who are licensed in six occupations: cosmetology, dental hygiene, massage therapy, mental health counseling, occupational therapy, and real estate commission. The report concludes with recommendations for professionals who work with and on behalf of military families to consider as they advocate for and support efforts to improve licensure portability for military spouses.


Combined Report (Summary plus all State Reports)
Summary (no State Reports)
Frequently Asked Questions about the Military Spouse Licensure Portability Examination Project


State Reports

Alabama Indiana Nebraska South Carolina
Alaska Iowa Nevada South Dakota
Arizona Kansas New Hampshire Tennessee
Arkansas Kentucky New Jersey Texas
California Louisiana New Mexico Utah
Colorado Maine New York Vermont
Connecticut Maryland North Carolina Virginia
Delaware Massachusetts North Dakota Washington
Florida Michigan Ohio Washington D.C.
Georgia Minnesota Oklahoma West Virginia
Hawaii Mississippi Oregon Wisconsin
Idaho Missouri Pennsylvania Wyoming
Illinois Montana Rhode Island


Richmond, A., Mischel, E., Smischney, T., Lu, Z., Root, H., Otto, M., ... Borden, L. (2017). Military Spouse Licensure Portability Examination. Report submitted to the U.S. Department of Defense.