Members of the Air Force and Space Force who get permanent change of station (PCS) orders have to pack up their professional and personal spaces, move to the new assignment, and start their life in the new location.
Married couples face an additional challenge–how does the military spouse pack up their career and move it across the country?
Air Force and Space Force spouses with professional licenses for state-regulated occupations may have the option to transfer their licenses to the new state and be compensated by the DoD for doing so.
Federal laws passed in 2022 make it easier to perform these transfers thanks to legislation requiring the states to accept military spouse licenses (all branches of the U.S. military) from other states.
This is, more or less, a federal enhancement of state reciprocity programs active prior to the new law; Air Force and Space Force spouses may have it easier when trying to transfer a professional license–but the transfer must be due to a permanent change of station move.
Read more: Find Jobs for Military Spouses
Air Force/Space Force Spouse Licensure Reimbursement Policy
Spouses of service members “of any rank” may be eligible to apply, and typically such transfers qualify when they are for the same type of license or its equivalent and the license travels across state lines.
Air Force and Space Force define their “qualified relicensing costs” as “any required exam costs or registration fees set by the new state so the spouse can keep working in their current profession”.
Up to $1,000 in reimbursement is offered per move.
Documents You Need To Apply For An Air Force or Space Force Spouse License Transfer
- Copy of PCS orders or equivalent
- Copy of spouse’s previous state occupational license or certification
- Paid receipt showing the new state fees
Apply for reimbursement after the new state license or certification arrives.
How To Apply For An Air Force or Space Force Spouse License Transfer
Gather the documentation listed above and make an appointment with your gaining base’s Finance Office.
>>Learn about Spouse and dependent military benefits
Costs Not Covered by the Spouse Professional License Transfer Policy
Air Force policy for this program includes a list of expenses that cannot be repaid under this program They include, but may not be limited to:
- Costs not associated with PCS moves;
- Expenses related to failed attempts to obtain or transfer licensure;
- License transfer costs associated with separation or retirement orders;
- Reimbursement is not authorized for “moves upon accession” or the Career Intermission Program.
Things to Know About Transferring Licenses From State to State
There is a time limit. You generally have 24 months to apply for the reimbursement once you have been reassigned.
This benefit is a reimbursement. The government will not pay you or the appropriate agency in advance. You will be expected to pay for the transfer upfront and apply to be reimbursed.
Remember that your gaining or losing state may have different license transfer guidelines than others. The “gaining state” may require more credentialing for the same type of license, or it may not have as many requirements depending on circumstances.
About the author
Joe Wallace is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter/editor for Air Force Television News and the Pentagon Channel. His freelance work includes contract work for Motorola, VALoans.com, and Credit Karma. He is co-founder of Dim Art House in Springfield, Illinois, and spends his non-writing time as an abstract painter, independent publisher, and occasional filmmaker.