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4 Career Paths For Military Spouses Overseas

OCONUS Military Spouse Careers

Ideas for OCONUS Spouse Career Paths

The appeal of a nursing degree to a military spouse is undeniable. If they are lucky, they will be stationed near a fairly large town with plenty of health care positions to be filled. However, some will be limited to opportunities on the base alone. This is the much more likely scenario for overseas (OCONUS) postings.

The medical facility positions are highly sought after, and therefore very difficult to get. Working off base is an entirely different undertaking, with additional visa requirements and host country taxes, and in most cases a likely language barrier. Not to mention that nursing simply isn’t for everyone. Here are four more unique paths with qualifications that can be earned remotely and used for jobs that can be performed online and overseas with ease.

Before You Start

The career fields below are all important options to consider, but if you aren’t sure what kind of remote work you’re interested in, it pays to research the options for military spouses. One important resource is Military OneSource’s list of remote work options and employers, which can give you a quick look at the options available for future consideration.

Earn a Medical Coding Certificate

This could be a good alternative for someone who has an interest in the medical field, but cannot get a position on base. Many medical coding jobs can be done remotely, and they pay very well— the average annual salary is around $55k.

A medical coder takes in information on patients and their treatments and translates them into billable codes for the use of the hospital and insurance companies. All you need to start in this field is a certification, of which there are several types to choose from. The foremost certification associations are the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), and the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC).

Become a Personal Trainer

Physical fitness is hugely important in the military. As a certified personal trainer, you could help active duty members to pass their yearly physical training test, as well as work with spouses and dependents who might feel overwhelmed or uninspired by the gym. You could also offer your services completely online, working with clients on diet and exercise planning.

To start a personal training certification program, you need a high school diploma or GED, as well as certifications in CPR and AED (automated external defibrillator). These can be completed with organizations like the American Red Cross. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and Ace Fitness are two of many online certification programs for personal training.

Get a Degree in Library and Information Science

A degree in library sciences offers surprisingly broad utility. Not only would it make you eligible for positions in base libraries and schools, but also in off base learning institutions (most people working and studying at European Universities are highly proficient in it). Even places like museums and art galleries require staff with the knowledge base that this degree provides. There are also many opportunities for remote jobs with a degree in this field, such as:

  • Archivist
  • Tutor
  • Researcher
  • Freelance Writer

Below are some fully online programs in this field of study, of which there are many more to choose from—just be sure the program is accredited by the American Library Association (ALA). You can use this school finder app from CollegeRecon to search for this program at military friendly institutions.

Be a Virtual Assistant

In the current climate, many large companies are looking to permanently reduce the number of their on-site employees; especially those whose jobs can be done remotely. This makes now the perfect time to become a virtual assistant.

Virtual Assistants might focus on blogging, social media interaction, general administration, scheduling, content creation, or likely some combination of these. If you are detail-oriented and able to multi-task —two of the military spouse’s strongest traits—this could be a great career to travel with you. A degree is not required to get started, either. There are several ways you could find work in this field:

  • Build your business from the ground up, by making a website and networking to find clients
  • Utilize a job board platform like Flexjobs 
  • Work for a company that hires virtual assistants out to other clients, like Virtual Assistant Talent

Building a career while moving around the world can be so difficult as to feel impossible at times. The key is to utilize your hard-learned resiliency as a military spouse, and not be afraid to think creatively about how you could best use your talents.