State Efforts to Improve License Portability for Spouses Miss Mark

State lawmakers have begun to take aim at the hurdles facing military spouses striving to maintain a career as they move across the country, but so far legislation addressing the portability of professional certifications and licenses has been uneven, according to a panel discussion last week.

After moving to Virginia, one spouse, a hairdresser, had to spend four months satisfying state requirements calling for her to obtain notarized copies of the licenses she previously earned in five others states.

“Who’s your advocate when you’re that one spouse trying to get a governing body to expedite?” Eddy Mentzer, DOD’s program manager for spouse education and career opportunities, said April 28 at the American Legion’s National Credentialing Summit in Washington. “Many spouses don’t have the resources.”

The challenge is particularly difficult for teachers due to the array of licensure requirements, reports Military Times.

Third Way, a Washington think tank, has recommended creating a common application for teacher licensure that states could opt into. States would set a minimum bar for the licensing standards, with the ability to add requirements for particular teaching assignments.

“It would give teachers the opportunity to more freely and easily move their licensure across state lines,” said Tamara Hiler, policy advisor for education for the organization.

But even though no such agreement has yet been reached, “in reality, reciprocity is growing,” with states increasingly accepting candidates with teaching certificates from other states, said Emily Feistritzer, the head of an online teacher preparatory program for college graduates.

Dan Cohen
Dan Cohen
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