Discovering your passion
Nursing is a popular career choice among military spouses. Many nurses strive to continue their education for an advanced degree to practice as a nurse anesthetist, nurse midwife or nurse practitioner. These three nursing professions are referred to as advanced practice registered nurses, and their responsibilities include coordinating patient care and providing primary and specialty health care. If you are considering a career as an advanced practice registered nurse, review the Research Occupations tool on MySECO and take self-assessments to make sure your skills and interests align with this career path.
Education and training
The education requirements necessary to find employment as an advanced practice registered nurse are very specific and require additional years of study and clinical work. All states require advanced practice registered nurses to have a master's degree in their specific occupation. Depending on your specialty field and career field, you may also be required to obtain advanced licenses in addition to the standard nursing licenses.
Most accredited master's-level nursing programs are an additional three years in length, following completion of an accredited registered nursing program. College Scorecard is a great starting point for researching and selecting an education institution. When you visit College Scorecard, search by program/degree, location, size and more to find a program of study near you. You can also use the Scholarship Finder on MySECO to assist with locating funding relevant to the military community to help pay for classes.
Regardless of your specialty field, all states, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories require registered nurses to have passed the NCLEX – RN, or National Council Licensure Examination, and obtain a nursing license.
In addition, depending on your specific field of practice, you will also be required to have specialty certifications and licenses. Because licensure requirements vary by state, you will need to contact your state board to find your specific requirements. Be sure to visit the Department of Labor Military Spouse License Recognition Map for up-to-date legislation and licensure information for your specific state. If you move due to a PCS, your service branch can now help reimburse licensure and certification costs up to $500. Learn more.
You can find specific licensing information related to your occupation below:
- National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists offers the National Certification Examination. Certified registered nurse anesthetists must recertify every four years.
- The American Midwifery Certification Board offers the Certified Nurse-Midwife and Certified Midwife designations. Individuals with these designations must recertify every five years.
- Because of the large number of populations with whom nurse practitioners may work and the number of specialty areas in which they may practice, a number of certification exams exist for nurse practitioners. Certifications are available from a number of professional organizations, including the American Nurses Credentialing Center and the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board.
Once you are confident you have the necessary education and licensure requirements, it's time to find a job in your occupation. One of the first places to look is the Military Spouse Employment Partnership Job Search. Hundreds of partner employers have made the commitment to recruit, hire, promote and retain military spouses in portable careers. Search the MSEP Job Search using the keywords ’Anesthetist,’ ‘Midwife’ or ’Practitioner’ to find job listings with MSEP companies and organizations that may include the following:
- Aliron International
- Apollo Group/University of Phoenix
- Cedars-Sinai Health System
- DaVita Inc.
- Kaiser Permanente
- Loyal Source Government Services
- UnitedHealth Group
- HCA Healthcare
You can also search for advanced practice registered nurse positions using the MySECO Job Search Tools, which include the following:
Professional organizations and networking
You may wish to consider joining a professional organization in your career field to gain a better understanding of current industry trends in the nursing profession. Professional organizations are great ways to continue your education through workshops and conferences, which will add to your transferable skill set as you move. Networking with other professionals in your industry will give you an edge in meeting the right people who may have the connections you need to obtain an interview or restart your career at your new location. They may provide important information about the nursing field, such as new technology, continuing education and practicing self-care while helping others. Read The Value of Professional Associations for more information on how becoming a member can help enhance your career.
To explore additional information related to starting your career as an advanced practice registered nurse, check out the Research Occupations tool on MySECO. Enter the keywords 'Nurse Practitioners,' 'Nurse Anesthetists' or 'Nurse Midwives' to learn more about the occupational overview for your specialty field.
If you need additional information on obtaining the proper license or certification as part of your specialty field, review the Advantages of Licensure article in the Education, Training and Licensing lifecycle stage of MySECO. You can also speak with a SECO career coach by calling Military OneSource at 800-342-9647 or use the Live Chat feature on MySECO to discuss any questions or concerns you may have. Coaches are available to review your resume, practice interviewing, discuss networking or assist you in understanding employer requirements for this field.