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We all benefit from the sacrifice that members of the military make to keep us safe. Less noticed are the sacrifices made by military families. Frequent relocation and childcare can make it difficult to find steady, rewarding employment.

Fortunately, we live in an economy that’s more amenable to temporary and mobile employment than ever before. Even without the challenges of a military lifestyle, workers are increasingly choosing to work at home and be their own boss. There are even good careers for anyone who just wants to travel. You just need to know where to look.

Some people already have the skills for a new career. Others may need additional education to build the tools to succeed. Schools like Vista College have a wide variety of programs designed to help military spouses and workers who travel find portable careers. There are many ways to find employment that accompanies a military lifestyle. In the long run, the best job is the one that fits your situation, takes advantage of your skills, and gives you what you want out of a career. You’ll have to find what works for you, but here are a few ideas to get you started.

Start Your Portable Career With USAA

If you’re going to work for a company, it’s important for the company to understand the challenges of a military lifestyle. USAA has a reputation for being understanding and supportive of military families. The company has strong military connections, making it easier to adapt to the unique challenges facing you and your family.

As an employee of the USAA, you benefit from their experience providing good careers for those who travel. They provide employment opportunities across the country so you don’t have to start fresh every time your family relocates. Working for a large company can also give you security and peace of mind beyond what working from home can provide — you won’t need to build your client base again every time you move.

Since USAA frequently gives its employees portable opportunities, you may be able to find a permanent position that you can take with you. That way you don’t need to worry about how to find work after your next relocation.

USAA offers a wide variety of positions, so you can find a career that nurtures your particular talents. They provide jobs for call center operators, insurance processors, claims adjustors, financial advisors, retirement planners, human resources officers, marketing managers, and public relations representatives. Vista College can help prepare you for a job with USAA with a wide variety of programs well-suited to military spouses. With such a wide variety of fields to work in, you’ll find a range of careers to choose from.

Find Good Careers for Those Who Travel With TriWest Health Alliance

TriWest Health Alliance is another employer with a proven track record of providing quality employment to military spouses. They offer health services to the military community only. Because of this specialty, they not only have experience working with military families, but they also have a strong interest in supporting members of that community. The more they invest in the military community, the better they do. Moreover, military spouses have a deep understanding of the needs of TriWest’s clients. It’s a match made in heaven.

TRICARE is a program that provides health services to service members and their families, whether they’re Active Duty, Guard, Reserve, or retired uniformed service members. Getting a good job at TriWest could begin in one of the many Healthcare diploma and degree programs at Vista College. One advantage of a job in military health care is the pride you’ll feel from contributing to the care of your community. You’ll know that the work you do goes toward helping your friends and neighbors receive the services they need.

TriWest is committed to their “We Care” program for employees who are military spouses. The “We Care” program offers flexible work hours during deployments, paid time to attend your spouse’s homecoming, a work hour reduction (without a cutback in your full-time benefits), assistance with childcare, and free phone card minutes. They hope this program helps make it easier on military spouses seeking portable work.

The Military Spouse Foundation lists the following companies as supportive of military spouses:

  • AlliedBarton Security Services
  • Adecco Group NA
  • West Corporation
  • T-Mobile
  • CSC
  • Kelly Services
  • Johnson Controls
  • Sears Holding Corp.
  • Health Net
  • Verizon
  • IAP Worldwide Services
  • Waste Management
  • 24-Hour Fitness
  • CB Richard Ellis
  • United Retail
  • Dominion Resource Services

Work for Yourself as a Massage Therapist

Another way to contribute to the health of your community is as a massage therapist. Health care is one of the fastest growing sectors of the economy. Providers of all sorts are the beneficiaries. Massage therapists can help active and retired service members with nagging injuries as well as military community members with chronic pain, stiffness, and stress. As a massage therapist, you get the benefit of providing direct relief to friends and colleagues in your community.

A career in massage therapy typically begins with training in the field.

Massage therapy is also an excellent portable career. There are massage therapy clinics and practices across the country. With therapist skills easily transferable between clinics, training at a new facility is minimal. Many therapists run their own practice, working out of their home or making house calls. Having an independent, portable business means the only thing you need to rebuild after relocation is your local client base.

Refine Your Taste as a Personal Chef

Many military spouses enjoy making healthy and delicious food for their families. If cooking is a passion of yours, consider a career as a personal chef. A small business in the hospitality industry can range from a homemade pie stall at a local farmer’s market to a sophisticated catering operation. As a personal chef, you’ll prepare food for parties, social gatherings, and family dinners. Since personal chefs often have regular clients, they get to experiment and refine their skills by making different meals for different social occasions.

For personal chefs, it isn’t just fun and games in the kitchen. Running your own food business takes marketing, planning, branding, and administration skills as well as cooking talent. While personal chefs have various levels of formal cooking training — from amateur/home cooks to upscale cooking academies — a business administration program may help you successfully get your kitchen business off the ground.

Work Anywhere as a Freelance Writer

If you have a way with words, freelance writing might be the perfect portable career for you. Writing is not the most lucrative career, but it’s perfectly mobile — it doesn’t matter where you are and whether or not you move. As long as you have an Internet connection, you can research, write, and file your assignments. Freelance writing is also flexible. You can take on more or less writing as you need to work around your family schedule or spousal deployments.

Freelance writing takes many forms. If you’re a lover of books or music, you can write reviews online or for a local newspaper. As a photography or technology enthusiast, you could write for blogs or start your own. Writing marketing copy or website content can be a bit more dry, but also more lucrative. Some writers find work editing academic publications or legal documents. Ultimately, freelance writers work in a variety of fields. It’s up to you to find the one that best fits your expertise.

Make the Web Beautiful as a Graphic Designer

Graphic design is one of the best careers for military spouses. It has maximum portability and the potential for high income. As with writing, your clients can come from anywhere and connect with you primarily through the Internet. This means you don’t have to rebuild your customer base every time you relocate. Since graphic design is a highly sought-after set of technical skills, it can be very lucrative.

With the perfect combination of artistic and practical thinking, graphic design makes the web a better place. The web is a large and growing part of our world, and graphic designers make it more beautiful. Perhaps more importantly, they make it usable. Not everyone is web literate — whether in the military community or the rest of the world — and graphic designers help people get important health, financial, and support services.

Both graphic designers and freelance writers are frequently self-employed. The business side of self-employment is often as important as the work itself. Learning about how to run a business can be a great start in the Business Administration and Management programs at Vista College.

Since web programming and graphic design positions are in-demand fields basis, you can easily move between running your own business and working a more traditional job. In some deployments, you could work for a local tech company. When you move, you could start your own business and then wind down your other clients if you got a lucrative contract. This kind of flexibility is one of the primary benefits of being a graphic designer.

Help People on the Move as a Virtual Assistant

Young businesswoman talking on telephone and using computer

Due to the popularity of the hit book “The 4 Hour Work Week,” virtual assistants are more visible than ever before. As a virtual assistant, people will hire you to help run their business and personal lives. You answer email, perform research, and run virtual errands — anything your clients need to help make their lives easier.

A common stereotype about assistants is that they only work for powerful business executives. However, virtual assistants are now working for a wide variety of people. Instead of working full time for one client, you may have several clients who only use your services a few hours a week. A career as a virtual assistant can begin with training as an executive assistant in the Executive Administrative Assistant Associates Degree at Vista College.

Virtual assistants do different things every day. And Working for different clients brings some variety to your daily workload. Helping your clients with research and business administration will expose you to different areas of expertise. There is undoubtedly some grunt work involved, but being a virtual assistant has the potential to help expand your horizons.

Inspire Communities as a Social Media Manager

Social media strategies are a key component of any modern marketing plan. Companies will often outsource their social media work to an expert who will try to promote brand engagement through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and other networks. That’s where you come in. As a social media manager, you promote the company’s products on the web with contests, updates, and blog posts.

You also engage directly with customers. Social media managers answer questions and deal with customer complaints. You tweet replies and respond to posts on Facebook or Tumblr. This can be a fun way to interact with people without leaving your home. Social media managers have the opportunity to take a creative, light-hearted approach to their work while still being an essential piece of the modern marketing puzzle.

Stay Fit as a Personal Trainer

If you’re active and athletic, consider a career as a personal trainer. Many portable careers involve sitting at a computer much of the day, but personal trainers are up and moving. You’ll be able to stay healthy yourself while you encourage others to exercise.

A career as a personal trainer is one of the more social options for a military spouse. You can meet clients face-to-face every day and it can help you make friends in new places. Personal training is a great line of work if you like to be around people and get stir-crazy if you’re cooped up for too long.

As a personal trainer, you also have the opportunity to work at your local gym. Not only will this give you access to fitness equipment, but you’ll also have the chance to teach yoga or spin classes. Working in the fitness field will give you the flexibility to make your own hours while staying active and social throughout the day.

Change the World as an Entrepreneur

Most portable careers require an entrepreneurial spirit. Many involve starting your own business. As an entrepreneur, you can build a home business that doesn’t necessarily fit into a set career path. You could invent a unique product or service. You could take an existing service and make it better. As an entrepreneur, the sky’s the limit.

Your home business can be as big or as small as you would like. Many homemakers sell crafts or clothing online using sites like Etsy. You could sell vintage goods at local markets and fairs, or you could set your sights higher. Maybe you plan to program an app that will change how people do things, or start an industry-leading consulting firm.

Running your own business is as flexible and portable as any career while placing no limits on your creativity and drive. It could start with an idea, or start with a Vista College diploma or degree in Business Administration or Business Management. As an entrepreneur, you can take your business as far as your ambition and talent will take you.

Create the Right Plan

Military spouses face unique challenges in the job market. Traditional office jobs are often incompatible with childcare responsibilities and, when the family relocates, you have to start all over again. Choosing from this list of portable careers will help you find the stability, income, and fulfillment that elude many military spouses. With the right plan, you can build a career that’s every bit as rewarding as a traditional career.

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