Upskilling & Reskilling

Phase 4: Permanent Changes of Station

In addition to preparing your family and belongings for a PCS move, you should make employment-related arrangements. Determine a plan of action to maintain your employment readiness, whether that is to relocate your business; transfer your license; complete, pause, or transfer your schooling/education; or ensure a seamless transition in your remote position. Plan ahead and learn how to plug-in to your new community throughout a PCS move.

Phase 4: Permanent Changes of Station


Milestone 1: Stress-proof your move across state lines

Whether you want to relocate while maintaining a remote position, move a business across state lines, or continue your education at a new duty station, PCSs can be stressful! Plan ahead, seek support, and prioritize your self-care to help alleviate potential stress.

Strategies to Combat Moving Stress

  1. Start early. Once you know a move is on the horizon, begin planning! Research your new location, begin building your new network, and give yourself as much time as possible to complete essential tasks. Resource: Plan My Move
  2. Prioritize self-care. Continue with your self-care and stress-relieving activities. Keep your gear and supplies handy so you can keep up with healthy practices such as running, yoga, and journaling.
  3. Seek support. Lean on friends, colleagues, and other individual’s offers of help during your move preparation. Talk to a relocation specialty consultant from Military OneSource to help you plan your move.
  4. Get organized. Clear out clutter, keep important documents and valuables in a safe place, and know what tasks need to be completed before you move. You may find a checklist helpful!
  5. Get closure. Make time to say goodbye to special people and visit places you’ve enjoyed in your community.

*If you want additional support with move-related stress, know that professionals are available to help you. Seek non-medical counseling from Military OneSource or a Military and Family Life Counselor.

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Evaluating whether to move with your military service member

Military families may choose to live apart for many reasons, with many reporting benefits such as enhanced career opportunities and their own or their children’s education. This voluntary separation is often referred to as being a geographical bachelor(ette) or geo-baching. Whether geo-baching is right for you may depend on factors such as the costs of maintaining two households and travel expenses, the anticipated duration of the separation, emotional challenges of being apart, and the struggles of added household and child care responsibilities.

Key Finding

1 in 3 say they have chosen to live apart from their spouse – geo-baching – specifically to accommodate their work or education. Higher on average for Officers (39% as compared to Enlisted (30%). Higher on average for those with a Grad/Professional degree (41%) as compared to those with a 4-year degree or below (28%). Higher on average for those currently pursuing full-time work (43%).

Chosen to live apart from their spouse (Geo-baching)
Chosen to live apart from their spouse (geo-baching)
specifically to accommodate their work or education
Grad/Professional degree41
4-year degree or below28
Currently pursuing full-time work43

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Explore whether your education program will successfully move with you

The best time to determine if a training or educational program can move with you is before you enroll. If you are just starting or considering a career shift, explore resources that can help you identify some highly portable careers. If an unanticipated change in your family’s timeline or schedule has you wondering if you can maintain your connection with your current program or training, here are some suggestions to help you decide.

Helpful Hints When Considering Training and Education As a Military Spouse

Start with a discipline that is portable

When starting your search for educational or training programs, particularly if it’s a new area of study, review some categories of portable career fields at My Career Advancement Account. Even if you’re not eligible for MyCAA, these are fields that have been identified as portable and viable for military spouses.

Seek out specialized support

If your training or education program is completed online in an asynchronous fashion, your move may temporarily impact your ability to fulfill class obligations. If the program is offered synchronously, requires in-person interaction or is held in a traditional classroom setting, the military lifestyle can impact your attendance. Begin to discuss your situation with an academic advisor or military student liaison/military support team as soon as possible. These individuals may have suggestions for ways you can maintain your enrollment and reach your goals.

Assess the consequences of your move 

Even if you are able to receive specialized support, there may still be consequences associated with your move such as lost credit, a break in your training, or the need to transfer credits to another institution. Weigh the costs of your move with the possibility of delaying your move until you complete your training or degree program.

If the upskilling or training you are receiving is being offered from your employer, you may have two concerns. First, if you are not already a remote employee, you may need to determine if your current job will allow for portability due to PCS. Also, if you were receiving additional training or education in anticipation of a promotion, you may need to determine if that is an option if you transition to a remote status.

Review Pitch Remote Work to your Current Employer

Ask for accommodations

Once you understand the full scope of your situation, discuss your move with those providing the training or managing the educational plan to see if there are any modifications that can be made to accommodate your family’s move. This can include transferring credits to another school, moving your educational experience online, or transitioning to a remote position within your company.

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Determining licensure and certification reciprocity

If your profession requires a license or certification, know that many states offer license reciprocity, temporary licenses and extended license requirement timelines to make it possible for military spouses to continue in their careers. You may also be eligible for reimbursement for qualified re-licensing or re-certification fees incurred following a PCS move.

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Up Next: Milestone 2: Concerns about family needs