S.C. speeds up licensing

By Ms. Elyssa Vondra (Jackson)November 9, 2018

Moving frequently makes maintaining employment difficult for military spouses; a simplified licensure procedure in South Carolina is easing the challenge.

The accelerated process for military spouses helps them get back on their feet more quickly after relocating to the state.

That's good for Fort Jackson Families, said Danita Johnson of Army Community Service.

A simplified protocol was adopted in 2003.

A further streamlined system went into effect last month.

Between 2003 and October 2018, military spouses were assisted on a "case-by-case basis," said Lesia Shannon Kudelka, communications director and ombudsman for the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation.

"(The state is) now taking advantage of process improvements to make (its) ability to assist them more efficient by creating a uniform military spouses licensure process," Kudelka added.

Article 3, Miscellaneous Licensure Provisions for Military Personnel in the South Carolina Code of Laws details the policy for licensing the state's military spouses.

Spouses of active duty military members with a current professional license or certification applying for the same license or certification in South Carolina are eligible.

It's done to create "better employment opportunities," the Code of Laws states.

"The state of South Carolina appreciates the service of our military divisions," Kudelka said.

"This law is an attempt to expediently license an individual's spouse currently holding a license in good standing in another state, so they can work in South Carolina."

Johnson, a military spouse herself, understands the challenge they face.

Being uprooted is a regular feature of the lifestyle.

"(Military Families) move around a lot," she said. Fort Jackson does whatever it can to support them, she added.

Altering licensing requirements represents one statewide effort.

"It will give the military spouse the ability to continue working," Johnson said.

There are more than 40 boards -- from cosmetology to engineering to dentistry to nursing.

Spouses can call the boards representing their fields to learn more about their requirements.

They can start before transitioning to the state to prevent as much of a lapse in employment as possible, Johnson added.

Spouses can either apply for a temporary or permanent license.

Temporary licenses last one year and can't be renewed.

The application is free, but other charges -- home state verification of an active license and a criminal background check fee -- may apply.

A permanent license can be applied for after a temporary license becomes inactive.

Permanent licenses are valid for up to two years and can be renewed.

To apply for either, military spouses are required to fill out the Military Spouse Expedited Licensure Request Form.

They need to submit an application and their spouse's orders that detail duty assignment dates.

An application fee must be paid to obtain a permanent license.

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