How Does Military Spouse Preference Work?

Military Spouse Preference

Your Employment Questions Answered: How Does Military Spouse Preference Work?

Sometimes the best way to learn something new is by seeking advice from those who have been there. Asking questions is how we learn about new resources or can give us perspectives that we might never have thought about before. When you ask a question, you can gain the knowledge you are looking for that will help you figure out what you need to know to move forward, whatever the subject might be.

In many cases, military spouses have to move every few years with their service members. Because of this, having and maintaining a career can sometimes be difficult. You might feel as if you have to start over or have a disadvantage as a military spouse working on your career. The good news is that the DoD has established a Military Spouse Preference (MSP) program. Here is what you need to know about it.

Question: Can you tell me more about how to use the Military Spouse Preference (MSP)?

I am a new military spouse and we are about to PCS from Little Rock to Ramstein in Germany. I work in a public library as their grant coordinator. I have my master’s degree in higher education as well as a graduate certificate in sustainability. I would like to find something in the public service sector, either in government or education, once I get to Ramstein.

How would military spouse preference work? How do I apply for it? Is there a limited number of times you can use it?


With the Military Spouse Preference (MSP) program, you can help build your career as you move from duty station to duty station. MSP doesn’t automatically give you the job. You still need to qualify for the job, apply, and go through the employment process. But it can help you.


In order to be eligible for Military Spouse Preference (MSP), you will need to either be married to an active duty service member, including a full-time national guard, be married to a service member or veteran with a 100% service-related disability, or a widow or widower of a service member.

As an active duty service member spouse, you will also need to make sure that you were married to your service member before they PCSd to the new duty station, which is clear that you did. The job you are looking at applying for will need to be in the commuting area of your sponsor’s new duty station.

How to Apply

You can apply right at giving you a head start before you get to your new duty station. Make sure the job states, “Military Spouses” with the green wedding rings on it. In your case, looking for overseas locations, you should also see the “Military Spouse Preference (MSP) for Overseas Employment.” You will need to create a account to be able to apply.

Keep in mind that you can apply for as many jobs as you would like but once you get an offer, whether you accept or decline it, you can’t use MSP at your current duty station again unless the job is just temporary.

You will need to show proof of marriage, a copy of your spouse’s PCS orders that have you listed as a family member, and proof that they are active duty, have been disabled, or have passed away.

More Information

You can read more about applying at on their website, and read more about military spouse employment help in our military spouse section on Career Recon.