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Business Analyst: Portable Career Option for Military Spouses

The nomadic lifestyle of a military spouse can present an array of challenges, including running a household and the constant stress of worrying about the safety of the other spouse.

Earning a second income can also be an issue, particularly given the potential difficulty of finding a vocation that accommodates a lifestyle that often involves relocation.

Federal statistics indicate that unemployment is higher for military spouses compared with the general population. Two studies from RAND Corporation found that between between 42% and 48% of military spouses are not employed, compared to 25.5% of civilian spouses, according to a 2016 report from Blue Star Families, a nonprofit that serves military families.

For military spouses seeking a portable career option, the field of business analysis may offer options. In addition to business analyst, the profession also includes job titles such as process analyst and management consultant, according to the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA).

Tasks and responsibilities differ depending on the industry, but the IIBA notes that a common thread runs through the profession regardless of job title: “Business analysts work across all levels of an organization and may be involved in everything from defining strategy, to creating the enterprise architecture, to taking a leadership role by defining the goals and requirements for programs and projects or supporting continuous improvement in its technology and processes.”

Job Outlook and Salary for Business Analysts

As business operations become more complex and global competition increases, there will likely be a growing need for experienced and talented business analysts who can help companies cut costs and improve efficiency.

For example, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts 14% job growth for management analysts through 2024, fueled in part by rising demand for consultants.

The median annual wage for management analysts was $81,330 in May 2016, reported by the BLS. Local market conditions will affect the job outlook and salary potential of business analysts, as will an individual’s educational qualifications and experience level.

Education and Training for Business Analysts

A bachelor’s degree typically is a minimum requirement for a career in business analysis and some employers will require candidates to have advanced educational qualifications. Analysts often have degrees in disciplines such as business, accounting, computer and information science, and marketing.

For military spouses juggling numerous responsibilities and frequent relocations, earning a degree online could be an excellent option, offering them the flexibility and convenience of 24/7 access to learning from any location.

After entering the profession, analysts can seek certifications from organizations such as the IIBA and the Institute of Management Consultants USA. They may also seek to deepen their knowledge of a specific industry or discipline, such as healthcare, government or finance.

The IIBA identifies core skills in which analysts must become competent, including analytical thinking, problem-solving, business knowledge, interaction skills, software application and communication skills.

Resources for Military Spouses

Military spouses can seek help on a number of fronts. The Department of Defense’s Military Spouse Employment Partnership provides job preparedness assistance, including expert advice, and resume and cover letter templates. It also offers recruitment assistance, connecting military spouses with private employers.

Military spouses hoping to pursue a degree could also qualify for help in paying for school. Under the Post-9/11 GI Bill®, eligible servicemembers can transfer unused education benefits to a spouse.

GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).  More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government web site at www.benefits.va.gov/gibill.

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