Fifty military spouses living in the United States and abroad have the opportunity to earn an Accredited Financial Counselor designation that allows them to offer one-on-one financial and group counseling and education to service members and their families, according to a recent FINRA announcement.

The FINRA Foundation Military Spouse Fellowship program, which was first launched in 2006, is a collaborative partnership administered by the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education, the FINRA Investor Education Foundation and the National Military Family Association.

According to Gerri Walsh, president of the FINRA Foundation, military personnel and their families face unique financial challenges complicated by frequent moves and deployments. As well as, she added, that un- or underemployment among military spouses is common.

“This fellowship program helps military spouses achieve career goals and aspirations by enhancing job-related marketability,” Walsh said in a statement. “The return on this investment helps increase the financial capability of military families who receive the knowledge and tools they need to make prudent saving and investing decisions.”

Those participating in the fellowship undergo rigorous training, coursework and experiential hours to gain hands-on experience, all at no cost.

Following completion of the program, participants are certified to support the military community as financial counselors at family readiness and support centers, credit counseling and tax centers, military relief societies and credit unions throughout the U.S. and internationally.

Many military employers, such as credit unions, financial aid offices and community service centers, need well-trained financial counselors to meet the increasing demand for financial counseling services—from budgeting and credit management to financially preparing families for Permanent Change of Station moves and deployments, according to FINRA.

Using the Accredited Financial Counselor training, military spouses can apply their own experiences and help more military families while building a rewarding career that is flexible and can conform to the demands of the military family lifestyle.

“No one understands the financial challenges of being a mobile military family quite like a military spouse,”

According to Joyce Wessel Raezer, executive director of National Military Family Association, the FINRA Foundation Military Spouse Fellowship gives these military spouses a “meaningful, portable career that creates financial stability for their family.”

“The FINRA Foundation Fellows have the boots-on-the-ground perspective to provide encouragement and use the skills they’ve learned to help other military families build a brighter financial future,” Raezer said in a statement.

The 50 Fellows are spouses of currently serving, or retired, service members in the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and National Guard. They were selected from a competitive pool of applicants and will immediately begin their training in military communities worldwide. The 2018 class of spouse Fellows includes 12 spouses who are stationed overseas.

Recipients of the FINRA Foundation Military Spouse Fellowship commit to completing the courses of study and working in the financial counseling field serving their communities.

Since its inception, the program has awarded more than 1,536 fellowships to military spouses. While working toward the Accredited Financial Counselor credential, Fellows have provided financial counseling and education to more than 185,000 service members and spent more than 464,000 hours helping military families reach their financial goals in the United States and around the world.