Graduate Certificate in Secondary Transition Leadership

Earn your Graduate Certificate in Secondary Transition Leadership from the George Washington University (GW) and gain the required knowledge, skills and competencies to assist youth and young adults with disabilities as they transition to postsecondary opportunities.

In this certificate program, you will focus on social justice as you join a community of transition leaders from across the country, learning to design and implement transition and career assessment strategies to help ensure the success of youth as they transition to adult life.


Required (12 credit hours)

SPED 6230 Person-Centered Assessment Practices
SPED 6233 Culturally Responsive Curriculum in Special Education
    or SPED 6235 Person Centered Career Development Practices and Outcomes
SPED 6236 Foundations of Transition Discoveries Youth Driven Practice
SPED 6255 Collaboration with Diverse Youth, Families and Stakeholders

Certificate Outcomes

With this certificate program’s applied curriculum, you will build on your knowledge, competencies and skills to:

  • Empower youth to achieve successful post-school outcomes through building your knowledge of career development, youth development, youth leadership, and self-determination.
  • Drive effective transition planning to increase employment and post-secondary education success of youth, as a result of building your competencies in transition and career assessment practices.
  • Capitalize on the power of family engagement and collaboration across systems to build capacity to support transitioning youth and their families as they prepare for adult life.
  • Enrich your knowledge of curriculum design, based upon evidence-based practices.
  • Engage in learn about the latest trends in promoting employment of transitioning youth with disabilities.


Kester, Joan Assistant Professor, Special Education and Disability Studies
Kutscher, Elisabeth Assistant Professor, Special Education and Disability Studies



Career Outlook

With the Graduate Certificate in Secondary Transition Leadership from the George Washington University (GW), you will be prepared to move ahead in your career as a transition specialist with the qualifications to work across multiple disciplines. This certificate will help open you up to a wide variety of positions in the field, which is expected to grow by 6% by 2022, according to The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Within special education, transition services is an area with even higher growth potential. Public vocational rehabilitation professionals and Centers for Independent Living are now mandated under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014 to provide extensive transition services.

Earning your certificate from GW prepares you to meet these legislative changes by expanding your knowledge and skills to provide youth with disabilities services that improve their post-school outcomes.

Career Opportunities

  • Career assessment specialists
  • Career counselors
  • Case managers
  • Job development specialists
  • Rehabilitation counselors
  • Secondary special educators
  • Supported employment specialists
  • Transition specialists
  • Vocational evaluators

Potential Employment Settings

  • Adult services agencies
  • Career one-stop centers
  • Centers for Independent Living
  • Community providers
  • High schools and technical schools
  • Local and state education agencies
  • Medicare waiver providers
  • Parent/youth advocacy organizations
  • Public and private vocational rehabilitation providers
  • University settings

1 Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, on the Internet at

Master’s Program Offered

GW offers an MA in Interdisciplinary Secondary Transition Services (online). Should you wish to pursue the Graduate Certificate, you have the option to transfer all 12 credit hours into the Master's program.


  • Program Entry: Spring, Summer, Fall
  • Prerequisites: Bachelors Degree
  • Campus: Online

Application Requirements

  • Online Application
  • Resume
  • Statement of Purpose
  • 2 Letters of Recommendation
  • Transcripts

For more information on any of these requirements, please visit our Admissions FAQ page.

Apply Now

Applications are now being accepted for Spring 2024. We encourage you to apply as early as possible.

Application Timeline Spring Summer Fall
Priority Deadline Aug 1 Nov 1 Nov 1
Round 1 Deadline Sept 15 Dec 15 Dec 15
Round 2 Deadline Nov 1 Jan 16 Jan 16
Round 3 Deadline Dec 15 March 1 March 1
Round 4 Deadline N/A May 1 May 1
Round 5 Deadline N/A N/A June 15
Round 6 Deadline N/A N/A Aug 1

For more information or to inquire about the next admissions cycle, contact the GSEHD Admissions Team at or 202-994-9283.

Apply Now

Transformation Begins Here

Learn more about the Online Graduate Certificate in Secondary Transition Leadership program. Complete the form linked below or contact the GSEHD Admissions Team at 202-994-9283.

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