What Does a Transition Coordinator Do?

A relatively new role for secondary special educators is that of transition coordinator. In an attempt to describe the roles and competencies of transition coordinators, researchers have explored the skills and competencies that contribute to effectiveness. A recent study was conducted with 14 individuals from across the Commonwealth of Virginia identified as full-time employed transition coordinators. The study yielded over 150 specific job duties that were condensed to 71 tasks in nine categories. Currently, these duties are being validated by transition coordinators from across the Commonwealth. Following are the nine categories and a sampling of the tasks under each category.

This study was conducted by Susan B. Asselin and Mary Todd-Allen of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg and Sharon deFur of the Virginia Department of Education. You may address correspondence to Susan Asselin at the College of Human Resources and Education, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 23061 (e-mail: sasselin@vt.edu).

Plan for the Future
Intraschool Linkage
  1. Disseminate transition information to teachers/administrators

  2. Present inservice training

  3. Assist families, parents, and students to access transition services

  4. Serve as a liaison between vocational school and special education teachers to monitor student progress

  5. Facilitate appropriate referrals to school-based programs

  6. Assist school staff in interpreting assessment results and recommending appropriate placements

  7. Assist vocational teachers in adapting curriculum

Interagency/Business Linkages
  1. Identify, establish, and maintain linkages with community agencies and businesses

  2. Write cooperative agreements

  3. Facilitate referrals to other agencies

  4. Lead interagency transition meetings

  5. Link students with postsecondary special support coordinators

Assessment and Career Counseling
  1. Identify and refer students for vocational assessment within the school

  2. Identify and refer students for vocational assessments at regional centers

  3. Coordinate the development of career awareness and explore activities as part of the career counseling process

Transition Planning
  1. Identify transition services provided by community agencies

  2. Attend/participate in team and IEP meetings

  3. Assist in planning and placement decisions

  4. Identify appropriate assistive technology

  5. Monitor adherence to federal laws

Education and Community Training
  1. Train special education teachers and employers to understand the need for self-advocacy

  2. Coordinate school and community work-based learning opportunities

  3. Identify job placements

  4. Develop community-based training and sites and school-based training

  5. Implement job support services for work adjustment and success

  6. Manage/coordinate job coaches

  7. Coordinate community-based instruction

  8. Coordinate teaching of daily living skills

  9. Examine/identify postsecondary training and education options

Family Support and Resource
  1. Develop and provide parent training

  2. Promote understanding of laws, eligibility requirements, availability of services

  3. Assist students/families in understanding the system and accessing services

Public Relations
  1. Write newspaper articles, public service announcements, and presentations

  2. Develop business partnerships

  3. Promote work-based learning opportunities with businesses, and recruit businesses

  4. Coordinate/sponsor transition fairs

Program Development
  1. Develop process in transition planning

  2. Develop system guidelines, programs, and procedures

  3. Develop and manipulate transition curriculum

Program Evaluation
  1. Carry out school and community needs assessment

  2. Identify gaps in transition services

  3. Devise evaluation forms

  4. Analyze and use information gained from evaluations

Excerpt from: Teaching Exceptional Children, 30( 3), Jan./Feb., 1998.