Transition Leadership

Transition leadership involves the transition from high school to adult life for young people with a wide range of disabilities. Our certificate program bridges the gap between special education and adult services by creating a cohort of professionals who connect these two fields. Students who successfully complete the certificate track will be well positioned to excel in a new role: that of transition specialist.  The UMB Transition Leadership program is a fully online, 18-credit course of study. Six courses are offered over four semesters, leading to the Graduate Certificate in Special Education with a Concentration in Transition Leadership. Candidates with this certification are prepared for transition specialist positions in schools, inclusive dual enrollment programs, and agencies and community provider agencies that offer pre-employment transition services.

How to get started

icon of computer screen with hands on keyboard, text reads Attend an Informational Session
Every spring, program staff from the University of Massachusetts Boston Transition Leadership program set up bi-weekly online informational sessions to share information about the program. ...Read more
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All applicants are required to set up an interview with the Program Director or the Program Coordinator. These interviews are conducted via Zoom and take about 45 minutes to complete.  Interviews cover the following topics: ...Read more
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Individuals who are interested in the University of Massachusetts Boston Transition Leadership program can open an online application through the UMass Boston Online course catalog page.   Applications are accepted all year, and individuals can return to upload additional documentation here as well.  The deadline for receipt of applications is June 1 each year. ...Read more

FAQ: Transition Leadership Program at UMass Boston

What are the two tracks of the UMB Transition Leadership Program?

The UMB Transition Specialist Training leads to one of two tracks: A Masters in Special Education with a Concentration in Transition Leadership or A Graduate Certificate in Special Education with a Concentration in Transition Leadership

How do these two courses of study differ?

The MEd in Special Education with a Concentration in Transition Leadership is a transdisciplinary mix of five online courses from special education and vocational rehabilitation, and five online secondary transition-related courses. All the courses have built-applied learning assignments and students must complete a one-semester practicum placement (three credits) – for a total of 33 credits. The Graduate Certificate in Special Education with a Concentration in Transition Leadership is appropriate for those students who already have a master’s degree and a preliminary special education license or vocational rehabilitation certificate. The certificate program involves taking five online secondary transition courses with built-in applied learning assignments. Students must also complete a one-semester practicum placement (three credits) – for a total of 18 credits.

What credential(s) are graduates of the program eligible for?

Certificate track will be eligible to apply for the Council for Exceptional Children’s Division on Career Development and Transition’s national certification. For candidates in Massachusetts, candidates will be eligible for the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s Transition Specialist endorsement.

For more information on the national certification, go to
For more information on the MA state endorsement, go to
For applicants outside of Massachusetts, we cannot confirm that the courses or program meets the licensure or certification requirements of the state where you reside. Please contact the Department of Education for your state to determine whether the course or program meets the state licensure or certification requirements.

Do the classes in this program meet in person or online?

The Transition Leadership program is a fully online course of study using UMass Boston’s learning management system, Blackboard Learn.

What kinds of jobs would I be eligible for after completing this program?

Graduates of the transition leadership program can expect to hone their skills and find employment opportunities in a variety of settings, such as middle and high school public and private school settings, vocational rehabilitation offices and youth workforce centers. The certificate also provides advanced training for professionals in careers such as special education, social work, guidance counseling, mental health counseling, and occupational therapy.

What prerequisites are required for these programs?

Applicants to the program must hold a bachelor’s degree in special education, school counseling, vocational rehabilitation counseling, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, or a related field. They should also have a background in working with youth with disabilities between the ages of 14-22.

Applicants interested in earning the Transition Specialist endorsement in Massachusetts must have initial licensure in their field- special education, school social worker, school counselor or vocational rehabilitation counselor.

What are other requirements of the program?

Individuals applying to the program should be aware that in order to complete program assignments, they will need to have access to students aged 14-17 and 18-22 with a range of disabilities in a public or private school setting. Access to a school system and a variety of professional transition-related staff is also required to complete a system assessment of practices related to transition and career development. Applicants may complete many of the field-based assignments while working in their own school. They will also need consistent access to a computer and stable internet connection in order to use Blackboard and other applications that facilitate synchronous and asynchronous meetings (e.g. Zoom).

How long does it take to finish the course of study?

This depends on which track you are enrolled in (master’s or certificate), your progress in the program, and the number of courses you take per semester, including summer semester. Many students in the certificate track complete the program in 1.5 years of part-time study. Students in the master’s track can complete the program in 2 years of part-time study.

Can I complete this course of study while working full time?

Scholars can continue working full-time while they are enrolled in the program. This course of study requires approximately 4-7 hours each week to complete course work and assignments. This program also requires pre-practicum and practicum field hours that may be completed during your work hours.
In your first semester, you can take no more than two courses. After your first semester, you should meet with your faculty advisor and discuss the appropriate number of courses to take in each remaining semester. Most students in the certificate track take two courses per semester for the first two semesters, and then one course in each of the remaining two semesters. Students in the master’s track can take from one to three courses each semester, depending on the semester and courses chosen.

Can I complete the practicum in my own school?

Yes, students in the Transition Leadership certificate program may complete the practicum within their own school.

When is the application deadline and when will I know if I have been accepted into the program?

Deadline for applications is July 1, 2023. Contact Program Coordinator for current application/acceptance dates.

Is there any tuition assistance available for the Transition Leadership tracks?

The Transition Leadership program is not currently offering any scholarship specific to the program, but students are encouraged to contact the UMass Boston office on Admission & Financial Aid for information on available options.

National Transition Specialist Standards

This certificate is based on national transition specialist standards identified by the Council of Exceptional Children’s Division on Career Development and Transition’s Transition Specialist Standards. Graduates of the program are eligible to apply for DCDT’s Provisional or Professional Certification in Transition Services. For candidates in Massachusetts, eligible graduates will be instructed how to apply for the MA DESE Transition Specialist Endorsement