Article 3- January 24

Transition Specialists: Who are they and what do they do?


Have you heard the term Transition Specialist? When I hear the word “transition,” I often think of my past Transition Specialist who actually introduced me to the KSYLF! But, what in the world do these people do? We are going to help explain what a Transition Specialist actually is AND clear up the difference between different types of Transition Specialists that you might have in your life.

So, first, did you know that there really are two different types of Transition Specialists? One works for a school district and may be called a Transition Specialist or Coordinator. They work directly for a school and their role is to, “help students identify the right career path for themselves and direct them to resources that can help them start toward that path” (from They might teach skills, help with resumes and interviewing, conduct assessments, etc. Their role is to connect students with resources out in the community that can help them. Not every school district has a Transition Specialist. Oftentimes, a Special Education teacher or a School Social Worker will take on this role instead.

Another type of Transition Specialist that you may have heard of more in recent years is a Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS) Specialist. Pre-ETS is separate from the school districts. They are actually connected to Kansas Rehabilitation Services within the Department for Children and Families. In other words, they are similar to Vocational Rehabilitation, but their sole focus is on youth! Oftentimes, a Pre-ETS Specialist will come to students at their school, but they are not an employee of the school. According to Pre-ETS Statewide Director, Tracie Flowers, their role is, “to improve the transition of students with disabilities from school to postsecondary education or employment, increase opportunities for students to practice and improve workplace readiness skills, and increase opportunities for students to explore post-secondary options.”

So, you can see that there are lots of similarities and both Specialists work together often. The bottom line is that BOTH types of Transition Specialists can be very helpful to your future! They can help make your current and future goals possible. Both have a ton of resources available to you. So, if you don’t have a school Transition Specialist or a Pre-ETS Specialist, look into getting one of both! Ask your SPED teacher or school principal if your school has a Transition Specialist. To find out more about Pre-ETS, read through the Pre-ETS flyer or call 866-213-9079.

There are a ton of Transition Specialists in our state alone, and they all work very hard every day to support youth with disabilities in our state! Meet a few of them below…