What you need to know to plan your participation in the Transition Specialist Endorsement Program.
Lesley’s Transition Specialist Endorsement program is founded on the belief that all persons have a right to a purposeful life that leads to personal fulfillment. The program is dedicated to empowering persons with disabilities to live self-directed lives in inclusive environments. To that end, its mission is to prepare professionals to educate, advocate and to serve as agents of change, based upon the following core values:
An endorsement is evidence and recognition by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) of advanced training and experience.
In March 2012 the Massachusetts Legislature passed and the Governor signed into a law, An Act Relative to Student with Disabilities in Post-Secondary Education, Employment, and Independent Living, that directed DESE to establish a specialist teacher endorsement in transition services. Lesley University’s endorsement program is built upon DESE regulations, competencies, and guidelines; as of December 2013, it has received informal approval by DESE.
As of November 2013, DESE considers the endorsement an optional form of recognition. Though there is as yet no requirement that all individuals employed to provide transition services must seek and obtain such an endorsement, DESE notes that “school districts have authority to establish additional requirements (beyond the licensure requirements) for their employees and they may choose to require candidates to hold or be eligible for such an endorsement.”
The advanced training entailed in earning the endorsement prepares professionals to shepherd youth with disabilities, their families, their schools, and relevant community agencies through the entire transition process. Endorsed Transition Specialists have the knowledge and skills to effectively lead and manage the assessment, planning and service delivery mandated under the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA). This makes them more marketable professionally, as they are correctly perceived as more highly qualified in transition by school districts. Should the rules change and an endorsement be required in the future, it will be advantageous to have already earned this credential. Moreover, the credits earned toward the TSE satisfy the requirements for Professional licensure.
To be eligible for the TSE endorsement, individuals must have an Initial or Professional Massachusetts license as:
Licensed Rehabilitation Counselors are also eligible to earn this credential.
To be eligible for the Transition Specialist endorsement, candidates must meet the competencies and have two years’ experience working under their respective licenses in the fields listed above. Candidates who do not yet have the required years of experience may choose to apply to enroll in Lesley’s TSE program with the understanding that their eligibility for endorsement from DESE will be pending until they have worked under their license for two years.
Beyond completion of the course work and two years of experience working under their license, candidates must also complete 150 hours of field experiences, providing transition services for transition-aged students with disabilities with IEPs in collaboration with their families, community members, and other relevant professionals. At Lesley, this requirement is met through three 1-credit Field Experience (FE) courses.
TSE candidates will learn:
Lesley’s 15-credit TSE program is comprised of four 3-credit content courses, plus three 1-credit field experience courses (in 50-hour segments, totaling 150 hours) that actively engage candidates in transition-related activities within schools and in the community.
Lesley’s TSE program is offered in the cohort model. A cohort is a group of students who travel through a program as a unit, taking the same sequence of courses together. This model of teaching and learning builds community, capacity, and continuity. The cohort model calls for a commitment to take courses as scheduled. While Lesley expects this commitment from its TSE candidates, it is understood that unexpected emergencies sometimes arise and that adaptations/exceptions may at times need to be made based upon individual circumstances and needs.
See Program of Study for credits and course descriptionsFirst semester ESPED 6150: Laying the Groundwork: Fundamentals of Transition ESPED 6151: Building Partnerships for Transition ESPED 7727: Transition Field Experience I Second semesterESPED 6152: Individualizing Assessment and Planning for Transition ESPED 6153: Navigating Transition Systems and Supports ESPED 7728: Transition Field Experience II ESPED 7729: Transition Field Experience III
The field experiences are divided into three 50-hour segments, each earning one credit, that have been sequenced in the program to reinforce material covered in the content courses. The FE courses assign a series of school- and community-based activities designed to meet the transition specialist competencies. With approval of the instructor, candidates who are currently working in an appropriate school or agency may use their own workplace to complete some relevant assignments. Assistance is provided, as needed, to find suitable sites for assignments that cannot be completed at the candidate’s workplace.
Field experiences are supervised online. Candidates maintain and digitally submit a log of hours devoted to each task, and their work is verified by an on-site cooperating professional. The Lesley faculty member overseeing the FE courses reviews the log and final products (e.g. assessment report, case study). A minimum of three Skype cohort meetings per semester provide an opportunity for sharing; however, since candidates are engaged in content courses concurrently with their FE courses, they have ample opportunity to communicate face to face and discuss observations and lessons learned within varied authentic transition-focused environments.
The first cohort will begin in September 2014 and is scheduled to complete the program in May 2015.
Although candidates register for the first three courses at the same time, they begin with the Fundamentals course (ESPED 6150), which is taught over a period of two months in a blended format (face-to-face and online). The first weekend includes a Friday night welcome and orientation to the program. The second semester content courses will be similarly scheduled. The FE courses are all semester-long.
The program costs for 2014-2015 are as follows: 9 credits face-to-face courses @$925/credit = $83256 credits online @$570/ credit = $3400Fees = $90 TOTAL: $11,835Tuition is paid per semester. Payment plans are available via the Student Accounts Office.
Private loans and payments plans are currently available. Federal financial aid eligibility for this program is under review by the federal government; candidates are encouraged to check with financial aid for updates.
Applicants must submit the following:
A personal interview is required of all candidates.
Candidates may be able to waive program courses and transfer in credits earned prior to attending Lesley. The waiver/transfer process requires submission of the course syllabus, course description, and official transcript to the assistant director for academic advising. Consideration will be made based upon the course’s ability to meet Lesley’s program objectives, outcomes, and transition specialist competencies. Once admitted to the TSE program, candidates may not take courses at other institutions for transfer credit.
The TSE program is rigorous and demanding, designed to prepare professionals to take a leadership role in the transition planning and service delivery process. Beyond the course work, the 150 hours of field experiences require intense commitment and engagement. The program has been constructed based upon DESE requirements for this professional role. Consideration will be made on an individual basis of applications made by individuals who do not meet the eligibility requirements for the official endorsement but who are prepared to commit to the full program.
Please contact Christina Chandler, Assistant Director for Academic Advising at firstname.lastname@example.org or 617.349.8398.
Mary E. Curtis
Professor, Director, Center for Special Education
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