In the transition to adulthood, education and training are very important considerations. 

There are a lot of options and support available for education and training for people with disabilities! Read on or click a topic below and jump to that information.

Post-secondary Transition Program
Additional College Support Programs
2-year/4-year College Degree and Supports 
Trade Schools
Self-Advocacy and Education
Department of Rehabilitation

Post-secondary Transition Program

Students leaving high school with a Certificate of Completion can attend their school district’s post-secondary transition program. These programs usually emphasize:

  • Pre-employment and employment training
  • Independent living skills
  • Community integration
  • Social skills

Students can work toward their ITP goals to achieve success as they transition to adulthood. Check with your school district for available public post-secondary programs in your area. Some areas offer private post-secondary programs. Attendance at these may be discussed at the student’s transition IEP meeting.

Additional College Support Programs
2- year/4-year College Degree 

Many students start additional education and training by attending a community college. At a community college, students can earn an Associate’s Degree after completing a general two-year program:

  • Earn an Associate of Arts degree (AA) or Associate of Science degree (AS) 
  • May apply to transfer to another college as a Junior to work on a four-year college degree

Some CA community colleges are offering Bachelor’s degree programs in specific career education fields. These career fields were carefully chosen to meet workforce demands in each community college’s region. These degrees are not offered at University of California or California State University programs.

Some students may apply to a 4-year college out of high school to earn a college degree. The student’s desires for continuing education and/or training should be documented in their Individual Transition Plan if they have an IEP.  

All colleges receiving federal funding have an office for students with disabilities. This office is sometimes called Disabled Students Programs and Services (DSPS). Please see the U.S Department of Education’s Disability Discrimination page for more information.

The DSPS office helps students receive:

  • Appropriate accommodations that are needed to complete their degrees successfully
  • Extra time on tests, assistive technology, note-taking services, and peer mentoring/tutoring if necessary  
  • Assistive Technology – needs can be different in college than in high school. There are a lot of tools available! This video gives an overview of the most common tools you may need.

College Choice, 15 College Programs for Kids Who Learn and Think Differently and LD Resources Foundation are just a few resources listing colleges that support students with learning differences. ThinkCollege is dedicated to improving inclusive higher education for students with intellectual disabilities, and they offer a listing of schools and programsBeacon College offers students who learn differently and their families a collection of webinar recordings, brochures, and other tools relating to preparing for college success.

Trade Schools

Some students want to go to a trade school, to learn a specific trade. There are some trade schools located in community college programs, and there are private trade schools as well. (Please see Transition Planning: Teens and Tweens, Regional Occupational Centers and Programs, for opportunities for high school students.) If the trade school is at a federally funded college, they are required to provide appropriate accommodations for students who are continuing their education and training.  See Trade Schools, Colleges, and Universities and What is a Trade School for more information.

Self-Advocacy and Education

It is important for the student to know what their support needs are and how to ask for them.  It’s up to the student to tell the office for students with disabilities that they have a disability and let them know what they need to be successful.  Some offices for students with disabilities, but not all, will be able to help the students who aren’t sure what they need to be successful.  There are no IEPs in college or trade school! It is up to the student, not the parent, to ask for what they need. Learn more about this is in Connections California: Self-Advocacy.

Department of Rehabilitation

If a student with a disability is continuing their education and training, with a goal of independent employment, the Department of Rehabilitation (DOR) can help.  For eligible students, DOR can help pay for tuition as well as books, tutoring, and specialized assistive technology tools that the student may need. They will create an Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) with that individual that includes all that is necessary. They will continue to support the person even after they have received a degree, if needed, to help them learn any additional skills for independent employment.