Phenomenological evaluation of a career transition assistance program for military veteran college students


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A dissertation Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in COUNSELOR EDUCATION from Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi in Corpus Christi, Texas.
Transitioning from military to civilian life can be challenging because, for many veterans, retirement from the military means ending one career and beginning another. A researcher at a four-year public institution in South Texas designed a program to address the career decision-making needs of military veteran undergraduate students. The researcher sought to determine the programmatic factors participants attributed to their career decision-making and gain an understanding of the participants’ experiences in the program. A phenomenological study was utilized with undergraduate military veterans and included six purposively selected individuals that gave voices to these military veteran students as they experienced the process. The study was completed to answer two research questions: (a) What are the experiences of the undergraduate military veterans who participate in a CTAP in a university setting; and (b) To what programmatic factors do participants attribute to their ability to make a career choice? Analysis of findings identified the six themes of finding direction, shaping career narrative, transition, assessments, goal setting, and interactions with the counselor. These themes summarized how participants experienced CTAP and described the components they believed contributed most to their ability to make a career choice. This study provided evaluation of potential benefits for the veteran college students’ career decision-making that participate in the program. Student perceptions of these career exploration strategies were explored develop the best possible career transition assistance program for this population. Implications for career counseling unique populations and recommendations for future research were made.
Counseling & Educational Psychology
College of Education and Human Development