Needs of Collegiate Career Practitioners and Student Veterans during Career Advising Appointments

Date of Award


Degree Name

Ed.D. in Leadership for Organizations


Department of Educational Administration


Elizabeth Essex


Student veterans have long been a population needing specialized assistance, however due to their unique intersectional identities higher education professionals in many cases are unsure of what to do when meeting with them. This Grounded Theory-Action Research focused study has sought to identify the career needs of student veterans as well as any potential barriers they face when working with career practitioners. Arguably just as important, this study also sought to identify the needs of the practitioners who are working with these students in their career advising appointments. The purpose of this study is to begin to work towards filling knowledge gaps within the career advising industry from both the perspective of the student and the practitioner. To accomplish this purposive sampling was used to interview student veterans from Youngstown State University remotely using semi-structured recorded interviews. Similarly, career practitioners were interviewed using a semi-structured format, however practitioners were staff at several different collegiate institutions throughout the state of Ohio which were deidentified. Interviews were then transcribed and coded to identify themes. Once themes were found an action plan revolving around a comprehensive training program was created. Findings indicate that the primary areas of need for the student veterans include practitioners having information on transferable career paths, a centralized location and point of contact for student veterans to receive services (not the career center), and the need for practitioners to be aware of mental health needs of the population while not becoming overly cautious. A unique element of these findings is that student veterans continually mentioned the need for the practitioner to have a general understanding, and ideally appreciation of, their unique experiences and culture. Findings of practitioners indicated that there is an understanding that student veterans face similar transition issues to other non-traditional adult students, and also have unique cultural needs. Additionally, practitioners discussed that student veterans need assistance in skill translation, have higher rates of mental health concerns, and need specialized skill when undergoing career counseling. Administratively, practitioners also noted that there needs to be better ways to identify student veterans when meeting for appointments, and expressed a strong desire for a comprehensive training program on military culture. This study has important implications for not just college career practitioners working with student veterans but also faculty, employment offices, and other student affairs professionals. By discussing their unique needs specific elements of military culture was shown to be important areas for practitioners to be knowledgeable in for appointments to be as successful and meaningful as possible. As an Action Research guided study, research on this topic is not complete and must continually conducted and explored to ensure this population who has sacrificed themselves for their country are being served effectively.


Academic Guidance Counseling, Adult Education, Armed Forces, Education, Higher Education Administration, Higher Education, student veterans, veterans, career services, career, student affairs, career counseling

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