Campus Location

Dallas Campus (Online)

Date of Award


Document Type



Educational Leadership

Degree Name

Doctor of Education

Committee Chair or Primary Advisor

Wade Fish

Second Committee Member or Secondary Advisor

Jenifer Williams

Third Committee Member or Committee Reader

Andrew Lumpe


Many combat-occupation veterans experience difficulty translating their military occupation to a civilian occupation after they leave the military. Veterans may struggle with military culture, self-leadership, health concerns, stereotypes, and employment barriers such as disability and underemployment. In this qualitative descriptive research study, the researcher analyzed the transition barriers U.S. combat-occupation veterans experienced when entering the civilian sector and workforce. The researcher interviewed six participants via Zoom using semistructured interview questions. All participants met the criteria of being 18–29 years old, being a veteran with a combat occupation, and having a willingness to tell their transition experiences. Five of the six participants knew they were leaving the military in advance, but none felt they were prepared for their transition. Participants felt they were still transitioning, though some had been out of the military for several years. Findings showed that veterans are often underprepared for transition, transition is difficult, leaders must allow service members to prepare for transition, a support system is key, and self-leadership is a catalyst for successful transition. Government agencies that work with and for the U.S. military can create specific programs and practices for transitioning service members with combat occupations to create a successful transition into the civilian workforce. Keywords: qualitative descriptive, combat-occupation veteran, transition, self-leadership

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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