What is a Transition Assistance Program?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 12 September 2019
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A Transition Assistance Program (TAP) is designed to help people who are transitioning from a period of military service to the civilian world. Specifically, most TAPs focus on helping veterans enter the civilian job market, using a variety of tools to assist vets with their job searches and to connect them with potential employers. Many militaries around the world offer some form of Transition Assistance Program, and details are usually made readily available in the offices of the program on base and in veteran's assistance centers.

These programs can help people who are separating or retiring from the service, as well as disabled veterans, providing tailored services for individual situations. A Transition Assistance Program typically offers workshops for departing military members which talk about how to look for jobs, how to prepare resumes, what to do on a job interview, and how to connect with the best possible jobs. Many programs offer advice, job listing services, and assistance for spouses and families as well.


In some cases, a Transition Assistance Program may help department service members with house hunts, moving costs, and other elements of the transition back into civilian life. Especially for career military members who are retiring, the change can be startling and hard to get used to, as the military has a very specific social structure which is markedly different from that in the civilian world. These individuals may not be familiar, for example, with many aspects of the job hunting process, from where to look for jobs to what to put on a resume.

In the United States, the Department of Veteran's Affairs states that people who participate in the TAP find jobs around three weeks earlier than those who do not. Participating in a Transition Assistance Program can also help someone secure a more suitable job with higher wages and a congenial, military-friendly workplace. Veterans have unique sets of skills and abilities which many workplaces are eager to harness, and a TAP program can help potential employers connect with suitable job candidates.

In a Disabled Transition Assistance Program (DTAP), special attention is given to veterans who may face unique challenges because of disabilities caused by their military service. These programs help disabled veterans connect with services designed specifically for them, and they also encourage disabled veterans to find jobs which are suitable for them. In regions with laws which protect people with disabilities from discrimination, a DTAP can show veterans how to access jobs fairly and how to fight cases of suspected discrimination.


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