Postsecondary Options for Students Earning an Applied Studies Diploma

The Applied Studies Diploma is a recognized diploma by the Virginia Department of Education. Students who earn an Applied Studies Diploma are able to pursue multiple postsecondary options.

The Applied Studies Diploma is a diploma available to students who:

  • Complete the requirements of their individualized education programs (IEPs).
  • Meet certain requirements allowed by the Board of Education, but do not meet the requirements for another diploma.

Students who earn an Applied Studies Diploma can choose from the options below.

Continuing Education

FCPS Secondary Education

Students receiving special education services who have not earned a Standard or Advanced Studies Diploma are eligible for FCPS programming (Free Appropriate Public Education, FAPE) until the age of 22. Students along with IEP team may consider the student:

Higher Education

Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA)

Students are eligible to attend NOVA with or without a high school diploma. Prior to registering for core academic classes, all students must demonstrate an ability to benefit meaning they are prepared for college-level course work and would need to take the Virginia Placement Test (VPT) or General Education Development (GED). The admissions office can provide additional information. Students who earn an Applied Studies Diploma may not qualify for financial aid. For more information, please contact the college’s financial aid office directly.

College Steps provides college support for individuals living with social, communication, or learning differences (e.g., significant learning disabilities, autism, developmental, or intellectual disabilities) who are enrolled at NOVA campuses.

Noncredit College Programs

  • George Mason's LIFE Program is a supportive academic university experience offering a four-year curriculum of study to postsecondary students with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
  • Think College Search offers information on postsecondary education programs for students with intellectual disability.

FCPS Adult and Community Education (ACE)

ACE offers lifelong learning and educational opportunities to the community.


An apprenticeship is an employer training program that combines on-the-job training with related instruction. Learn more about apprenticeships on the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry website.

Job Corps

Job Corps is a program administered by the United States Department of Labor that offers free vocational training and academics to qualified individuals.

Wilson Workforce Rehabilitative Center (WWRC)

WWRC offers vocational services for individuals with disabilities.


Competitive Employment

Supported Employment

Adults with disabilities may receive continuous, on-site job coaching, and small group support to in in a community setting. Many of the agencies providing supported employment are funded through the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board-Developmental Disabilities Services (CSB-DD).

The Employment and Transition Representative in each high school can provide information and guidance for all of the programs and supports listed above. Please contact them with any questions.