Date of Award

Spring 5-2017

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Educational Administration


Educational Leadership, Counseling, and Foundations

Major Professor

Dr. Christopher Broadhurst

Second Advisor

Dr. Brian Beabout

Third Advisor

Dr. D'Lane Compton

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Alonzo Flowers


College is a significant stage that heavily contributes to who and what citizens become after degree attainment. During career development, college students’ interests develop through taking part in coursework and employment based occupational exploration. It has been speculated that because sexual identity development and vocational identity development are active during the same phase of life, these processes might exert influence on each other (Chen, Stacuzzi, Ruckdeschel, 2004; Fassinger, 1996; Morrow, 1997). With the changing socioeconomic climate over the past decade, individuals of varying sexual orientation identities have found it necessary or desirable to be more open regarding their identity in their career. Currently, a lack of research exists that examines LGBQ+ students’ career development (Datti, 2009; Degges-White & Shoffner, 2002; Chung, 1995; Morrow, 1997; Schneider & Dimito, 2010).

The purpose of this research study was to examine the career development of LGBQ+ students. Through a qualitative, phenomenological approach utilizing nine participants, the researcher examined how a LGBQ+ sexual orientation impacts a student’s career development. Four themes emerged from the study: the participant coming out process, awareness of intersectionality of identities, navigating their career as an LGBQ+ individual, identifying potential employers, and the role of career counselors. Recommendations are shared to further support LGBQ+ individuals in their career development. As a result of this study, leaders in post-secondary education as well as policymakers are able to gain insight into the career development of this population.


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