Becoming a Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments (TVI)
If you enjoy collaborating with others, have strong report writing skills, are organized, have good time management skills, are willing to learn new technologies, like variety in your day, would like to work one-on-one with students ages birth to 21 and would like to make a difference in a student’s life, this may be the career for you! As a Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments (TVI), you will have the opportunity to improve the lives of students who are blind and visually impaired by providing specialized instruction and supportive services. The specialized instruction you provide to students will help prepare the student for each stage of life.
The TVI is a teacher first but has taken additional coursework to be specialized in visual impairments. To become a TVI, you must hold a teaching degree in general education or special education. Certification to be a TVI is an “Add-On” to your teaching license. Each state has different requirements but generally, you will be required to take approximately six courses specific to visual impairments. Coursework usually includes:
Additionally, most programs require that you complete an internship. Because there is a national shortage, there may be stipends available. The program will help you find a TVI in your area who can serve as your mentor. Some programs offer distance learning options. Learn about University VI Programs on the Professional Preparation Program page.
Becoming an Orientation and Mobility Specialist (O&M)
There is a shortage of Orientation & Mobility (O&M) specialists nationwide. An O&M specialist provides related services. As an O&M Specialist, you will teach students to move safely and efficiently through their environment and also teach spatial concepts for purposeful movement. To become an O&M specialist, a bachelor’s degree is required but it is not necessary to have a teaching certification. Most programs require that you take approximately eight courses and complete an internship. Many programs offer a combination of distance and on site learning options. Learn about University Programs on the Professional Preparation Program page. In addition to taking coursework and completing the internship, most states require O&M Specialists to become certified through the Academy of Certification of Vision Rehabilitation (ACVREP).
Becoming a Vision Rehabilitation Therapist (VRT)
Vision Rehabilitation Therapists (VRT), who were formerly known as Rehabilitation Teachers, are specialists in independent living. They teach people with limited vision to create new approaches to familiar routines so they can live on their own terms. VRT’s help students who transitioning from high school to college and career and also work with adults. To become a VRT, you must have a bachelor’s degree but it can be in any field. You will then need to obtain a master’s degree or a graduate certificate in Vision Rehabilitation Therapy. Some programs offer distance learning options. Learn about University Programs on the Professional Preparation Program page.
Become a member for FREE to access the Printable VI Program Templates to support your district's vision program. Simply click on Log In|Register in the navigation bar at the top of the page and follow the directions to register and create your password.
Due to the nationwide shortage of vision professionals, it can be challenging to locate personnel. Announce a job vacancy on the Job Exchange of Teaching Students with Visual Impairments, an online listing of jobs specific to the visual impairment field.
Hi! I'm Carmen Willings. Welcome to my website! I developed this web resource to support fellow TVI's and to educate those new to the field of visual impairments in how to best support students who are blind or visually impaired. Read More
I hope one day to see enough braille presses, libraries, schools, and training centers and teachers to assure all persons the opportunities they would have had, had they not been blind." -Helen Keller