Become a Vision Professional
In the United States, there is a shortage of certified teachers of students with visual impairments. Whether you've heard that there is a shortage in the field of visual impairments, you're friends or family with someone who is blind or visually impaired or you've worked with someone who is blind or visually , you may wonder how you too can become a vision professional.
By: Carmen Willings
Updated May 15, 2017
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.
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."
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TVI's Guide Complete Set Bundle + BONUS Resources
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The TVI's Guide to Teaching the ECC Complete Set includes the following:
The LOTTO Cards Grab and Go Supplement includes 37 theme related unit cards along with activity suggestions that support activities within the TVI's Guide to Teaching the ECC.
On My Way File Folder Cards
Print and use these cards to represent locations the student may visit that are related to the current thematic unit. Use these with the On My Way File Folder Game outlined in the TVI's Guide to Teaching the ECC p. 27.
NEW! Access to TVI's Guide Bonus Membership Pages
Bonus pages include tutorials, printables, interactive sensory story downloads, and interactive choice making computer games (PowerPoint based interactive games), and job task activities.
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