The Vision Studies Program (VSP) at the University of Pittsburgh (Pitt) began preparing teachers of students with visual impairment (TVI), orientation and mobility (O&M) specialists, and doctoral leadership personnel in 1963, making it one of the longest running vision programs in the U.S. Throughout that time, the VSP at Pitt has prepared thousands of highly specialized teachers and O&M specialists to serve the education and rehabilitation needs of children and adults who are blind or visually impaired (B/VI) nationwide. Presently, there is a substantial demand for certified professionals to serve the needs of this population locally, regionally, and nationally. Positions far exceed the number of qualified personnel available. Doctoral graduates of Pitt's VSP have become leaders in the field of blindness and visual impairment (B/VI), forging research agenda that have made a significant impact upon improving the lives of individuals who are B/VI around the world. For more information about our doctoral program options, please visit our doctoral program website.
TVI Single Certification
All of the courses offered in the TVI certification program are online, but there is also face-to-face interaction primarily in the summer. The TVI student teaching practicum is a semester-long supervised clinical experience and is arranged on a case-by-case basis. Upon completion of the TVI certification program, students are eligible to apply for Pennsylvania Department of Education Level I instructional certification as a TVI (required by law to serve the needs of school-aged children).
O&M Single Certification
Students pursuing O&M certification will combine both online and campus-based coursework throughout the academic year. All of the coursework offered in the fall and spring term is fully online (no face-to-face required). There is an on-campus requirement that occurs during one 7-week summer session. For professional certification through the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals (ACVREP) (http://www.acvrep.org), an O&M Internship (typically 12 to 14-weeks in length) will be arranged on an individual basis.
TVI/O&M Dual Certification
Students gaining admission to the dual TVI & O&M certification program will be admitted into a fall term cohort. In this hybrid program, the didactic courses are offered online in the fall, spring, and summer terms. Within the TVI certification tract, all courses are offered online, but for each online course offered a face-to-face one-day or weekend workshop on Pitt’s campus is required. The O&M program also requires students to participate in one 7-week on-campus summer session, completing both Techniques of O&M 1 and 2.
Master’s of Education Degree (M.Ed.)
Applicants may choose to pursue the M.Ed. degree while pursuing dual or single certification as a TVI and/or O&M specialist, by adding a few additional graduate-level education courses to the plan of study. All M.Ed. courses are offered fully online.