The Vision Studies Program at the University of Pittsburgh prepares professionals to serve the academic and Orientation and Mobility (O&M) needs of children and/or adults who are blind or visually impaired. This Program enables students to acquire single and/or dual certification as a Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments (TVI) and/or as an O&M Specialist with an option for completing a Master of Education (MEd) degree in a unique hybrid program model (online and on-campus). There is a substantial demand for certified professionals to serve the needs of this population locally, regionally, and nationally. Position vacancies far exceed the number of qualified personnel available.
Courses offered through this hybrid program incorporate both online and campus-based instruction. All of the courses offered in the TVI certification program are online, but for each course offered there is a weekend, on-campus (face-to-face) workshop requirement. The TVI student teaching practicum is a 14-week supervised clinical experience and is arranged on a case-by-case basis. Students pursuing O&M certification will combine both online and campus-based coursework throughout the academic year. The on-campus requirement for the O&M courses occurs over 2 summers during the 6-week summer two sessions. For professional certification through the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals (ACVREP), a 350-clockhour O&M Internship will be arranged on an individual basis. In addition, students in the O&M certification program are required to participate in a weekend workshop on Pitt’s Oakland Campus prior to beginning the O&M internship.
Upon completion of the 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), and/or national certification as an O&M Specialist by the ACVREP.
Applicants may choose to pursue the MEd degree through a variety of combinations; either by pairing the degree with any certification option or with a Vision Studies Area of Concentration (non-certification). The MEd program requires the completion of a minimum of 36-credits, combining 12-credits of graduate-level education coursework with certification courses. The required MEd courses are offered on-line. Students combining the degree with certification will complete additional credit hours to fulfill program requirements.
In order to be a successful student in this program you must be computer literate. A few of the skills that you will be expected to know are how to create a MS Word document, send and open attachments, open PowerPoint presentations, search web sites, and open links. Each of the courses vary in the type and amount of multimedia utilized. There may be additional downloads required in order to fully access the features of the course such as Java Script, Adobe Acrobat Reader, Windows Media Player, PowerPoint Viewers, Flash, etc. Most of this software can be installed as free downloads.
Other General Computer/Technical Requirements
Internet Connection Speed of 56k or better - it is highly recommended that you have a high speed connection, either through cable or DSL. A dial-up modem may not have enough bandwidth (power from your line) to open images.
Windows 2000 XP operating system or later
Current version of either Microsoft Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, or Safari
Valid email account
Below is an explanation of the various teaching certification and degree program options.