Certificate in Orientation and Mobility

Map out a career supporting the blind and visually impaired with Pitt’s Orientation and Mobility certificate program. Graduates assist individuals from early childhood on gain the skills necessary for safe and independent travel, including use of mobility and optical devices. This cohort-based hybrid program blends online and on-campus coursework and includes a required internship for all students.

Orientation and Mobility (O&M) specialists serve the needs of blind and visually impaired adults and children, offering necessary instruction for safe, independent travel. With Pitt’s Orientation and Mobility certificate program, graduates embark upon careers evaluating clients’ strengths and needs, recommending service delivery plans, and providing training in the use of mobility materials and devices such as canes and dog guides. The program is offered in a flexible hybrid format that incorporates online and on-campus coursework, and all students complete an internship to obtain certification from the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation & Education Professionals. This program can be combined with a Master of Education degree.

Career Options for Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialists

With this certification, graduates are qualified to provide O&M services needed by children and adults who are blind or visually impaired in public schools, rehabilitation agencies, and Veteran’s Administration hospitals, among other locations.

Graduates qualified to provide educational and rehabilitation services, including:

  • Assessing and evaluating O&M strengths and needs including O&M functional vision assessment;
  • Recommending appropriate service delivery plans;
  • Providing training in the use of mobility materials and devices (e.g., prescriptive cane, optical, and non-optical devices, dog guide, and electronic devices);
  • Consulting with other education and rehabilitation personnel and family regarding the impact of blindness and visual impairment on the O&M process; and

Direct instruction in:

  • Utilization of mobility devices
  • Gross motor development
  • Visual efficiency skills
  • Concept and sensory development
  • Utilization of residual vision
  • Spatial orientation
  • Instruction in travel in both indoor and outdoor environments
  • Utilization of mass transportation systems
  • Communication and social skills
  • Self-determination skills
  • Utilization of tactile, visual, and auditory maps
  • Familiarization to familiar and unfamiliar environments

Curriculum

The O&M certificate program offers two course options:

Option 1 is for professionals previously certified as a Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments (TVI); these students need only to complete 21 credits of Orientation and Mobility certification courses.

Option 2 is for those who do not yet possess certification in a vision-related field of study; these students must complete 11 credits of additional TVI certification courses in addition to the 21 credits of O&M certification courses required under Option 1.

Option 1 Coursework

  • 3 credits of Foundations of Orientation and Mobility;
  • 3 credits of Techniques of Orientation and Mobility 1;
  • 3 credits of Techniques of Orientation and Mobility 2;
  • 3 credits of Program Development: Orientation and Mobility;
  • 3 credits of Orientation and Mobility for Diverse Population; and
  • 6 credits of Level 3 Internship Practicum: Orientation and Mobility

Option 2 Coursework

In addition to all coursework required under Option 1, students must take the following required courses:

  • 3 credits of Introduction to the Eye and Low Vision;
  • 3 credits of Education of Children with Visual Impairment 1;
  • 3 credits of Early Intervention for Children with Visual Impairment; and
  • 2 credits of Level 1 Observational Practicum: Visual Impairment

Students are required to participate in one 7-week on-campus summer session, completing both Techniques of Orientation and Mobility 1 and 2.

Orientation and Mobility Internship

All students complete an O&M internship, typically lasting 12 to 14 weeks. This internship is required by the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation & Education Professionals, the national certifying body. The internship is scheduled at the completion of the O&M didactic coursework. Students are required to attend a weekend workshop at Pitt’s Oakland campus prior to beginning their internships.

Program Format

  • The O&M certificate program is a hybrid of online and on-campus classes.
  • Didactic O&M courses are offered online in the fall and spring terms. O&M certification courses are offered online, one course per term in both the fall and spring terms.
  • The O&M program also requires students to participate in one 7-week on-campus summer session, completing both Techniques of Orientation and Mobility 1 and 2. 
  • Additionally, the program is cohort-based, with all cohorts beginning in the fall term.
  • Combining the Certificate with a Degree:
  • Students may combine a Master of Education degree with the O&M certificate program.

Prerequisites

The following course is a prerequisite for entry into the certificate program:

  • Foundations of Special Education

Try out our interactive online transcript review and track your progress online. Our graduate enrollment managers will work with you to streamline the admissions process and make sure you have all the courses you need.