Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments – Certificate and MEd

Become a certified teacher who will help blind and visually impaired learners reach their full potential.

The Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments (TVI) program at the University of Pittsburgh School of Education will equip you with the specialized knowledge and hands-on experiences needed to thrive as a new teacher.

Fully aligned with the Pennsylvania Department of Education standards, the curriculum will prepare you for state certification to teach in preK-12 classrooms.

The Pitt program features a TVI graduate certificate (29 credits) whose courses lead to state certification and the option to add on a master’s degree in education for an additional six credits (35 credits total).

The program is offered in a hybrid format, with most courses online and a limited number of workshops in person. Students also complete a student-teaching experience for a semester in a school district.

Request Info

View Tuition

Apply Now

Program Facts

Degree Type

Graduate Certificate
Master of Education

Credits

29 credits - Certificate
35 credits - Certificate + Master's together

Format

Hybrid

Time Commitment

Part-Time
(1-2 classes per semester)

Duration

2-3 years
(Variation based on if students have completed prerequisites)

Enrollment Term

Fall

Application Deadline

June 1 - Early Admission
August 1 - Applications considered until this date

Application Requirements

GRE Exam not required

Program Overview

AER approved program image of their seal of approvalFor more than 60 years, the University of Pittsburgh School of Education has offered vision studies programs to prepare highly specialized teachers. We are one of the longest-running and most widely respected programs in personnel preparation in the United States. Thousands of highly specialized teachers who served the needs of children who are blind or visually impaired got their start at Pitt.

Two Credentials

Students in the TVI program will earn a graduate certificate (29 credits) and have the option to take two additional courses to earn a master’s degree (35 credits).

Hybrid Format

Our Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments (TVI) program is primarily online with some required face-to-face sessions. The in-person sessions consist of hands-on workshops.

Certifications

Students apply for their Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) Instructional I teaching certificate upon successful completion of the following:

  • TVI Coursework
  • Student Teaching Practicum
  • Praxis II exams

For more information, visit the Pennsylvania Department of Education educator certification website.

Requirements

  • Requires student teaching for one full semester in a school
  • Teaching Certificate in Special Education for Students with Visual Impairments through the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE)
  • University of Pittsburgh certificate of completion of TVI coursework

Curriculum

TVI Certificate (29 credits)

This 29-credit program provides the Teacher of the Visually Impaired (TVI) graduate Certificate from the University of Pittsburgh School of Education.

The curriculum is fully aligned with the standards of the Pennsylvania Department of Education for the preK-12 special education teachers for the blind of visually impaired.

All students will complete a certificate because its curriculum leads to state certification.

  • Education of Children with Visual Impairments, Part 1 (3 credits)
  • Introduction to the Eye and Low Vision (3 credits)
  • Braille (3 credits)
  • Technology for Children  with Visual Impairments (3 credits)
  • Communication Skills for Individuals with Visual Impairments (3 credits)
  • Orientation and Mobility for the TVI (3 credits)
  • Education for Children with Visual Impairments 2 (3 credits)
  • Nemeth Code/Abacus (3 credits)
  • Level 2 Student Teaching Practicum in Visual Impairments (5 credits)

TVI Certificate and MEd (35 credits)

This 35-credit program provides students with two advanced credentials: the TVI graduate certificate and a Master of Education (MEd) in Reading Education and the Reading Specialist Certificate of Advanced Study (K-12).

The certificate is 29 credits to complete and the MEd is 6 additional credits.  The master’s program consists of a  six-credit sequence of research courses that allow students to study their own practice as educators and advance their knowledge in the field of visual impairment and blindness studies.

Completing the MEd portion of the program is optional. 

Master of Education Curriculum (6 credits)

It is an additional six credits of the following courses to earn the master’s degree.

  • Introduction to Research Methodology (3 credits)
  • Research Seminar or Research Seminar in Special Education (3 credits)

Certificate Curriculum – 29 credits

Students will complete the following courses to earn their certificate and to be eligible for state certification. 

  • Education of Children with Visual Impairments, Part 1 (3 credits)
  • Introduction to the Eye and Low Vision (3 credits)
  • Braille (3 credits)
  • Technology for Children  with Visual Impairments (3 credits)
  • Orientation and Mobility for the TVI (3 credits)
  • Communication Skills for Individuals with Visual Impairments (3 credits)
  • Education for Children with Visual Impairments 2 (3 credits)
  • Nemeth Code/Abacus (3 credits)
  • Level 2 Student Teaching Practicum in Visual Impairments (5 credits)

Prerequisites

The following four prerequisite courses may be taken at the graduate or undergraduate level. Students may also take these courses as co-requisites with TVI courses after enrolling in the program.

  • Foundations of Special Education (3 credits)
  • Students with Disabilities in the Classroom (Elementary or Secondary) (3 credits)
  • Literacy Assessment and Instruction for Children with Disabilities in Inclusive Settings (3 credits)
  • Teaching English Language Learners (3 credits)

Upcoming Info Sessions

Teacher Education and Certification Programs Info Session (Virtual)

March 4, 2024 | 4:30pm

Register now

General Info Session (Virtual)

March 4, 2024 | Noon-1 PM

Register now

Teacher Education and Certification Programs Info Session (Virtual)

March 18, 2024 | 4:30pm

Register now

Career Pathways

Presently, there is a substantial demand for certified teachers of students with visual impairments to serve the needs of this population locally, regionally, and nationally. Positions far exceed the number of qualified personnel available.

Our graduates have become expert instructors and leaders in the field of blindness and visual impairment and have made a significant impact upon improving the lives of individuals around Pennsylvania—and the world.

Addressing a Critical Shortage

The program addresses a critical shortage area in education. Research indicates a current need for approximately 28,000 professionals who can work with children who are blind or visually impaired. Being a TVI is a rewarding and creative career that is uniquely satisfying.

Professionals in the field may work:

  • in early intervention programs assisting families of young children who have visual disabilities;
  • in public or private schools as TVIs teaching children to be independent and successful;
  • as itinerant TVIs employed by school systems or intermediate units to travel between schools to provide instruction to children who are visually impaired;
  • as independent contractors providing services to school systems;
  • in center-based programs at specialized schools.