Department of Leadership, Educational Psychology and Foundations - NIU - College of Education

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M.S.Ed. in Special Education, Specialization in Orientation and Mobility

The M.S.Ed. in Special Education, Specialization in Orientation and Mobility is designed for students who have previously earned a baccalaureate degree and wish to obtain national certification as a vision rehabilitation therapist or orientation and mobility specialist from the Academy for Certification of Vision, Rehabilitation, and Education Professionals (ACVREP). You do not need previous experience working with people who are blind or have low vision; you just need to be interested in teaching individuals with visual impairments. Orientation and Mobility instructors teach techniques for safe, independent travel – white canes, for example – to individuals who are blind and visually impaired. They prepare their learners to travel in a variety of environments, from self-contained residential programs to fully independent travel in unfamiliar environments including urban areas.

What will I study?

Students will study methods and strategies to instruct individuals with visual impairments to navigate their environment independently. 

When/where are classes offered? 

Classes are offered during fall, spring, and summer semesters at our DeKalb campus. Many courses are offered in the evening to accommodate students’ work schedules. Students are usually enrolled in a cohort; however, individuals may take courses at their own pace so long as they complete degree requirements specified in the graduate catalogue. 

How can I customize my degree program?

In addition to the core coursework, students can take elective courses that are approved by their graduate advisor. Students also have the option to choose from select research courses approved by their graduate advisor.

Who accredits the program?

The program is nationally accredited by the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER) which advances excellence in higher education programs by assuring academic quality and supporting continuous improvement. The vision program is led by faculty who are Certified Teachers of the Blind/Visually Impaired (TVI) and Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialists (COMS) and collectively have 50 years of experience working with individuals with visual impairments.

Where are grads working?

Graduates of the program work at sites nationwide, including public school districts, schools for individuals with blindness and low vision, and hospitals. Ninety percent of our graduates find employment within one year of graduating from the program. 

How do I apply?

Read about admission requirements; then apply!