Orientation and Mobility Specialist training is offered at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. In a Bachelors or Master's Degree in Rehabilitation or Education with a major or emphasis in Orientation and Mobility. Presently, there are two undergraduate and 13 graduate programs in universities in the United States that have been approved by the Association of Educators and Rehabilitators of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER).
Rehabilitation Teacher training programs that offer specialization in either Rehabilitation Teaching or Orientation and Mobility are typically at the graduate level and in some instances. Rehabilitation Counselors for the Blind are most often employed in related agencies and organizations serving the visually impaired population. Typically, these positions require a Bachelor's degree in Rehabilitation or related fields with specialized training related to the Blind and Visually Impaired, however, a Master's degree is usually preferred.
Graduates of approved university programs are eligible for Rehabilitation Teaching or Orientation and Mobility Certification from the Association of Educators and Rehabilitators of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER). Rehabilitation Counselors for the Blind are eligible for the same type of certification and licensure as Rehabilitation Counselors.
Graduates of Orientation and Mobility (O&M) training programs provide training to blind and visually impaired individuals with the goal of promoting independent and safe travel. Duties for an O&M Specialist may include interviewing, assessment, referrals and providing direct O & M services. Some opportunities are available in Low Vision Clinics where graduates are responsible for assessing remaining vision and determining appropriate visually training needs.
Rehabilitation Teachers perform a wide variety of duties including performing individual assessments, providing instruction in independent living skills, activities of daily living, homemaking skills and personnel management.
Rehabilitation Counselors for the Blind perform a variety of duties in providing services to the Blind and Visually Impaired (See Rehabilitation Counseling).
Rehabilitation Teachers and Orientation and Mobility Specialists may work in state and private Rehabilitation Agencies including: State Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Low Vision Clinics and Educational Institutions. In many instances, specialists may provide services to the blind and visually impaired for facilities and agencies on a contractual arrangement. Rehabilitation Counselors for the Blind are employed by State Rehabilitation Agencies for the Blind and Visually Impaired, specialized programs, and Community Rehabilitation Programs serving this population.
Additional Information Source
National Federation of the Blind
1800 Johnson Street
Baltimore, MD 21230
American Foundation for the Blind
11 Penn Plaza, Suite 300
New York, NY 10001