Special Education

Careers working with individuals who are visually impaired!

ITI Program | TVI Programs | TVI Certification | Orientation and Mobility Programs | Scholarships | Jobs and Recruitment

What does a Teacher of the Visually Impaired teach students who are blind or visually impaired? What are other jobs Vision Professionals do for students and adults?
Answers to this question and more can be found at AERBVI.org or TeachBlindStudents.org.

Intensive Teacher Institute Program (ITI)

The New York State Education Department (SED) Office of Vocational and Educational Services for Individuals with Disabilities (VESID) sponsors an Intensive Teacher Institute (ITI) Program. This program provides tuition assistance for individuals pursuing New York State Teacher certification as Teachers of the Blind and Partially Sighted or Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation & Education Professionals (ACVREP) certification as Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialists (COMS'). The ITI program is designed to assist school districts by providing tuition assistance to teachers who currently hold a teaching certificate and are interested in obtaining and working under an additional certificate as a Teacher of the Blind and Partially Sighted, otherwise known as a Teacher of Visually Impaired Students (TVI), and/or as a Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist (COMS).

In order to qualify for the Program, candidates must:

  1. already hold New York State provisional or permanent teaching certification
  2. submit the signed nomination agreement between themselves and a school district or agency that they will be employed as a full time teacher of visually impaired students immediately upon completion of the ITI Program
  3. be accepted and matriculated into the appropriate Hunter or Dominican College program.

Each candidate must submit the following:

  1. An official or student undergraduate transcript containing GPA and graduation. Transcripts must be submitted from all undergraduate institutions previously attended.
  2. A completed ITI nomination form with appropriate personal and superintendent signatures.

Note: The reason behind the nomination form/agreement between the student and the district, BOCES or agency is to guarantee that TVIs/COMS’ will be directly placed where they are most needed. Although school districts cannot be legally bound to the nomination if circumstances change and they no longer need a full time TVI/COMS, the ITI graduate's tuition will still be covered by SED if s/he obtains a full time teaching position anywhere in NYS.

Please contact Sophie McDermott sophie.mcdermott@nysed.gov , who is the SED contact for the ITI Program.  

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TVI Programs in New York State:

Hunter College external link is a CUNY college that offers masters programs for Teachers of Visually Impaired students (TVIs) and Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialists (COMS), and Vision Rehabilitation Therapists(VRTs, formerly known as Rehabilitation Teachers).
View the Hunter Video Promo: http://www.vimeo.com/10594133 external link
For more information about the TVI or VRT programs, contact:
Dr. Rosanne Silberman Phone: 212-772-4740 or E-Mail: rsilberm@hunter.cuny.edu.

Dominican College external link offers a Teacher of the Visually Impaired program, with both online and weekend coursework options.
For more information about the TVI program, contact the Admissions Office:
Phone: 1-866-432-4636

Teachers College, Columbia University external link offers both masters and doctoral level professional preparation programs year round for TVI's, as part of the Program for Educators of Learners with Blindness and Visual Impairments. This curriculum class is offered in the spring via distance learning. NOTE: the Columbia program is not yet funded through the ITI Program.
For more information about the program, contact:
Peg Cummins, Ed.D. Phone: 212/678-3878 or x-3880 or Email: cummins@tc.edu

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TVI Certification:

Requirements for obtaining a TVI certification external link is available from the NYS SED Office of Teaching and Certification. From the drop down choices, select Classroom Teacher, Blind & Visually Impaired, Pre-K-12 All Grades.

Information is available for certified teachers pursuing TVI Certification regarding the recently implemented regulations 80-5.18. This regulation permits certified classroom teachers to teach in another title in a shortage area while completing education requirements in the new title. The candidate must hold the minimum degree for a new certificate and, for most titles, possess 12 semester hours in content area of new certificate. For certificates to teach students with disabilities, deaf and hard of hearing, blind or visually impaired or to teach literacy, 9 hours in the specialty area is required.

NYS Regional Teacher Certification Offices external link

Orientation and Mobility Programs:

Hunter College external link is a CUNY college that offers a masters program for Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialists (COMS): http://www.hunter.cuny.edu/education/currentstudents/progcoor.shtml.
to be admitted to the Orientation and Mobility program, one must already hold TVI or VRT/RT credentials. View the Hunter Video Promo: http://www.vimeo.com/10594133 external link
For more information about the Orientation and Mobility program, contact:
Dr. Grace Ambrose-Zaken Phone: 212-772-4741 or E-Mail gambrose@hunter.cuny.edu

Orientation and Mobility Certification external link information can be found for certification in Orientation and Mobility, the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation, and Education Professionals (ACVREP).

Additional Information:

Other Sources of information about national college and university programs for working with Visually Impaired (including distance education options and financial aid information):

The New York State Chapter of AER offers scholarships external link for teachers who are NYS residents pursuring a degrees in the vision field.

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Last Updated: February 8, 2016dDate -->