How to Become an Orientation & Mobility Specialist

How to Become an Orientation & Mobility Specialist

Both bachelor's and master's degrees are available today in Orientation and Mobility Programs, with the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired providing lists of schools with these academic offerings.

Residency and internship are required for an orientation and mobility specialist in training. Additionally, you can gain certification through the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals, which also certifies other vision-related medical professions.

1. Earn a Bachelor's Degree (4 Years)

You first must earn your bachelor's degree so you can go on to complete a graduate program. There is no set major you should focus on while going for your undergrad, but you will need classes in Biology, Anatomy, Physiology, Chemistry, Physics and Psychology.

Also, you need to keep a GPA of a 3.0 and have a minimum of 21 hours in science courses to be considered for a graduate program. An undergrad course load might look like the following, if you take a pre-profressional or pre-medical route:

Grade Level Example Courses
  • General Chemistry I & Lab
  • General Chemistry II & Lab
  • Biology & Lab
  • Calculus I
  • Physics I & Lab
  • Physics II & Lab
  • Humanities Requirements
  • Electives
  • Organic Chemistry I & Lab
  • Organic Chemistry II & Lab
  • Fundamentals of Microbiology & Lab
  • Genetics
  • Physiology
  • Humanities Requirements
  • Electives
  • Cell Structure & Function
  • General Virology & Lab
  • Microbial Genetics & Lab
  • Biochemistry I
  • Biochemistry II
  • Physics
  • Humanities Requirements
  • Electives
  • Upper Level Biology
  • Upper Level Chemistry
  • Upper Level Physics
  • Upper Level Psychology
  • Upper Level Kinesiology
  • Remaining Requirements & Electives

2. Earn a Master's Degree (2 Years)

A master's degree program usually requires about 37 credit hours and can be completed in one year. The courses include a practicum and an internship that will give you clinical experience and time with mentors.

Once you graduate from a Master's program and meet all the requirements for certification by the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals in orientation and mobility you can take the national certification exam.

You can take this exam through Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals.

A master's degree program can look like the following:

Year Courses
1st - Fall
  • Services for Persons with Disabilities (one credit)
  • Psycho-Social Aspects of Disability (two credits)
  • Medical and Functional Aspects of Disability (two credits)
  • Physiology and Function of the Eye (two credits)
  • Orientation and Mobility for Children (two credits)
1st - Spring
  • Introduction to Methods of Orientation and Mobility (four credits)
  • Electronic Devices (four credits)
  • Principles of Low Vision (two credits)
  • Research: Design and Analysis (three credits)
  • Gerontology - Orientation and Mobility and Vision Rehabilitation Therapy (two credits)
  • Issues in Independent Travel (two credits)
  • Practice in Low Vision (one credits) Assisted or Independent
  • Principles of Orientation and Mobility (three credits)
  • Practicum in Orientation and Mobility (two credits)
  • Professional Field Experience (Internship) (six credits)

3. Earn the Required Certification

Get your certification from the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals (ACVREP) once you meet all the requirements and get your credentials.

Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist (COMS) test grants you the certification required to practice nationally.

There may be certain state requirements that vary, depending on where you live. Check with your state to see what kind of requirements you need to meet.