College of Education and Rehabilitation

Department of Blindness and Low Vision Programs

O&M specialists teach blind or visually impaired children to orient to their environment.

Orientation and Mobility (O&M) specialists teach blind or visually impaired children and adults critical skills to remain oriented in their environment

O& M specialists  teach mobility skills in order to travel safely.

O & M specialists teach specific mobility skills in order to travel safely.

Orientation and Mobility Programs

Orientation and Mobility (O&M) specialists teach blind or visually impaired children and adults critical skills to remain oriented in their environment as well as specific mobility skills in order to travel safely, efficiently and as independently as possible in the home, at school, at work and in the community.

O&M instruction is typically conducted one-on-one, tailored to each individual and includes skills such as effective use of the individual’s remaining senses, concept development, use of a long cane, low vision devices and/or electronic travel devices, and travel in a variety of settings.

O&M specialists work in various professional settings, including public schools, residential schools for students with visual impairments, rehabilitation agencies and Veteran Administration Medical Centers.  There are excellent employment opportunities in the field of O&M due to a national shortage of these professionals

Master of Science,
Orientation and Mobility

A full-time, fourteen month program, the Master of Science degree in Orientation and Mobility (O&M) typically begins in June (Summer Semester). However, with prior approval from the program’s director, it is possible for a student to begin in the Spring or Fall.

The majority of this program is taught online, with additional in-person weekends and a summer residency at the University. The coursework is research based, sequentially designed and integrated to ensure that a student’s necessary skills are developed prior to entry into fieldwork off campus.

Coursework prepares students to work effectively with individuals who have low vision, as well as those who are totally blind, and to work across generations. Students in the O&M Program learn the importance of a team approach to problem solving and for the provision of quality, comprehensive services. This program provides the coursework and supervised fieldwork experiences required to be eligible for certification by the Academy for the Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals (ACVREP). Fieldwork placements and internships may be located in PA or in other states in a variety of rehabilitation and educational facilities.

O & M specialists teach specific mobility skills in order to travel safely.

O&M instructor working with guide dog.

O&M instruction is typically conducted one-on-one, tailored to each individual and includes skills such as effective use of the individual’s remaining senses, concept development, use of a long cane, low vision devices and/or electronic travel devices,
and travel in a variety of settings.

Certificate Programs in Orientation and Mobility

Salus University College of Education and Rehabilitation offers two certificate programs:

For individuals who have completed an academic undergraduate or graduate degree specific to educating individuals with visual impairments, the College of Education and Rehabilitation offers a Certificate program in Orientation and Mobility (COM). This Certificate Program includes courses taught online, in-person on selected weekends and during the summer and is offered in part-time format in consideration for the demands of working professionals. In collaboration, the program director and students design individual programs of studies to better meet the students’ needs.

For individuals who do not have a background in visual impairment but do have an academic undergraduate or graduate degree, the Certificate Program in O&M (Category 3) offers the above COM program with additional online courses to meet the required certification competencies. Upon completion of the Certificate Program in O&M (Category 3), students are eligible to sit for the ACVREP certifying exam under Category 3. This program can be completed on a full time or part time basis.

In addition, Salus University, through the College of Education and Rehabilitation, offers COM programs through contracts with various states. These programs are developed “on demand” and through collaborative efforts with the interested states.  To date, students enrolled in distance education programs have received scholarships made possible through a combination of state and federal funding. Participating states have included Georgia, Indiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, West Virginia, and rural Pennsylvania. Plans are underway to expand to other states.

Completion of all certificate programs prepares participants to apply for professional certification by the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Educational Professionals (ACVREP) and state O&M certification where applicable.

09.25.2009