Graduates with dual certification integrate skills acquired from both the Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments (TVI) and Orientation and Mobility (O&M) components of the program into a more comprehensive service. Dually certified graduates are highly desirable to potential employers. A teacher who has earned Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) certification as a TVI and national professional certification in O&M from the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation & Education Professionals (ACVREP) (http://www.acvrep.org) will have a stronger background in motor development, sensory training, concept development, and movement. See the single certification O&M overview or the single certification TVI overview for more specific details regarding each certification option.
Students gaining admission to the dual TVI & O&M certification program will be admitted into a fall term cohort. In this hybrid program, the didactic courses are offered online in the fall, spring, and summer terms. Within the TVI certification tract, all courses are offered online, but the summer provides a time for face-to-face classes in Pittsburgh on the Oakland campus. Additionally, the O&M program requires students to participate in one Summer 6-week on-campus experience.
In addition to these didactic courses, students complete three levels of clinical practice. The first is an observational experience focused on TVI and O&M instructional practices. The second is a TVI student teaching practicum. Students apply for a PDE Instructional I teaching certificate upon successful completion of the TVI didactic coursework, the student teaching practicum, and the required Praxis II exams.
The third practicum is an O&M Internship required by ACVREP, which is scheduled at the completion of the O&M courses. Students are also required to attend a weekend workshop at Pitt’s Oakland Campus prior to beginning the O&M internship. Students completing the academic and clinical requirements of the O&M curricula must pass a national certification exam in O&M (see the ACVREP website for details) in order to become eligible for O&M certification.
Students have multiple options towards program completion. The dual certification courses are typically offered in a two-course per term pairing. Students may also combine a Master’s of Education (MEd) degree to their certification program of study. Students needing to complete a MEd degree and/or co-requisite courses may add additional courses to become a full-time student. The dual certification program takes approximately 3 years to complete.