How to Become an Orientation & Mobility Specialist | (2024)

How to Become an Orientation & Mobility Specialist | (1)

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 LevelExample 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:

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.

How to Become an Orientation & Mobility Specialist | (2024)


What is a certified orientation and mobility specialist? ›

A Certified Orientation & Mobility Specialist (COMS), is a highly trained expert who specializes in working with individuals who are blind, low vision or who have functional visual limitations, and empowers them to achieve their life goals for education, employment, avocation and independence.

What are the four basic techniques in orientation and mobility? ›

It defines orientation as a blind person's awareness of their physical position and mobility as their ability to safely and independently move from place to place. It then outlines various techniques including cane technique, sighted guide techniques, self-protective techniques, and general orientation tips.

What does a mobility specialist do? ›

A mobility specialist is a professional who helps individuals with mobility difficulties. They work with clients to develop treatment plans based on their needs and medical histories, and they facilitate stretching sessions.

What is the job outlook for orientation and mobility specialist? ›

The overall job outlook for Low Vision Therapist, Orientation or Mobility Specialist, or Vision Rehabilitation Therapist careers has been positive since 2004. Vacancies for this career have increased by 51.52 percent nationwide in that time, with an average growth of 3.22 percent per year.

How long does orientation and mobility training take? ›

Typically, a person with no prior O&M training and little to no useful vision will need three to six months of training to become as independent as their abilities permit. Students who have had previous training can complete the program in three to four weeks.

How to become an O and M? ›

  1. Courses are primarily online, but students must complete an in-person techniques course for 7 weeks during one summer.
  2. Internship of 350 hours (approximately 12-14) weeks, which is needed for certification.
  3. Completion of all required courses.

What is most useful for orientation and mobility training? ›

Orientation and mobility (O&M) training teaches a person with visual impairment to use mobility aids such as a white cane or guide dog and move safely through their environment. Professionals usually conduct sessions one-to-one so they can tailor training to a person's specific needs and goals.

How do orientation and mobility specialists assist clients? ›

Orientation and mobility specialists help people with disabilities stay actively involved in society. They teach blind, visually impaired, and disabled individuals how to master the skills necessary to live independently and often encourage them to participate in various educational or recreational programs.

What are clues in orientation and mobility? ›

Orientation & Mobility experts define clues and landmark as, “any familiar object, sound, smell, temperature, tactile or visual clue that is easily recognised, is constant and has a discrete permanent location in the environment that is known to the traveller.” A clue can include the sounds, smells, temperature, ...

What questions are asked in a mobility specialist interview? ›

Interview Questions for Global Mobility Specialist
  • Are you familiar with the tax laws in other countries? ...
  • What are some of the most important factors you consider when planning a relocation? ...
  • How would you handle a situation where an employee is not happy with the housing arrangements you selected for them?

What is a mobility certification? ›

The Balance and Mobility Specialist Instructor Certificate Program is designed to provide physical activity instructors and health care professionals with the knowledge and practical skills necessary to implement an evidence-based balance and mobility training program for older adults at moderate-to-high risk for falls ...

What is the day in the life of an orientation and mobility specialist? ›

In a typical day, an orientation and mobility specialist might orient a college student who is blind to locate classes, the cafeteria and the library on a college campus; instruct a young adult who has low vision in the use of a GPS device; and teach a man who is visually impaired to cross two busy streets to get to ...

What is the goal of orientation and mobility? ›

A primary goal of orientation and mobility training is to help each child with visual impairments achieve independent movement to as great a degree as possible. Some children may be preparing to get a dog guide, or learning how to access public transportation to get across town to a job.

What are the benefits of orientation and mobility? ›

Orientation and Mobility training provides tremendous benefits, including: Increased independence: O&M training empowers people with blindness and low vision to confidently navigate their home and other environments. Training also helps increase someone's ability to remain active and reduce reliance on others.

What is the difference between orientation and mobility? ›

Orientation vs mobility

Orientation refers to a person's ability to use their senses to know where they are positioned in their environment. Mobility refers to the person's capability and readiness to move in their environment.

What does an O&M specialist do? ›

Orientation and mobility (O&M) specialists teach individuals with visual impairments to travel safely, confidently and independently in their environment. They work with infants, children and adults usually on a one-to-one basis in a home, school, hospital or in the community.

What is the purpose of orientation and mobility? ›

Orientation and mobility training helps a person with a visual impairment know where he or she is in space and where he or she wants to go (orientation) and how to carry out a plan to get there (mobility).

What is the role of the TVI and O&M specialist? ›

The combination TVI and O&M Specialist provides direct service and consultation to students as per the students IEP/IFSP. This position works one on one on the student's school site and in the community and collaborates with classroom teachers in the planning and executing O&M plans.

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