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Resources

The NRTC has several resources available to help you find a job. See our NRTC Employment Resources page for resources including


Jobs in the Blindness and Low Vision Field

Many individuals find satisfying, long-term careers in the field of blindness and visual impairments (B/VI). Professionals in this area assist individuals with B/VI in learning new skills and leading a full, fulfilling life. Many professionals in these fields have B/VI themselves.

Possible career paths in the field of B/VI include:

Orientation & Mobility (O&M) Specialist

Teaches safe travel skills to children and adults, including:

  • Street crossings
  • Bus travel
  • Use of a white cane or guide dog
  • Airport and subway navigation
  • Orientation to new locations

Educational Requirements

Most O&M; specialists have a master’s degree in Orientation and Mobility. After completing this degree, specialists must pass a certification exam through the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation Professionals (ACVREP) to be called Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialists (COMS).

Employment Opportunities

  • School districts
  • State Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agencies
  • Veterans Administration (VA) blind rehabilitation programs
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Independent contracts

Vision Rehabilitation Therapist (VRT)

Teaches independent living skills for daily living, such as:

  • Labeling and organization
  • Cooking
  • Reading mail
  • Paying bills
  • Use of household appliances
  • Money identification
  • Computer use

Educational Requirements

A VRT master’s degree is available, although many work in this profession with only a bachelor’s degree. Certification is available from ACVREP. Certified Vision Rehabilitation Therapists (CVRT) have the most opportunities for employment.

Employment Opportunities

  • State VR agencies
  • VA blind rehabilitation programs
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Schools for the blind
  • Independent contracts

Low Vision Therapist

Helps individuals with B/VI improve their lives through the use of low vision aids by:

  • Assessing magnification needs
  • Instructing in the use of magnifiers
  • Suggesting environmental modifications
  • Demonstrating closed-circuit televisions
  • Instructing in use of other low vision technologies

Educational Requirements
A bachelor’s degree is required, and many individuals in this field pursue a master’s degree in low vision or another related area. ACVREP gives a certification exam.

Employment Opportunities

  • VA blind rehabilitation programs
  • State VR agencies
  • Office of a low vision doctor
  • Nonprofit organizations

Rehabilitation Counselor (RC)

Guides individuals with B/VI toward successfully securing employment by:

  • Advising on career options
  • Providing case management
  • Developing a rehabilitation plan
  • Supervising provision of services
  • Counseling on adjustment to blindness
  • Advising on interviewing/disability disclosure
  • Providing job placement services

Educational Requirements
Most RC’s are required to have a master’s degree. Credentialing as a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) is available through the Commission on Rehabilitation Counseling Certification and requires a written exam. There is no blindness specialty in the certification process. Instead, candidates are required to be knowledgeable in all disability areas.

Employment Opportunities

  • State VR agencies
  • Nonprofit organizations

Teacher of the Vision Impaired (TVI)

Adapts classroom materials and activities to maximize learning for children with visual impairments:

  • Assesses student needs
  • Teaches braille and listening skills
  • Serves as a resource for classroom teachers
  • Writes Individual Education Plan
  • Provides computer accessibility instruction
  • Teaches study skills

Educational Requirements
TVIs are required to have a bachelor's and/or master's degree, as well as all appropriate teaching credentials.

Employment Opportunities

  • School districts
  • Residential schools for the blind
  • Early intervention programs
  • Independent contracts

Deaf-Blind Specialist

Instructs individuals who have a dual sensory loss on topics such as:

  • Communication skills
  • Braille
  • Concept development
  • Instructional planning
  • Assistive technology
  • Independent living skills
  • Job skills
  • Orientation and mobility
  • Social and emotional adjustment
  • Recreational activities

Educational Requirements
Deaf-blind specialists usually have a master's degree in rehabilitation, special education, or a related field and are fluent in sign language and various forms of manual communication. Some have educational backgrounds as O&M, specialists, VRTs, job placement specialists, TVIs, or other related majors. It is also helpful for deaf-blind specialists to have intervener or interpreter skills or certifications.

Employment Opportunities

Assistive Technology Instructor

Specializes in assisting individuals who are B/VI with assistive software and hardware:

  • Evaluates needs
  • Recommends assistive software and hardware
  • Installs the software and sets up specialized devices
  • Instructs in the use of devices
  • Works with team members to incorporate devices
  • Repairs and maintains assistive technology

Educational Requirements
Instructors need a master's or bachelor's degree in Rehabilitation Engineering, Industrial/Educational Technology, Rehabilitation Teaching, or a related area. Also, familiarity with computer access technology for persons with vision-related needs (e.g., braille, speech access, and large print) is usually required. A certification will soon be available from ACVREP. This new certification will be called Certified Assistive Technology Instruction Specialist (CATIS). Specialized certifications are offered by several of the companies who program commonly-used accessible software. This certification is only for their software package:

Employment Opportunities

  • State VR agencies
  • VA blind rehabilitation programs
  • Private agencies
  • Independent contracts
  • School districts

If you are interested in a job in the blindness and low vision field, review Colleges and Universities, which provides a list of colleges and universities offering courses in education and rehabilitation of people who are visually impaired, deaf-blind, and multi-handicapped.


Career Advantage for V.I.P.s

Are you making the transition from high school, college, or other training program into the workforce? Or are you an adult seeking to find or change employment? If so, this self-guided program was designed for you! Career Advantage for V.I.P.s: An Employment Preparation Primer for Individuals who are Blind or Visually Impaired offers eight instructional modules which you can explore at your own pace. For access to the Career Advantage for V.I.P.s program, please complete the survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CAvips. If you have any questions about the program, please contact the NRTC staff at 662-325-2001 or by email at nrtc@colled.msstate.edu.


Information Related to Employment

To view other research results related to employment, visit our Article Summaries page. That webpage hosts downloadable PDFs that include easy to understand descriptions of research publications that focus on practical takeaways.


College Graduates with Visual Impairments: Seeking and Finding Employment

Research Takeaway: The employment landscape for college graduates with blindness or visual impairments (BVI) is full of difficulties, as they face challenges unique to individuals with BVI. Matching young people with BVI with mentors who also have BVI and who can provide career coaching and advice may help improve employment outcomes for this youth population.


Employment Outcomes and Job Quality of Vocational Rehabilitation Consumers with Deaf-Blindness

Research Takeaway: Some people with a traumatic brain injury (TBI) also experience visual impairment (VI). We wanted to know how many consumers with both TBI and VI are served by vocational rehabilitation (VR) agencies, how agencies provide services to these consumers, and how likely consumers are to find employment.