Stephen F. Austin State University

Visual Impairment

Visual Impairments

The Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments (TVI) program will prepare you to teach children with visual impairments from birth through 22 years of age. This 21 credit-hour program (7 courses) trains graduate level students who already hold a valid Texas teaching certificate. Instructional arrangements and schedules are designed with the needs of the non-traditional student or working adult in mind. The requirements of the program can be completed in approximately one calendar year. TVI candidates are primarily admitted once per year in cohorts beginning during the summer term (admission at other times is limited to courses without prerequisites). Training begins with two summer classes:

These two classes are taught here at SFASU and are delivered to remote locations through participating Education Service Centers (ESCs) over the TETN video conferencing platform. After these six credit hours have been successfully completed, your school district can apply for an emergency permit so that you may serve as their Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments (TVI) while you continue enrollment in your training program. Candidates will be eligible to work and perform all duties of a TVI under the emergency permit. Instructions for obtaining an emergency permit as a TVI are linked below. All candidates beginning their TVI careers receive onsite support from experienced TVI mentors and from university supervisors.

Upon completion of the braille course, Texas candidates are permitted to take the Texas Examination of Educators Standards (TExES) test for Braille (TExES 183- Braille), one of two TExES tests required for full certification in Visual Impairment in the state of Texas.

After passing the two summer courses described above, the following courses* must be successfully completed in order to fulfill TVI certification requirements:

*The fall and spring courses listed above are delivered in evenings via the Internet, and do not require travel to your local ESC.

Those of you living/working in Texas are expected to successfully complete the state certification test in Visual Impairment (TExES 182 - Visually Impaired) at or near the end of your spring semester classes.

Candidates must successfully complete all instructional classes, examinations, and practicum assignments in order to be eligible to add "Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments" to their official educator certificate. Candidates from other states should contact the program faculty to work collaboratively to ensure that local requirements are met.

Grant funding is available for Texas candidates in the TVI program. These funds pay for tuition and most fees. Funds are limited, and are allocated on a competitive basis. Applications for this grant funding are due the third Monday of March each year. If selected, your grant funding is "paid back" through subsequent work in the field of visual impairment in Texas, as detailed in the grant agreement.

Candidates may wish to continue training and add certification as an Orientation and Mobility Specialist (COMS). This is referred to as dual certification. There may be funding assistance to add training toward national certification in O&M. Candidates may also obtain a Master's degree in Special Education with an emphasis in Visual Impairment and/or Orientation & Mobility. Currently, grant funds from our program can only be used cover courses required for certification, but most of these certification courses will count toward completion of the M.Ed. Candidates may seek outside funds or self-pay for their required Master's degree coursework.


It is the mission of the Visual Impairment Preparation (VIP) Program to train Teachers of students with Visual Impairments (TVIs) and Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialists (COMS) who are practically and pragmatically prepared to meet the needs of persons with visual impairments across the state of Texas and in the nation as a whole. We believe that completers from our program should be equipped to effectively deliver instructional services which provide opportunities for students and clients with visual impairments to be more independent, lead more meaningful lives, and participate to a greater extent in society at large. In order to meet these goals, we believe that it is our responsibility to mentor and educate our graduates in the importance of exhibiting caring and compassionate approaches to instruction and positive beliefs about the worth of all individuals regardless of age, gender, race, sexual orientation or level of disability.

If you would like more information please contact any of our program faculty.
PO. Box 13017 SFA Station
Nacogdoches, TX 75962

Course Sequence

Faculty & Staff

Program Facilitator
Dr. Shannon Darst - TVI

Program Faculty
Ms. Deborah 'Cricket' Cady - TVI/COMS
Ms. D.J. Dean - TVI/COMS
Ms. Heather Munro -TVI/COMS
Ms. Jennifer Perry - VRT/COMS

Grant Project Coordinator
Ms. Donna Wood

Mailing Address
Visual Impairment Preparation Program
PO Box 13017-SFA Station
Nacogdoches, TX 75962

Additional Information and VIP Program Handbook for O&M and TVI

Visual Impairment and Orientation & Mobility Handbook

Application deadline for possible grant funding for Texas students due March 1 of each year.