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Stephen F. Austin State University

Orientation and Mobility Specialist


Since 1972, our SFA orientation and mobility (O&M) concentration has been training candidates to work with persons who are blind or visually impaired. Orientation, defined for our purposes, means knowing where you are in relationship to the environment around you. Mobility is the ability to get from where you are to where you want to be in a safe and efficient manner.


The SFA O&M concentration trains candidates to become Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialists (COMS) who are practically and pragmatically prepared to meet the needs of persons with visual impairments across the nation. Through their training in our concentration, graduates are prepared to successfully complete the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals (ACVREP) national O&M certification examination.

Graduates from our concentration are trained to effectively deliver services that provide opportunities for students and clients who are blind or visually impaired to be more independent, lead lives to their fullest potential and participate to a greater extent in society at large. To meet these goals, it is our responsibility to mentor and educate our candidates to recognize and remove environmental and societal barriers, raise expectations, provide solutions, and exhibit compassionate approaches to teaching O&M skills and techniques, valuing the worth of all individuals regardless of age, gender, race, sexual orientation or level of disability.

For undergraduates, SFA is proud to offer the only undergraduate O&M training concentration in the United States; it is a concentration completed with a Bachelor of Science in rehabilitation services. For more information, visit the Department of Human Services and Educational Leadership.

SFA offers orientation training at the graduate level for certification. Graduate students may elect to continue after certification and seek a master's degree in special education with a concentration in O&M. Students who complete our O&M certification training concentration at the undergraduate or graduate level are equally eligible to become nationally certified by the ACVREP.

Graduate students can choose from two tracks:

Upon certification as COMS, graduates from our concentration provide services to children and adults who have visual disabilities. These graduates offer services and help individuals develop the skills to travel independently in both familiar and unfamiliar environments. Graduates from our O&M training concentration are eligible and prepared to successfully complete the national certification examination from ACVREP. Once certified, they are able to work in a variety of settings including state rehabilitation agencies, Lighthouses for the Blind, residential/state schools for the blind, Veterans Administration training centers and school districts throughout the United States.

For more information on the O&M training concentration, please email us at

Graduate O&M Concentration

Candidates who have previously earned a bachelor's degree from an accredited university are eligible to apply for admission to the SFA O&M concentration at the graduate level. Admission typically occurs once per year, with initial coursework beginning in the first summer term. Some students may be accepted into the concentration at other times; however, course options may be limited due to prerequisites (e.g., summer coursework SPED 5600 and SPED 5316).

Students in the graduate O&M concnetration are required to come to the SFA campus for approximately six weeks to receive intensive, hands-on training in basic O&M (SPED 5600). Following the completion of SPED 5600 and SPED 5316, candidates are typically able to finish the remainder of training from their home location. Required coursework includes:

Completion of the above courses is required to become eligible for certification through the national certifying body, ACVREP. Candidates may apply for and take the national certification examination during internship placement.

Grant funding is available for graduate students in Texas in the O&M training concentration, allocated on a competitive basis. Applications for grant funds are due March 1 each year.

Course Sequences

Graduate Program of Orientation and Mobility -- Certification Only

Master's in Special Education with Orientation and Mobility

Faculty and Staff

Program Facilitator

Dr. Shannon Darst - TSVI

Program Assistant

Wendi Channel

Program Faculty

Ms. D.J. Dean - TSVI/COMS

Dr. Heather Munro - TSVI/COMS

Ms. Laura Hampton - TSVI

Mr. Jerry Mullins - TSVI/COMS

Beverly Jackson- COMS

Belinda Rudinger-Ed.D., TSBVI, ATP

Mailing Address

Visual Impairment Preparation Program
PO Box 13017, SFA Station
Nacogdoches, Tx 75962

Additional O&M and TSVI Information

Orientation & Mobility Graduate Concentration Brochure

Orientation and Mobility Internship Handbook

Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist Information

Graduate Bulletin: Visual Impairment Concentration

Graduate Bulletin: Orientation and Mobility Concentration

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