Blindness and Low Vision Programs

Program Descriptions

Blindness and Low Vision (Birth - Grade 12) Teacher Certification

In response to the state-wide shortage of teachers trained to work with Visually Impaired students, Missouri State University has developed a state-wide alternative Blindness and Low Vision Certification Program (BLV) which allows both currently certified teachers and candidates with a bachelor's degree but no certification to earn their initial certificate in Blindness and Low Vision (Birth - Grade 12). This program has received full accreditation from the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER), the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE).

In addition, candidates in states outside Missouri may enroll in the BLV program to earn certification in Missouri, and then work with their home state to transfer that certification to their state. For more information on transferring certification from Missouri to your home state, click here.

The BLV program allows students the option to teach on a Provisional Certificate in Missouri with blind and low vision students while pursuing certification. In order to offer the program throughout the state of Missouri, students complete 24 hours of masters level BLV coursework online through Missouri State University and must complete the Missouri Content Assessments (MoCA) for Cross Categorical Special Education (#050) and Blind and Partially Sighted (#047). Those without a current teaching certificate also complete 12 hours of specific education coursework at ANY College or University in Missouri with a teacher education program approved by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). Because this program is usually completed while working full-time, the program takes approximately 2-3 years to complete. To view the list of courses required in this program, click here.

Additional coursework in Special Education and/or attendance at workshops may be needed to prepare you for successful completion of the Missouri Content Assessment (MoCA) exam Cross-Categorical Special Education (exam #050).

Orientation and Mobility National Certification through ACVREP


Missouri State currently offers a Graduate Certificate in Orientation and Mobility. The coursework completed in this certificate program prepares the student to sit for the national O&M Certification Exam. The result is not a State of Missouri teaching certificate, but a national certification in Orientation and Mobility.

Students who complete the coursework in this program and pass the national exam are well prepared to provide instruction in travel skills for individuals who are blind or visually impaired across the lifespan. Certified O&M specialists provide comprehensive instruction in travel related skills and concepts in various environments including home, school, residential, street crossings, mass transit, transition skills and the individual needs of the dog guide user.

For more information on the Orientation and Mobility certificate program, click here.

Who are these programs for?

The Blindness and Low Vision and the Orientation and Mobility Certificate Program are designed for candidates with a Bachelor's degree and a minimum 2.75 overall cumulative GPA (2.75 for O&M Certificate). Both currently certified teachers and candidates with a bachelor's degree and no teaching certificate are eligible to apply for either program. Missouri State University does not guarantee the transferability of the Visually Impaired certificate to any other state. Candidates who wish to transfer certification from Missouri to their home state should first contact the Department of Education in that state to determine the transferability of this certificate. Please click here to review the Post Baccalaureate Teacher Certification admission criteria.

How do I apply for these Programs?

To begin the application process for the BLV program, click here to view the application process.

To begin the application process for the O&M Certificate Program, click here to view the application process.

This program begins in the summer semester only. The Special Education Department will review applications in the month of April. In order to be considered for summer admission, the application deadline is March 15 of every year. Applicants who do not hold a valid teaching certificate will need to complete the following Professional Education courses as prerequisites prior to admission to the program:

  1. RDG318 (3) Foundations of Reading Instruction
  2. RDG574 (3) Analysis and Correction of Difficulties in Literacy
  3. SPE310 (3) Introduction to Special Education
  4. PSY360 (3) Educational Psychology

Students can be admitted as a post-bac, non-degree seeking teacher certification student in order to complete these courses prior to full admission to the BLV program. Completion of these courses does not guarantee admission to the program.

For more information on the Blindness and Low Vision Certification Program (BLV) or the Orientation and Mobility Program, please contact:

Lisa Monkres, Admissions Coordinator
Special Education Certification Programs
Missouri State University
901 S. National Ave.
Springfield, MO 65897