Orientation and Mobility (O&M)

Certificate of Completion

Orientation and Mobility (O&M)

Quick Facts

  • 25-27 credits
  • 5-6 terms
  • Flexible hybrid courses
  • Two tracks: certificate-only or teaching license/VIL endorsement add-on

Orientation and Mobility Overview

Nationwide, there is a critical shortage of orientation and mobility specialists. O&M specialists educate students with visual impairments, including those with deafblindness. The need for evidence-based instruction for individuals with visual impairments in all geographic areas is great. It is a particular need in rural and remote communities where there are too few O&M Specialists. Providing quality O&M services to people, regardless of geography, is a matter of equity. In fact, O&M is recognized in special education and rehabilitation laws, including the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and the Rehabilitation Act (RA) of 1973. O&M skills have been associated with higher rates of education, employment and quality of life. O&M specialists teach people how to travel safely, efficiently, and with purpose in a variety of environments. The O&M program is an extension of the Visually Impaired Learner (VIL) program. VIL has been preparing teachers of students with visual impairments (TSVIs) since 1964.


Amy Parker
Program Coordinator


Tracy Williams-Murphy
Admissions Advisor

Program Benefits

  • Enjoy multimedia-rich courses
  • Get matched with O&M mentors in home communities.
  • Understand links between research-based instruction and effective O&M practices
  • Engage at events such as Mobility Matters
  • Learn from rich hands-on training in the summer with O&M experts and agency partners, such as Guide Dogs for the Blind
  • Prepare to complete the international certification exam through the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals (ACVREP)
  • Experience incredible value: Learn from experienced teachers who have scholarly expertise and advanced degrees—and do so in convenient locations and at an accessible price

Program Specifics

  • Enjoy convenient, hybrid scheduling for working professionals, including face-to-face and online learning environments where students learn individually and in groups
  • Benefit from your peers’ knowledge and experience in our unique cohort model
  • Available in conjunction with the VIL initial license, as a stand-alone certificate of completion, as courses that lead to a Master of Science degree, and as an added certificate to those who currently hold a TSVI license.

About the program

Applicants from PNWCVE member states (Oregon, Washington, Hawaii, Idaho, Alaska, and Montana) receive priority admissions and federal grant funding when available. Applicants from nonmember states are welcome to apply and are accepted on a space-available basis.

Our graduates

The O&M program launched its first cohort in fall 2017. Our students are already having an impact, promoting progress, and supporting student goals in a diverse range of schools, universities, rehabilitation settings, and community organizations. These include the Columbia Regional Service Center, the Oregon Commission for the Blind, and the Washington State School for the Blind. Others work in similar organizations in Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, and Montana, and across the country.

Why PSU?

Portland is known as a leader in accessibility discussions, and PSU supports this by offering the only O&M program in the Pacific Northwest. PSU also is host to the Pacific and Northwest Consortium for Vision Education (PNWCVE). PSU is supported by diverse regional partners. This offers O&M students a highly networked experience. You become collaborators in regional opportunities. O&M will assist you in building competencies through projects with partners. The program also teaches innovative ways to address service needs in rural and geographically remote regions. We believe that within our differences lie individual strengths. For that, we foster generous self-respect and relentlessly support one another toward maximal contribution and impact.