Visually Impaired Learner Program

The Visually Impaired Learner (VIL) program is a nationally accredited graduate program to prepare teachers of students with visual impairments (TSVIs), birth to 21, including those with multiple disabilities. Nationwide there is a critical need for TSVIs, particularly in rural areas of the U.S. Portland State University offers the only program for TSVI training in the Pacific Northwest using an innovative and flexible hybrid model.

Portland State University is the regional university preparation program for the Pacific and Northwest Consortium for Vision Education (PNWCVE). The consortium is currently comprised of 5 states: Oregon, Washington, Hawaii, Idaho, and Montana. Applicants from consortium member states receive priority admissions, resident tuition, and federal grant funding when available. Applicants from non­-member states are welcome to apply and are accepted on a space available basis.

The next TSVI cohort begins summer 2020.

Student reading Braille

Program Benefits

  • Acquire skills to provide high quality services to students with visual impairments
  • Learn competencies and gain skills and to assist students with visual impairments to fully access the general education curriculum
  • Complete coursework to apply for licensure in special education with a specialization in visual impairment
  • Pursue Master's degree while preparing for initial licensure


  • Part­-time
  • Flexible hybrid model
    • Year one 3­-week summer session
    • Fully online courses after the first summer
  • 65 credits for initial licensure and master's
  • Cohort program
  • Hands­-on, field­-based learning activities included in most courses
  • Field placements within graduate student’s local community at residential schools for the blind, and itinerant work across numerous schools, and within classrooms

Our graduates

  • Teachers of students with visual impairments, school principals at residential schools for the blind, outreach coordinators for services for the blind and visually impaired, early intervention specialists working with infants and toddlers who are blind and visually impaired