A TBVI is a special educator who works with school-aged children who are blind and visually impaired, including those with multiple disabilities and deafblindness. The role of the TBVI is to ensure that students receive appropriate instruction, accommodations and modifications in the least restrictive environment. TBVIs offer both direct and consultation services and collaborate with the general education instructors, family members, and other service providers.
There is a shortage of professionals with this expertise throughout the United States. In Virginia, it is expected that over half of currently employed TBVIs will retire within the next five to ten years. Teacher of students who are blind or visually impaired can work in a variety of settings, including, special schools for the blind and visually impaired, local school districts, and private and state agencies.
The salary depends on where you work. The salary range in Virginia is from $30,000 to $50,000 for a beginning teacher. Students with a master's degree will make slightly more than those without a master's. It is recommended that you check the salary scale for the school district(s) where you wish to work.
If you enroll as full time student, you can finish the program in about a year and a half, which includes 300 internship/practicum hours. As a part-time student, you can expect to complete the program in two to three years. For students who already have a special education teaching licensure, some courses may be waived.
The VI Consortium program has rolling admissions and you can start taking courses in the fall, spring or summer. You must apply at least one month in advance to both the VI Consortium and one of the participating universities. Go to the Application Process link for more information.
Yes. You will need to complete the full VI Consortium program in addition to 12 credits of general special education courses. These are, Introduction to Special Education, Positive Behavior Supports, Consultation and Collaboration, and Language Development and Reading. (Note: these courses go by different titles for some universities.). You will also need to complete internship/practicum credits.
You will need to complete all of the VI core courses (20 credits) as well as the internship to earn your certification requirements towards state licensure. Some of the general special education courses may be waived (up to 12 credits). To develop your plan of study, contact your university liaison .
Most courses are offered on-line via videoconferencing. You are required to attend classes by traveling to one of the videoconferencing classrooms at your participating university. Occasionally, there are face-to-face meetings, which take place on the weekend or during the summer.
Graduate application deadlines for each semester vary between participating universities. Check the participating university website or contact your university liaison for more information.  The VI Consortium application is due at least one month before courses begin for the starting semester.