Assistive Technology for VI

What is an Assistive Technology Instructional Specialist for People with Visual Impairments (ATIS)?

The online Assistive Technology Graduate Certificate and Master of Education Degree prepare professionals for eligibility to apply for the CATIS Certification through ACVREP. Assistive Technology Instructional Specialists must have well-rounded knowledge in the following domains: Assessment, instruction, configuration, and exploration for AT for people with visual impairments. These programs are fully online other than integrated field experience and practicum hours. “CATIS are committed to excellence in serving individuals who are visually impaired to facilitate independence, communication and successful outcomes for educational pursuits, avocational interests and gainful employment.” CATIS Certification information from ACVREP¶2

Assistive Technology specialists work with a variety of populations among people who are blind or visually impaired including people who are deaf-blind, college students, people over 55 years old, children in transition to adult services, individuals who are multiply disabled, employed people requiring "on the job training" or job accommodations, management, and veterans.

What are the admissions requirements?

Admissions to all graduate programs are coordinated through the Office of Graduate Admissions. All materials and correspondence should be directed to the Office of Graduate Admissions, Campus Center, Upper Level. You can contact them at 617.287.6400. Program advisory information requests should be directed to Laura Bozeman (617.287.4385, or Sandy Smith (617.287.7633,

Apply to UMass Boston by completing the standard graduate application provided in the Graduate Studies Bulletin and at, where you can print out an application or apply online with a credit card. Specify that you are applying to the M.Ed. in Vision Studies/Vision Rehabilitation Therapy track.

As part of the application process for the university, you are also required to:

Obtain three letters of recommendation, using the forms provided by the Office of Graduate Admissions. Emphasis should be placed on academic and professional references that speak to your ability as a thoughtful educator in Vision Rehabilitation Therapy.
Complete all testing required by the University. If you do not have a master's degree, you will be required to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), Miller's Analogy Test (MAT), or the Massachusetts Test for Educator Licensure (MTEL) in Communication and Literacy.
Submit an official transcript from each institution attended; a minimum cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0 is required for admissions to a master's degree program.
Complete your statement of interest and intent by submitting a two-part essay.
Explain your reasons for wishing to pursue graduate studies in Vision Rehabilitation Therapy (approximately 300 words).
Indicate your specific interest and discuss the type of work you would like to do as an Vision Rehabilitation Therapist (at least 1,200 words).
Application deadline:
November 1st for spring admission and June 1st for fall admission.

What are the employment opportunities? What are typical salaries for ATs?

Upon completion of this course of study, you will be eligible to apply for positions in adult rehabilitation programs and in specialized educational institutions across the country. Students willing to travel outside the state are likely to find employment before graduation. Salaries differ from state to state. VRT specialists may work in state vocational services for the blind, rehabilitation units of Veterans Administration hospitals, programs for elders with visual impairments, private non-profit organizations, rehabilitation agencies, low vision clinics, or private practice. The average beginning salary for an Vision Rehabilitation Therapist Specialist in New England is around $42,000.

What financial assistance is available?

The Vision Studies Program Coordinator or Director has the most up-to-date information on this topic. Currently, there is grant funding for most of the tuition. Students must obtain their own texts and required resources. The university's Financial Aid office has information on financial aid loans.

Are there any other fees I should know about?

There are several university fees that you will be asked to pay as you go along, including an application fee, new student fee, and graduation fee. In addition, you will have to apply for and pay fees to ACVREP for the CATIS examination and certification.

CATIS Eligibility Fee: $130.00
CATIS Exam Fee: $435.00
CATIS Certification Fee: $115.00
These fees are paid directly to ACVREP once you are ready to apply for certification.

What courses do I need to take? For certification? For a master's degree?

The individualized course of study is determined after an individual advisement meeting with the program coordinator and/or program director.

Is there a thesis or exit exam requirement? Will I be certified?

There is no thesis requirement; however, students are required to take the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals (ACVREP) exam. Once this exam is passed, the person is internationally certified as a Certified Assistive Technology Instructional Specialist (CATIS).

Do I need to come to Boston? Are all the courses online?

All of the coursework is delivered through an online platform. Integrated field hours require ongoing field experiences that can be completed locally for students. Later in the program, practicum hours are required, which are generally in the student's region as well.

How much time does it take to complete the program?

Most students are working and generally take two years to complete the program.