Teacher of Student with Visually Impairments

What is a Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments (TVI)?

Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments (TVI) are educational specialists providing support to both students with visual impairments and classroom teachers. The primary goal of the TVI in a public school setting is to support the full inclusion of the child within the classroom, and integration in all educational experiences. This is accomplished through assessment, direct instruction, curriculum and material adaptation, and consultation with the educational team which includes the family and community.

How long does this program take?

Most students complete the TVI coursework in two years. After that they complete a 300-hour practicum (student teaching) experience. Some students are unable to take two courses per semester; in those cases, it takes longer to complete the coursework.

Do I need an education degree to apply to this program?

It is not necessary to have an education degree to apply to the TVI program. However, if you do not have an education degree, you will be required to take two education-leveling courses in order to graduate from the UMass Boston TVI program and to be licensed as a TVI. The two courses are Understanding Reading: Principles and Practices and Teaching Elementary School Mathematics. These courses do not have to be taken at UMass Boston, but a transcript must be provided to show that they were successfully completed.

Are there any testing requirements?

Yes, three tests are required, one as part of the admission process and two more to graduate. The required tests are from Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure. For admission: Communication and Literacy. For licensure: Foundations of Reading and General Curriculum.

Will there be jobs available when I graduate?

Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments are in great demand throughout the United States. There are jobs available at local school districts, regional collaborative districts, state agencies, and schools for the blind.

How much does a typical beginning TVI make?

TVI salaries depend very much on where you work and whether you do private contracting or work in a full-time position with benefits. The salary range in New England is from about $30,000 to $55,000 for a beginning teacher.

Are all the classes totally online or will I have to drive to Boston?

All of the core TVI courses are offered online. That means all students meet together at the same time. Sometimes the meeting is an online conference, and sometimes it is an in-person class in the Boston area (generally on a Saturday.) The Introduction to Disabilities class is not always offered online and many students take this class at a local university and transfer in the credit.

How many classes can I transfer into the program?

A total of two classes (6 credit hours) may be transferred in by approval of the program coordinator. These classes must have been taken no more than five years earlier.

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 pay a fee to take each MTEL subtest and to apply for your state licensure.