Stephen F. Austin State University

Orientation and Mobility


Since 1972, our SFASU Orientation and Mobility (O&M) program has been training candidates to work with persons who are blind or visually impaired. Orientation defined for our purposes means knowing where you are, in relationship to the environment around you. Mobility is the ability to get from where you are to where you want to be, in a safe and efficient manner.

SFASU is proud to offer the only undergraduate O&M training program in the United States. The program also offers O&M training at the graduate level for certification. Graduate students may elect to continue after certification and seek a Master's degree in Special Education with a specialization in Orientation & Mobility. Students who complete our O&M certification training program at the undergraduate or graduate level are equally eligible to become nationally certified by the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals (ACVREP).

Upon certification as Orientation and Mobility Specialists, graduates from our program provide services to children and adults who have visual disabilities-services and skills that will enable these individuals to travel independently in both familiar and unfamiliar environments. Graduates from our O&M training program are eligible and prepared to successfully complete, the national certification examination from ACVREP. Once certified, our graduates are able to work in a variety of settings including state rehabilitation agencies, Lighthouses for the Blind, residential/state schools for the blind, Veterans Administration training centers, and school districts throughout the state of Texas and across the United States.

If you are interested in more information on the Orientation and Mobility (O&M) training program, please contact any of our faculty or staff.


It is the mission of the SFASU Orientation and Mobility program to train candidates to become Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialists (COMS) who are practically and pragmatically prepared to meet the needs of persons with visual impairments across the state of Texas and across the nation as a whole. Through their training in our program, we believe graduates are prepared to successfully complete the ACVREP national O&M certification examination. We believe graduates from our program are trained to effectively deliver services which provide opportunities for students and clients who are blind or visually impaired to be more independent, lead lives to their fullest potential, and participate to a greater extent in society at large. In order to meet these goals, we believe it is our responsibility to mentor and educate our candidates to recognize and remove environmental and societal barriers, raise expectations, provide solutions, and exhibit compassionate approaches to teaching O&M skills and techniques, valuing the worth of all individuals regardless of age, gender, race, sexual orientation, or level of disability.


Candidates at the undergraduate level are required to have a major and a minor in another area of study. Though no specific area is required, most of our undergraduate candidates complete their Bachelor of Science degree in Rehabilitation Services. In order to add a concentration in O&M, undergraduate candidates are required to complete the following courses:

Completion of the above courses and graduation with a bachelor's degree are required by ACVREP in order for a candidate to be eligible for certification. Candidates may apply for and take the certification examination during final internship placement.


Candidates who have previously earned a baccalaureate degree from an accredited university are eligible to apply for admission to the SFASU O&M program at the graduate level. Admission typically occurs once per year, with initial coursework beginning in the first summer term. Some students may be accepted into the program at other times, however course options may be limited due to prerequisites (e.g., summer coursework SPE 500 and SPE 516). Students in the graduate O&M program are required to come to the SFASU campus for approximately six weeks to receive intensive, hands-on training in basic orientation and mobility (SPE 500). Housing and meals are provided through grant funding while students reside on our campus. Following completion of SPE 500 and SPE 516, candidates are typically able to finish the remainder of training from their home location. Required coursework includes:

Completion of the above courses is required in order to become eligible for certification through our national certifying body, ACVREP. Candidates may apply for and take the national certification examination during internship placement.

Grant funding is available for graduate students in the O&M training program, allocated on a competitive basis. Applications for grant funds are due March 1st of each year.

Course Sequence

Faculty & Staff

Program Facilitator

Dr. Shannon Darst - TSVI

Grant Project Coordinator

Ms. Donna Wood

Program Faculty

Ms. Deborah "Cricket" Cady - TSVI/COMS

Ms. D.J. Dean - TSVI/COMS

Ms. Heather Munro - TSVI/COMS

Ms. Jennifer Perry - VRT/COMS

Mailing Address

Visual Impairment Preparation Program
PO Box 13017, SFA Station
Nacogdoches, Tx 75962

Additional Information and VIP Program Handbook for O&M & TSVI

Orientation & Mobility Internship Handbook (updated 01_2019)

Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist Information

Application deadline for possible grant funding for Texas students is March 1 of each year.