Many curriculum choices are available to the prospective student interested in working with children. The actual curriculum will depend on which of the three areas of preparation the student is interested in (teacher of children with visual impairments, orientation and mobility specialist for children or both), whether the student is interested in taking classes on campus or via the distance education program, and the background training of the prospective student. Students in the teacher of children with visual impairments or orientation and mobility for children programs do not have to have prior certification in regular or special education but many states will not certify or employ a professional as a TCVI unless they have a degree in education. Students who do not have a teaching degree are encouraged to find out the requirements for their own state before applying to the program. This requirement is less important for the OMC program because O&M specialists are certified through a national certifying body.
The teacher of children with visual impairments curriculum consists of 44 credit hours. The WMU curriculum is believed to be the most comprehensive curriculum offered in teacher of children with visual impairments anywhere in the United States. Instead of one or two-hour lectures on topics such as Nemeth Code (Braille math), daily living skills, computer technology, and art and sport instruction, the WMU curriculum includes entire courses in these important areas. An on-campus sequence takes approximately four semesters to complete. The standard distance education sequence requires six semesters and requires that students attend courses on campus for one six-week summer session.
The orientation and mobility for children curriculum consists of 37 credit hours. The on-campus sequence takes approximately four semesters to complete and the standard distance education sequence requires six semesters and requires that students attend courses on campus for one six-week summer session.
The dual curriculum consists of 65 credits. The distance education sequence requires students to attend two summer sessions on campus and takes eight semesters to complete. The on-campus sequence consists of approximately five semesters.
Each program (TCVI and OMC) includes a 60 hour practicum and a 600 hour internship where students are placed with master teachers and practice the skills they have learned in their coursework. These internships are developed according to the geographical and work needs of the individual students. We have placed interns in most states within the United States and will work with each student to find a suitable placement that meets the needs of the program as well as the student. Students with sufficient previous experience teaching children with visual impairments may petition for reduced hours in their internship.
Below is the list of classes for the TCVI program. This list reflects some minor changes in course names and credit hours that are currently under the process of university curriculum review and should be in place for the fall of 2014.
Below is the list of classes for the OMC program.