Department of Leadership, Educational Psychology and Foundations - NIU - College of Education

M.S.Ed. in Special Education, Specialization in Visual Impairments

The NIU M.S.Ed. in Special Education with a Specialization in Visual Impairments prepares you to obtain an Illinois teacher license with endorsement in vision impairments. You may combine this specialization with the specialization for Orientation and Mobility. Any person who is interested in teaching individuals with visual impairments is encouraged to apply. You do not need previous experience working with people who are blind or have low vision.

What will I study?

Students will learn how to work with students who have blindness and low vision, how to teach all students, and how to integrate students into schools and community organizations. They will also learn effective ways to incorporate common core standards and curriculum with individual education plans, as well as learn how to use assistive technology. Courses include Literary Braille, Communication Systems Used by Persons with Visual Impairments, and Instructional Systems for Utilization of Low Vision. 

When/where are classes offered? 

Classes are offered during fall, spring, and summer semesters at our DeKalb campus. Many courses are offered in the evening to accommodate students’ work schedules. Students are usually enrolled in a cohort; however, individuals may take courses at their own pace so long as they complete degree requirements specified in the graduate catalogue.

How can I customize my degree program?

Graduates of the program teach in school districts throughout Illinois and beyond, in states such as Wisconsin, Indiana, Florida, Arizona, and California. There is an overwhelming need for these vision professionals. As a consequence, there are many job opportunities in all regions of the United States. Individuals who choose this career path can anticipate having no difficulty obtaining life-long employment with great job security. In addition to numerous job opportunities, good pay, and excellent job security, individuals who choose this career path experience a sense of fulfillment not commonly found in other careers. These professionals play a significant role in the lives of individuals who are visually impaired and their families. 

Is the program accredited?

The program is nationally accredited by the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER) and the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), both of which advance excellence in educator preparation by assuring academic quality and supporting continuous improvement. The vision program is led by faculty who are Certified Teachers of the Blind/Visually Impaired (TVI) and Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialists (COMS) and collectively have 50 years of experience working with individuals with visual impairments.

Where are grads working?

Graduates of the program teach in school districts throughout Illinois and beyond, in states such as Wisconsin, Indiana, Florida, Arizona, and California. Ninety percent of our graduates find employment within one year of graduating from the program. 

How do I apply?

Read about admission requirements; then apply!