Texas Tech University

Special Education - Visual Impairment

The Trademark Outcome for the Visual Impairment (VI) program is “Collaboration and Assistive Technology.” Students learn throughout their coursework how to collaborate with other team members and how to perform an assistive technology evaluation, how to carry out an intervention plan teaching assistive technology, and how to track student progress. Upon completion of this program, the candidate is qualified to become a teacher of students with visual impairments (TVI) working with students ages birth-21 in a variety of educational settings. The majority of the students in the VI program at TTU have jobs as a TVI prior to completion of the program. It is a unique teaching profession that differs from being a classroom teacher in which the TVI significantly impacts the lives of children who are blind or visually impaired.

Program Overview

Students in the Visual Impairment (VI) Program can obtain the Visual Impairment Supplemental Certification only or can also get a Master's Degree in Special Education with a specialization in visual impairment. For the VI Supplemental Certification, an initial teaching certification in any area of general education or in special education is required since this certification is added on to the initial certification. The VI program focuses on providing a sound knowledge base in evidence-based practices to use with children who are blind or have low vision; an understanding of the anatomy of the eye, eye conditions, and their functional implications; training in how to conduct specialized evaluations; application of skills learned, and a 350 hour internship where all knowledge and skills covered in the coursework are demonstrated with students with visual impairments. The additional courses taken for the Master's in Special Education provide information and resources for working with students with a variety of disabilities as well as a focus on collaborative consultation. A foundation in educational research is also provided. The program promotes the independence and integration of individuals with disabilities into society.


Program work within Special Education is developed and guided by a strong conceptual framework, the standards from the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), guidelines from the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals (ACVREP), Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER), criteria from the State of Texas, and the sound professional judgment of an experienced and caring faculty.

Degrees Offered

M.Ed.in Special Education and Texas Visual Impairment Supplemental Certification, offered Online/Hybrid (online with some face-to-face components: 3 courses have required weekends- 2 in Lubbock and 1 in Austin). One class per long semester is offered face-to-face in Austin on 7 Saturdays.

Career Opportunities With This Degree

Students completing either the VI Certification Program or the Master's Program with a specialization in visual impairment who become certified are eligible to be hired by a school district to work as a teacher of students with visual impairments (TVI). The majority of TVIs work in an itinerant service delivery model and travel from school to school to work with the students who are blind or visually impaired in their home school, teaching them specialized skills related to their visual impairment including braille, visual efficiency, assistive technology, abacus, independent living skills, social skills, adaptations to access the core curriculum, etc. They also provide collaborative consultation to the students' general or special education classroom teachers, family members, and other team members. Some TVIs work at a residential school for students with visual impairments and typically have their own classrooms in this setting. There is an ongoing need for TVIs, especially as more retirements are expected in the coming years.

Application Materials

All programs require that you submit an online application through the Graduate School.

College Transcripts – Send unofficial copies of all transcripts to the Texas Tech Graduate School at graduate.admissions@ttu.edu. The transcripts must be in PDF format and no larger than 2 MB. Multiple attachments per email will be accepted. Grade reports or unofficial transcripts from university web portals will not be accepted. Please redact the Social Security Number anywhere it appears on your transcript. If documents are written in a language other than English, a copy of a complete and official English translation must be provided with the original language records.

* Official transcripts will be required during your first semester if you are admitted to your desired program.

* International applicants will need to submit additional materials. Please review the Graduate School website for more information.

Required Supplemental Application Materials

Resume, Applicant Statement, 2 Professional Recommendations. Download a comprehensive list of requirements.

Application Process

Please visit the Graduate Application Process for more information on how to apply.

Semester in which the program can be started

Spring, Fall, or Summer I or II

Estimated Hours to Completion

36 credit hours for master's; 24 hours for visual impairment certificatation only

Allowable Transfer Hours

6 credit hours

Financial Aid

TTU Graduate School and COE scholarships, research assistantships, student loans (loans not available for cert only students)

Program-Specific Scholarships Offered

The Reach Across Texas Program offers competitive scholarships for tuition assistance for Texas residents in the Teacher of Students with Visual Impairment Program for the visual impairment certification courses. Applicants who want to be considered should complete this application. The application for a competitive stipend award needs to be printed out and faxed to 806-742-2326 or mailed to the Sowell Center. Deadline for consideration for a scholarship award for fall is June 1, for spring is November 1, and for summer is May 1.


No hard deadline, however, deadlines exist for completion and submission of scholarship applications. Deadline for consideration for a scholarship award for fall is June 1, for spring is November 1, and for summer is May 1.

Tuition & Fees

Visit the Student Business Services website to estimate your costs.


Dr. L.J. Gould

Dr. Rona Pogrund
Program Coordinator
512-206-9213 (office)
806-252-8026 (cell)