Graduate School of Education - George Mason University
Graduate School of Education - George Mason University

Our Graduate School of Education is the alma mater for one third of teachers and administrators in Northern Virginia’s world-class school systems. Each year, more than 3,000 graduate students enroll in our innovative academic programs, which include advanced study for teachers and school leaders, instructional design and technology, and a renowned PhD in Education program that is among the largest in the country.

School of Recreation, Health, and Tourism - George Mason University

The School of Recreation, Health, and Tourism (SRHT) offers exciting, career-ready majors in dynamic fields such as athletic training, tourism and events management, health and physical education, kinesiology, sport management, and recreation management. SRHT features renowned faculty, cutting-edge research, six laboratories and centers, and a diverse student body of more than 1,000 undergraduate and graduate students each year. Each major requires one or more internship or clinical experiences, ensuring that students graduate not just with a transcript but with a resume that demonstrates their professional aptitude and skills.

Who is a teacher of students who are blind or visually impaired (TBVI)? More Less

A TBVI is a special educator who works with school-aged children who are blind and visually impaired, including those with multiple disabilities and deafblindness. The role of the TBVI is to ensure that students receive appropriate instruction, accommodations and modifications in the least restrictive environment. TBVIs offer both direct and consultation services and collaborate with the general education instructors, family members, and other service providers.

What is the job outlook for TBVIs? More Less

There is a shortage of professionals with this expertise throughout the United States. In Virginia, it is expected that over half of currently employed TBVIs will retire within the next five to ten years. Teacher of students who are blind or visually impaired can work in a variety of settings, including, special schools for the blind and visually impaired, local school districts, and private and state agencies.

What is the average salary of a TBVI? More Less

The salary depends on where you work. The salary range in Virginia is from $30,000 to $50,000 for a beginning teacher. Students with a master's degree will make slightly more than those without a master's. It is recommended that you check the salary scale for the school district(s) where you wish to work.

How long does it take to complete the program? More Less

If you enroll as full time student, you can finish the program in about a year and a half, which includes 300 internship/practicum hours. As a part-time student, you can expect to complete the program in two to three years. For students who already have a special education teaching licensure, some courses may be waived.

When can I start taking courses? More Less

The VI Consortium program has rolling admissions and you can start taking courses in the fall, spring or summer. You must apply at least one month in advance to both the VI Consortium and one of the participating universities. Go to the Application Process link for more information.

I do not have a background in education. Can I still apply to the VI Consortium? More Less

Yes. You will need to complete the full VI Consortium program in addition to 12 credits of general special education courses. These are, Introduction to Special Education, Positive Behavior Supports, Consultation and Collaboration, and Language Development and Reading. (Note: these courses go by different titles for some universities.). You will also need to complete internship/practicum credits.

I am already a licensed special educator. What do I need to do to become a TBVI? More Less

You will need to complete all of the VI core courses (20 credits) as well as the internship to earn your certification requirements towards state licensure. Some of the general special education courses may be waived (up to 12 credits). To develop your plan of study, contact your university liaison .

Are all the distance education courses completely on-line or do I need to drive to a participating university to take classes? More Less

Most courses are offered on-line via videoconferencing. You are required to attend classes by traveling to one of the videoconferencing classrooms at your participating university. Occasionally, there are face-to-face meetings, which take place on the weekend or during the summer.

What are the GPA requirements? More Less

GPA requirements vary between participating universities. Check the participating university website or contact your university liaison for more information.

What are the testing requirements? More Less

Testing requirements vary between participating universities. Check the participating university website or contact your university liaison for more information. The Virginia Department of Education requires specific tests for licensure and it is important that you review these requirements.

What are the application deadlines? More Less

Graduate application deadlines for each semester vary between participating universities. Check the participating university website or contact your university liaison for more information.  The VI Consortium application is due at least one month before courses begin for the starting semester.