Overview | Initial Certification | Alternate Certification | Advanced Certification | Undergraduate

Graduate Certification Programs

Interested in becoming a Teacher of the Visually Impaired (TVI)? The Department of Early Childhood, Special Education, and Rehabilitation Counseling is pleased to offer three graduate level certification options in visual impairments (VI):

Initial Certification – For candidates who have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in a field outside of education.

Alternate Certification (Option 6) – For candidates who have been hired by a school district as a TVI, but do not have a VI certification (may or may not hold a valid teaching certificate in other areas).

Advanced Certification Leading to a Rank Change – For candidates who currently hold a valid teaching certificate in another area and are seeking VI certification along with a change in rank (2 or 1 depending on current status).

Visual Impairment Program Faculty


Courses are offered online via Zoom (insert hyperlink on Zoom: https://uky.zoom.us/ ) in the evenings and face-to-face 1-2 weekends a semester (this does sometimes include a Friday or Monday).  Face-to-face sessions are typically held at the Kentucky School for the Blind (KSB) in Louisville.  Lodging is available for free at KSB.  Candidates are responsible for their own transportation to and from classes, as well as lodging when meetings are not at KSB.

All candidates start the program in the fall and will take the VI courses in the sequence shown below over a two-year time span. All courses are 3 credit hours, except for EDS 590 which is 12 credit hours for initial candidates and 6 credit hours for alternate certification advanced candidates.



EDS 580: Intro to Visual Impairments
EDS 583: Braille Codes I


EDS 581: Methods for Teaching Students with VI
EDS 587: VI and Multiple Disabilities

Summer (Face-to-face at KSB/UK)

EDS 585: Assistive Technology for Students with VI
EDS 586: ECC for Blind and VI



EDS 588: Assessment of Children with VI
EDS 582: Anatomy & Physiology of the Eye


EDS 584: Braille Codes II
EDS 590: Student Teaching/Field Experience in VI

Fall and spring courses are offered in the evenings both online and face-to-face. Candidates who live within 45 minutes of Lexington are required to attend classes on campus. There is also a distance education classroom setup at the Kentucky School for the Blind that candidates in the Louisville area can access for classes.

Face-to-Face Requirements

Attendance of face-to-face meetings is mandatory for all candidates!  This includes 1-2 weekends a semester (this does sometimes include a Friday or Monday) and an intensive summer.  Summer consists of approximately 9-10 days of class, with a week in mid-June and several days towards the end of July.  There is also a practicum requirement of 75 hours that needs to be completed between mid-June and the end of July.  There are numerous placement options for summer practicum, examples include:

  • KSB Summer School
  • Kentucky Office of the Blind PATH program
  • Kentucky Deaf-Blind Project ECC Week
  • Visually Impaired Preschool Services (VIPS)
  • Clovernook Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Cincinnati

Face-to-face sessions are typically held at the Kentucky School for the Blind (KSB) in Louisville.  Lodging is available for free at KSB, as well as at most summer practicum sites.  Candidates are responsible for their own transportation to and from classes, as well as lodging when meetings are not at KSB.

How to Apply

Applications for fall 2019 are currently being accepted. Please complete the Graduate School application.  Under the admission category, be sure to select “Graduate Certification”, then “Visual Impairment” for the program.

All candidates must include the following when applying, in addition to any specific requirements listed under the certification type:

  • Resume
  • Biographical statement/Writing sample (1-2 pages double spaced on why you want to be a TVI)
  • Copies of all transcripts from previous universities or colleges
  • Three (3) references

Tuition rates can be found at the UK Registrar’s page. Price per a credit hour for graduate candidates can be located under “Part-Time and Intersession Per Credit-Hour Fee.”  Tuition support may be available through the program.  Please contact the Program Coordinator for more information.  Please note that this program is not eligible for financial aid at this time.

Program Materials/Technology Requirements:

The following items are required of all candidates enrolled in the program:

  1. PC laptop (you may not use a Mac as many of the software programs used during the program are not compatible)
  2. iOS device (iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch) that is no more than three year old
  3. Blindfold
  4. Headphones or earbuds
  5. Webcam, microphone, and access to high speed internet – For distance education candidates only
  6. A printer and scanner are also recommended.

Employment as a TVI While Enrolled in the Program

Candidates may move between program options as long as they fully meet all admission requirements and complete an updated Curriculum Contract with the Visual Impairment Program Faculty Chair. School districts that opt to hire a Teacher of the Visually Impaired (TVI) while pursing full VI certification have two options. Both are renewable annually, up two times, for a total of three years. Major considerations are outlined as follows:

Temporary Provisional (Option 6):

  • Use the CA-TP* form and send all materials directly to UK
  • Requires passing Praxis CASE or GRE scores within the past five years
  • Requires a formal mentoring agreement
  • If KTIP is required, it may be delayed until the third (or last) year

Probationary (for advanced candidates only):

  • Use the CA-19* form and send all materials, including signed curriculum contract, directly to EPSB
  • Must meet 16 KAR 2:160 regulations which include:
    • Hold a current Kentucky teaching certificate or letter of eligibility
    • Completion of 9 credits hours of the program (may be prerequisite courses), in addition to 3 credit hours in reading
    • 18 clock hours of approved training (6 at fall CEC conference**)
    • Full information on probationary certificate requirements can be found at the Kentucky Department of Education website 


**May be substituted for the Kentucky AER (**May be substituted for the Kentucky AER (http://kyaer.aerbvi.org/) Conference in March) Conference in March

*Forms available from school district Human Resources office.


Funding While Employed as a TVI

Funding is available for candidates who are working as a TVI while enrolled in the program through the Northern Kentucky Traineeship on a first-come, first-serve basis. The Traineeship will pay for up 33 credit hours of the program (equivalent to all of the VI coursework). Please be aware that you must be accepted into the program prior to applying to the Traineeship!  For more information about this funding, please visit kytraineeship.org.

All graduate programs have been approved by the Kentucky Education Professional Standards Board (EPSB).

State Authorization and Licensure

If you plan to complete a University of Kentucky online program while living outside of Kentucky, you should check the Out-of-State Students page to determine if the University of Kentucky is authorized to provide this program in your state of residence. If you plan to use the degree to seek licensure, you should also determine if the degree meets the educational requirements for licensure in your state.