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 and face-to-face in the evenings, however all candidates (university students) are required to meet one weekend a semester at the Kentucky School for the Blind (KSB) in Louisville, attend the KAER Conference the first spring in the program, and participate in face-to-face summer courses. Mileage reimbursement and lodging are provided for candidates as needed.

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 (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

During the fall and spring semesters, candidates will be required to attend one intensive weekend at the Kentucky School for the Blind (KSB) in Louisville. During the first spring semester, candidates will also attend the Kentucky AER conference. The summer will include approximately two weeks of class at KSB in addition to practicum requirements which can be completed at sites throughout the state. Mileage reimbursement and lodging are provided for candidates as needed.

Attendance of face-to-face meetings is mandatory for all candidates!

How to Apply

Applications for fall 2017 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.

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 

*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).