Why We Love It
$71,790Potential Avg. Salary
4%Job Growth Rate
Growing DemandJob Outlook
Flexible HoursCareer Attribute
The primary responsibility of an orientation and mobility specialist is to work alongside children and adults with blindness or visual impairment, in order to help them master the mobility skills required for efficient movement or travel.
What is an Orientation and Mobility Specialist?
The duties of an orientation and mobility specialist can include the following:
- Performing orientation and mobility evaluations with a focus on long-term and short-term students’ progress in movement, in accordance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
- Assessing the strengths and weaknesses of students at an ongoing basis, and provide an estimation of the duration of services needed to achieve goals.
- Providing consultation and knowledge-sharing services to student relatives, educators, teachers, physical therapists and other school personnel regarding orientation and mobility skills.
- Working with teachers of students with visual impairment for carrying out functional vision assessments for the case of independent travel demands.
- Empowering students with relevant skills to travel in a safe and confident manner when encountering both unfamiliar and familiar environments.
Day in the life
Orientation and mobility specialists mainly focus on teaching clients’ other alternatives to using sight, in terms of navigating their daily environments. A day in the life involves meeting and working with a wide range of individuals that are suffering from vision loss.
Whether it is teaching students about their basic body image or acclimatizing them to independent travel in all kinds of places, concept development plays a significant part in the techniques adopted by specialists. In a day, one may have an appointment with a college student group to teach them skills that help them find classes, the cafeteria or the library on their campus better. Another appointment might involve teaching a visually impaired person to safely cross an intersection when commuting to work every day.
Some part of the role also includes providing counseling to individuals and spreading awareness about supporting visually impaired persons’ mobility. As an orientation and mobility specialist, you will have to give advice to city planners and administrators with regard to developing mindful road designs that account for visually impaired pedestrians.
Work schedule and typical hours
Orientation and mobility specialists typically work full-time and have the opportunity to pursue work outdoors as well as indoors. They are exposed to various environments such as schools, homes, veteran hospitals, assisted living facilities, rural as well as urban communities.
Since much of the work requires coordinating with administrators, students, government agencies and medical professionals, the working hours can vary depending on the type of workload and impending deadlines. It is often necessary for the specialist to travel out of office, in order to meet with clients where appropriate.
Growth of the job
The job outlook for orientation and mobility specialists is extremely positive, with demand expected to rise as the school-age population increases and there is greater investment in specialised services for students with disabilities. With an aging population, the number of blind and visually impaired individuals is also expected to increase.
Specialists can expect to advance and become supervisors of assistant positions at large departments. At some facilities, one can eventually become executive director or rehabilitation service providers.
The orientation and mobility sector is a dynamic and growing area, which allows specialists to function in different professional contexts like residential schools for visually impaired students such as California School for the Blind or Kansas State School for the Blind; non-profit organisations such as Vision Institute of South Carolina, Inc. or the American Foundation for the Blind; government agencies like the Commonwealth of Virginia; and independent contractors such as Sunbelt Staffing.
How To Become an Orientation and Mobility Specialist
One can take a number of paths in order to become an orientation and mobility specialist. You will need to explore your options and see which training is right for you – e.g. weekend programs at universities, distance learning courses, etc. The required preparation can be done by enrolling in a suitable graduate program that will result in a Master’s degree. Some positions in this sector also accept undergraduate qualifications such as a Bachelor’s program.
Alternatively, you can complete a certification in orientation and mobility to demonstrate your competency and break into the market in less time, without getting an additional degree. To complete a professional certification, you have to take a qualifying exam and hold at least a Bachelor’s degree. Coursework in relevant topics, such as low vision, multiple disabilities, geriatrics or teachers’ credentials are particularly useful in this field.
Orientation and Mobility Specialist Salary Data
We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.
National Anual Salary
National Hourly Wage
How do Orientation and Mobility Specialist salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Orientation and Mobility Specialist's can make an average annual salary of $71,790, or $35 per hour. On the lower end, they can make $53,890 or $26 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.
Salary Rankings And Facts
#186 Nationally for All Careers
Above Average Salary Nationally
Highest Education Among Orientation and Mobility Specialists
- 2.5% Doctorate
- 22% Masters
- 35.6% Bachelors
- 9.3% Associates
- 18% College
- 10% High School
- 2.6% Less than High School
Job Growth Projections and Forecast
2014 Total Jobs70,300
2024 Est. Jobs73,100
Job Growth Rate4%
Est. New Jobs2,800
How does Orientation and Mobility Specialist job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of 2,800 jobs for a total of 73,100 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a 4% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Above Average.
Growth Rankings And Facts
#480 Nationally for All Careers
Above Avg. Growth Nationally
What Companies Employ The Most Orientation and Mobility Specialists
|Industry||Current Jobs||New Jobs Needed||% Increase|
|Federal government, excluding postal service||7,400||-700||-1%|
|State government, excluding education and hospitals||6,600||100||0%|
|Local government, excluding education and hospitals||6,000||300||0%|