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 Funded by the United States Department of Education, National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR).

Vision Specialist in Vocational Rehabilitation Certificate

Mississippi State University's National Research and Training Center on Blindness and Low Vision received a 5-year grant for the federally funded graduate certificate program for Vision Specialists in Vocational Rehabilitation. This program provides specialized training for Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors from around the country. The Vision Specialist in Vocational Rehabilitation program consists of four graduate courses designed to train vocational rehabilitation counselors to become more effective in their work with consumers who are blind or visually impaired. These increased professional skills enable graduates to help consumers with vision loss learn independent living skills and assist them in becoming employed.

According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national unemployment rate among persons who are blind continues to be high. However, with special skills and appropriate technologies, pursuing a fulfilling career is a reasonable goal for someone with vision loss. Vision Specialists in Vocational Rehabilitation are vocational rehabilitation counselors who assist people who are blind or visually impaired by providing and coordinating a wide range of specialized rehabilitation counseling and case management services to enhance employability. Since 1991, students in the MSU Vision Specialist Program have hailed from 37 states. Opportunities for employment in this professional area exist in most states, and the NRTC at Mississippi State University is preparing counselors to meet the challenges of this rewarding career.

Rehabilitation Counselors interested in attending the program can find more information by contacting BJ LeJeune at 662-325-2694, or bjlejeune@colled.msstate.edu or through the Vision Specialist web site at www.distance.msstate.edu/vision. Applications are accepted from June 1st through October 1st, for the program that starts in early January and goes through August of the same year.