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The purpose of this program is to provide vocational rehabilitation (VR) counselors, therapists, and graduate students enrolled in VR programs with the expertise to address issues and techniques specific to visual impairment.

The program is sponsored by the National Research and Training Center on Blindness and Low Vision and the Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology and Special Education (a CORE Accredited program) at Mississippi State University. The project is funded by a long-term training grant from the Rehabilitation Services Administration of the U. S. Department of Education. There are only four graduate-level courses involved (all online) and students start coursework in January.

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Tuition & Fees

Tuition per credit hour $558.50
Instructional Support Fee per credit hour $25.00

Tuition and fees listed are subject to change and do not include all possible charges. Additional fees may apply. Please refer to the master class schedule for individual course charges.


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Admissions Process

Prospective students include individuals who are employed in rehabilitation agencies serving persons who are blind and/or people who are in graduate training programs leading toward a Master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling.

In order to be considered, an applicant must:

Available on this site from June 1st - October 1st

  • Complete and return the Statement of Interest Form
  • Submit a letter indicating why they are interested in the program
  • Submit two letters of recommendation
  • Submit official hard copy of undergraduate and graduate academic transcript(s)

Directions for this will be sent once the interest form is submitted

Please send all materials, including transcripts to:

Angela Shelton, Coordinator
NRTC on Blindness and Low Vision
P O Box 6189
Mississippi State MS 39762

Limited Stipends Admission

Federal stipends are limited and slots will be filled on the basis of qualifications. This program is supported by a Rehabilitation Services Administration, U. S. Department of Education long-term training grant (#H129P140004), that will provide full or partial funding and scholarship for 12 students annually and slots will be filled on the basis of qualifications. Most recipients are currently employed as rehabilitation counselors in state vocational rehabilitation agencies, although graduate students may apply. All applicants will automatically be considered for a scholarship. Individuals with visual impairments and traditionally under-served populations are encouraged to apply. Scholarships are based on academic achievement, recommendations of key references, stated and personal and agency need, and ability to work at least a year in the field to pay off the stipend through work activity, or they will need to repay the award to the Rehabilitation Services Administration.


COE 6303 Rehabilitation for Persons who are Visually Impaired

Course content includes medical aspects of blindness and low vision including anatomy & physiology of the eye, introduction to low vision adjustment to blindness, adjustment counseling theories, history, and legislation related to vocational rehabilitation of consumers with visual impairments. There is also attention paid to special populations of persons who are blind including those with brain injury, diabetes, and deaf-blindness, as well as those who are aging.
Delivery Method: Online
Semester: Spring

COE 6313 Resources for Persons who are Visually Impaired

Overview of blindness related professions that facilitate adjustment including the areas of counseling related to assessment, identification of resources, instructional and counseling techniques, and special services related to independent living, communication, and orientation and mobility of people who are visually impaired. Students are required to develop a comprehensive resource file.
Delivery Method: Online
Semester: 10 Week Fall

COE 6323 Computer Access Technology for Persons who are Visually Impaired

Survey of computer access technology devices which make computers and computer technology accessible to individuals with visual impairments. Includes practice with various types of equipment, preparation of technological resource file, development of a workplace assessment, and preparation of an individual technology plan, with emphasis on technology in the workplace.
Delivery Method: Online
Semester: Summer 10 Week Term

COE 8293 Special Project in Rehabilitation of Persons who are Visually Impaired

Field experience. Students will gain practical experience in serving consumers who have visual impairments. Includes all aspects of vocational rehabilitation service delivery in agencies serving consumers with visual impairments. Special Project requires 100 clock hours of work in a counseling situation in an approved blindness rehabilitation facility. Of the total hours, 50 hours must be in consumer contact with persons who are blind or visually impaired. Each student will have an on-site supervisor and a faculty supervisor. Students will be required to have liability insurance for this portion of the course.
Delivery Method: Practicum
Semester: Fall

Trainee Selection

Trainees must understand that this is a time-intensive course. Upon acceptance into the program, trainees acknowledge and agree to complete the courses as directed. Trainees must have daily access to a computer in order to complete their assignments.

Candidate and RSA Scholarship selection criteria include:

  1. Current employment as a vocational rehabilitation counselor or therapist in an agency serving persons who are blind or visually impaired,OR current enrollment in a vocational rehabilitation counseling master’s degree program.
  2. Willingness to sign an agreement to be employed in a public rehabilitation agency for the required time period.
  3. Completion of an introductory course in Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling OR at least one year of experience in vocational rehabilitation counseling.
  4. Ability to complete all four courses during one continuous time period.

Applications will be reviewed with the Project Advisory Committee who will make recommendations for selection into the program and for RSA scholarship which cover all tuition costs. Final selection will be made by project staff. Individuals who meet acceptance criteria, but are not initially selected to receive a scholarship, will be placed on a ranked waiting list and will serve as substitutes in the event that one or more selected trainees are unable to participate.

If selected, those currently employed will be asked to get a letter of trainee support to be signed by their supervisor or agency director. Support includes time for completing projects and assignments, access to on-line materials, opportunities to do field assignments, and computer support as needed. Again, it is critical that students have daily access to a computer to be successful in the program.Failure to provide supervisor support by the required deadline will result in being rejected as a participant in the program.

Faculty and Staff

Photo of Samantha Clardy

Samantha Clardy

Enrollment & Onboarding Coach

  • General Program Questions
  • Assistance with Admissions Process & Requirements
Photo of Anusha Rijal

Anusha Rijal

Retention & Engagement Coach

  • Current Student Inquires
  • Academic & Support Services Assistance
Photo of Angela Shelton

Angela Shelton

NRTC on Blindness and Low Vision

  • Coordinator