Becoming an O&M Specialist

A variety of courses in Australia and New Zealand offer full O&M training or contain some O&M focus. The course you choose will depend on whether you wish to work primarily as an O&M Specialist, O&M Assistant, or whether you wish to have an understanding of O&M in the context of another role. At this point it is up to the individual employer to determine the standard of qualification they require in their staff, so you may wish to contact potential employers first. Many of these courses do not run every year and you will need to contact each course coordinator for more information.

O&M SPECIALISTS

An undergraduate degree in a related field such as Health Sciences, Psychology, Rehabilitation or Education is generally required for entry to these courses. Contact individual course coordinators for specific information on the course you are interested in.

New Graduate Diploma in O&M at UNSW

The University of New South Wales and Guide Dogs NSW/ACT are partnering to offer a new Graduate Diploma in Orientation and Mobility, commencing in Term 2, 2021. The full-time program will combine online learning, face-to-face practical skills, and Work Integrated Learning (WIL). This means that applicants can study from anywhere in Australasia, come together for blocks to do their blindfold work and then complete their WIL placement at an available host agency nearer to home. The program meets requirements for professional certification (COMS), and graduates will be ready to launch in one year.

Unlike many previous O&M programs, this course is open access. Applicants with a 3 year bachelor’s degree can apply directly to the UNSW from early 2021, pay their own uni fees, and be free to work anywhere after they graduate. The other point of difference is that, although GDNSW/ACT is generously providing the seed funding for this program, the UNSW is directly employing the personnel teaching the program. This shift means that the university will take responsibility for the program into the future.

Congratulations to Kelly Prentice from GDNSW/ACT and the Kelly Gang for their hard work in negotiating this program. And thanks to the UNSW team for their very warm welcome.

For more information, and contact details for the program check the School of Optometry website or the UNSW website. There are also media releases from UNSW and GDNSW/ACT.

Scholarship Opportunity: Guide Dogs SA/NT is offering an exciting opportunity for an applicant to receive a $30,000 scholarship to complete their Graduate Diploma in Orientation and Mobility through the University of New South Wales (UNSW), with an offer of employment to be made after completion of their studies. Applications close 5pm Sunday, 21 November 2021. Find out more here.

 

O&M Qualifications at Massey University, New Zealand

Starting in 2021, New Zealand will have a qualification pathway for O&M instructors who work with both children and adults. As part of the Specialist Teaching Programme run by Massey University, there will be an option for a Post Graduate Diploma in Specialist Teaching Blind and Low Vision with a focus on O&M and a Post Graduate Certificate in Specialist Teaching Blind and Low Vision with a focus on O&M.

Massey’s Post Graduate Diploma in Specialist Teaching Blind and Low Vision is for Developmental Orientation and Mobility instructors employed by Blind and Low Vision Education Network New Zealand (BLENNZ) and involves four Massey courses over two years and a co-requisite braille course (taken outside of Massey). In the first year, students will complete:

  • Course 1: 249746 Theory and Practice of Blind and Low Vision (via OM route)
  • Course 2: 254766 Professional Learning Pathways (with OM and BLV modules)

In the second year, students will complete:

  • Course 3: 249752 A practicum in Blind and Low Vision in line with ACVREP requirements
  • Course 4: 254767 Community Based Practice (relevant to local community)

Massey’s Post Graduate Certificate in Specialist Teaching Blind and Low Vision is a one year option open to those working in an organisation such as Blind Low Vision New Zealand (BLVNZ) as either a child or adult instructor. This one year course, consists of:

  • Course 1: 249746 Theory and Practice of Blind and Low Vision (via OM route)
  • Course 2: 254766 Professional Learning Pathways (with OM and BLV modules)

In order to become a qualified O&M instructor, students will also need to complete an industry based practicum in line with ACVREP (COMS) requirements, which is done outside of Massey.

Entry requirements for both the Post Graduate Diploma and Post Graduate Certificate are as follows:

  1. been awarded or qualified for a Bachelor’s degree, or equivalent; and
  2. been awarded or qualified for a relevant professional qualification; and
  3. have completed at least two years of relevant professional experience.

If you would like further information about these qualification options, please email Nicola McDowell – N.McDowell@massey.ac.nz