Background: This study examined how students enrolled in a university orientation and mobility personnel preparation program in the Southwestern part of the United States perceived their competency levels regarding their knowledge of orientation and mobility principles and applications. This graduate master’s degree or certification program includes students with various backgrounds (e.g., special education teachers, social workers, general education teachers).

Method: To enter this Orientation and Mobility program perspective students must hold an undergraduate degree with a Grade Point Average of 3.0 on a 1-4 scale, and submittal of a resume, a personal statement, and transcripts from previous college/university coursework. These materials are then reviewed, and perspective students are accepted or rejected into the university’s Orientation and Mobility Program. The Orientation and Mobility Program consists of nine 3-hour semester courses. The internship course is the last course in their program of study for a certificate. To pursue a master’s degree students, complete an additional nine credit hours in special education. Most of the students maintain fulltime employment while completing their coursework. Using a self-evaluation form that included competency criteria provided by the Academy for the Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals, 74 orientation and mobility interns at the university evaluated their capabilities and proficiencies before they began and after they completed their internship.

Results: Before beginning the internship, the participants, on average, considered themselves to be moderately or somewhat proficient in all 13 orientation and mobility competencies (M = 3.25– 3.53, SD = 0.62–0.94). After completing the internship, the participants, on average, reported feeling significantly more proficient (p < .001) in each of these 13 orientation and mobility competencies (M = 4.13–4.49, SD = 0.49–0.66).

Significance: This study represents an initial attempt to examine interns’ perceptions of their proficiency levels vis-à-vis orientation and mobility competencies before beginning and after completion of the internship. Future research could examine the relationship between the interns perceived mastery of competencies and the actual mastery of these competencies.

Publication timeframe:
Volume Open
Journal Subjects:
Medicine, Clinical Medicine, Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine