Orientation and Mobility Specialists Job Outlook is excellent. Expansion of the school-age population and extended services for disabled students will increase employment of O&M specialists. Experts predict that the number of blind and visually impaired people will continue to increase significantly as the population ages.
Individuals interested in the field of orientation and mobility can get valuable experience in volunteer work. They may sign up to work with blind or visually impaired people in schools, rehabilitation centers, senior centers, and summer camps for blind children. Universities that offer orientation and mobility training programs usually have a placement service. Personnel recruiters often write or call school placement offices when they are looking for employees. AER and AFB publish employment opportunities in print and on their web sites. Networking among professionals at schools, hospitals, or agencies may uncover job leads. Resumes sent to directors of agency programs can often bring good results.
There are over 5,000 orientation and mobility specialists working throughout the United States. Many work in hospitals, including veterans hospitals, and outpatient rehabilitation centers. They also work in public and private schools, nursing homes, residential care facilities, community health centers, and job training services. Others work for private agencies, state agencies, home health services agencies, and non-profit organizations. About 15 percent are self-employed. They see clients referred by physicians or other health professionals, or provide contract or consulting services to facilities providing O&M services.
Advancement for orientation and mobility specialists often takes the form of higher pay. In larger departments, they may become supervisors of orientation and mobility assistants. In some facilities, specialists may advance toexecutive directors of agencies or rehabilitation services. Individuals with a master’s or a doctoral degree may also become teachers at a college or university.