Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist (COMS®)

COMS Description

A Certified Orientation & Mobility Specialist (COMS), is a highly trained expert who specializes in working with individuals who are blind, low vision or who have functional visual limitations, and empowers them to achieve their life goals for education, employment, avocation and independence. A COMS may be blind, partially sighted or sighted. COMS are engaged in a comprehensive approach to orientation & mobility addressing nonvisual, visual, physical, cognitive, and psycho-social aspects related to mobility training for individuals of all ages, as well as diverse needs and abilities.

They are educated in a range of instructional techniques and how to recognize which approach is best suited to a particular learner. These techniques include, but are not limited to, inquiry-based learning, expeditionary learning, differentiated instruction, and direct instruction. COMS recognize that there is no single instructional strategy that would be best for everyone. COMS teach skills to meet the current and future orientation and mobility needs of their clients, accounting for each client’s goals, travel environments, and visual prognoses. They use a guided exploration and problem-solving approach that is customized to the goals and skills of each learner. Methods and strategies include the use of non-visual techniques (auditory and tactual) and visual techniques including the optimization of reliable remaining vision . Strategies and problem-solving skills are taught with the goal to develop independent travelers with a high level of self-confidence.

The COMS has completed an extensive educational program and successfully completed a 350+ hour internship under the supervision of an experienced COMS. Furthermore, the COMS has met a rigorous standard by meeting the educational requirements, supervised fieldwork experiences in their internship and passing the certification exam. The exam was developed in collaboration with PhD level psychometricians following scientific, best practices standards for certification exams.

A COMS will recertify every five years to ensure that they maintain current knowledge.

COMS Certification Handbook

Microsoft Word iconClick here to download the COMS Certification Handbook in Microsoft Word format

Steps to COMS Certification

1. Create an Account

Create an account on the ACVREP website.


2. Apply for Eligibility

  • Log into your account and click on the link for Apply for Eligibility
  • If you are applying in Category 1 and still a student in an O&M program you do not need to upload any documentation with your application to be declared Eligible
  • If you are applying in Category 1 and have graduated you will need to upload your completed and signed Clinical Competency Evaluation and we will need to have received an official copy of your university transcript before you can be declared Eligible
  • If you are applying in Category 2 Path A and still a student in an O&M program you do not need to upload any documentation with your application to be declared Eligible
  • If you are applying in Category 2 Path A and have graduated you will need to upload your completed and signed Clinical Competency Evaluation form, your Core Domain Checklist and we will need to receive an official copy of your university transcript before you can be declared Eligible

Allow 5 days for ACVREP to review your application to determine it is complete. If there is missing documentation you will be notified by email that we are requesting missing information. Once you have been declared Eligible you will receive a notification that your status has changed.


3. Schedule Your Exam - Please Read this Entire Section Carefully

In order to facilitate a scheduling process that is efficient and fair to all candidates, ACVREP has implemented a scheduling procedure that allows all candidates to sit for the certification examination following a mandatory 30 calendar day waiting period (or any business day thereafter based on candidate preference).

  1. Log into your online ACVREP account
  2. Select the "Schedule Your Exam" link to the right of the page. This will take you to the examination options. Select the appropriate certification exam that you are applying for.
  3. Once you have selected the appropriate exam, fill in the requested Exam Registration Form.

    1. If You Do Not Require Accommodations or Private Proctoring

      If you do not require accommodations or a privately proctored exam, on the Payment Confirmation page you will be provided a link to create/log into your account on the Webassessor test taker platform. The payment page will also include the Exam Scheduling Voucher Code that you will need to use to schedule your exam.

      Please note that if you schedule an exam date and then want to change that date you will be required by the system to wait another 30 days. You will receive an automatic email confirmation of your scheduled date, time and location. Review the information carefully and let ACVREP know if there are any problems.

    2. If You Require Accommodations or Private Proctoring

      If you check the box on the Exam Registration form indicating that you either need accommodations or a privately proctored exam you will be asked to provide three (3) preferred dates, times and locations.

      You will also need to create a Test Taker Account. Please click on the link. ACVREP will not be able to schedule your exam until you create this account.

      The Certificate Services Specialist will then contact you to make arrangements for scheduling your exam. Please allow seven business days for ACVREP to process your request and provide you with a confirmation of location, date and time.

      If you need special accommodations for your exam, please upload the appropriate required document from a physician or school counselor as to your need for accommodations. ACVREP cannot schedule you for the exam until all supporting documents have been received. Upon review of your accommodations request, ACVREP will notify you of the accommodated exam procedures.

If you do not pass the exam the first time you are allowed one free retake of the exam. As soon as you have been notified that you failed the exam, you will be able to schedule an Exam Retake by logging into your account and clicking on Schedule your Exam. The database will recognize that this is your second and free retake of the exam and you will not be charged a fee.


4. Apply For Certification

Once you have been notified that you have passed the exam you will be able to log into your online account with ACVREP and apply for certification using the Apply for Certification link. If you originally applied as a Category 1 or Category 2 Path A student please note that you cannot be Certified until you have uploaded your completed and signed Clinical Competency Evaluation into your account and we have received your official university transcript into our office.

Allow 5 days for ACVREP to review your application to determine it is complete. If there is missing documentation you will be notified by email that we are requesting missing information. Once you have been Certified you will receive a notification that your status has changed.

Once you have been certified a digital copy of your certificate will be placed in the My Documents section of your account. Allow up to 14 days from Certification to receive your original certificate through the mail.


Other Important Information

The fees for the Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist Certification:

Eligibility Fee: $130.00
Exam Fee: $490.00
Certification Fee: $115.00

A full or parital scholarship may be available to assist you with the payment of the exam fee.


Apply

Create your account in the ACVREP database and complete the online application.

Register/Apply For Eligibility