National Orientation and Mobility Certification
Prerequisite Immersion Training
Verification Of Teaching Competency
Code Of Professional Ethics
Appealing Certification Decisions
The National Blindness Professional Certification Board (NBPCB) offers the National Orientation and Mobility Certification (NOMC) as a five-year renewable certification awarded to those who successfully meet all established requirements. Individuals who are interested in applying for NOMC certification are strongly encouraged to familiarize themselves with all of the information included here.
The NOMC is the only certification which can attest to an individual having met rigorous standards in the area of orientation and mobility teaching for the blind using Structured Discovery Cane Travel™ methods and principles. This paradigm is grounded in the Consumer-Based Model of Rehabilitation and has had unsurpassed outcomes for more than half a century. One of the key tenants of this approach to teaching Orientation and Mobility is that successful professionals must master the nonvisual skills for independent living that they are expected to teach. They must also possess problem solving strategies to confront societal and environmental ambiguities and maintain an understanding of how his or her own internalized attitudes--as well as public attitudes--about blindness have on personal expectations and aspirations.
Since its inception, the NBPCB has recognized that competent instruction in orientation and mobility skills starts with personal mastery of appropriate nonvisual travel skills. Consequently, the preparation process for individuals teaching under the Structured Discovery Cane Travel™ model is heavily focused on the development of personal experience in learning and using the skills that blind persons depend on for safe and effective travel. Beyond theoretical and academic exposition, Structured Discovery Cane Travel™ is based on hands-on learning, trust in the effectiveness and appropriateness of nonvisual skills, and an unwavering conviction in the normalcy and capacity of individuals who are blind to maintain their own independence and make decisions about when and where they go.
Successful applicants who earn the designation of NOMC are entitled to all rights and responsibilities therein as long as he or she maintains active certification status and upholds the NBPCB Code of Professional Ethics. Individuals and employers may check the certification status of any NOMC online or by contacting the NBPCB office. Only the certificant’s name, certification status, and state of residency are made available to the public. Contact information or other personal information about any NBPCB certificant is not made available to anyone without prior consent of the certificant.
Individuals who wish to become NOMC credentialed may become eligible in one of two ways. They can successfully matriculate through an NBPCB approved university program (Category A); or by meeting all requirements of an approved NBPCB supervised agency apprenticeship (Category B).
Category A: University Preparation
Applicants under Category A must have successfully completed requirements of an NBPCB Approved University Program in Orientation and Mobility. NBPCB approved programs must: (1) have core content that is based on Structured Discovery Cane Travel™ methods and principles; (2) be consistent with a Consumer-Based Model of Rehabilitation for the Blind; (3) require students to undergo a minimum of 480 hours of prerequisite immersion training, and (4) include a 400-hour internship teaching with Structured Discovery Cane Travel™ methods and principles. Applicants must have completed all core coursework in the curriculum and be actively working to complete internship requirements prior to applying for certification, and application must be made to the NBPCB office within two (2) years of program completion to avoid additional eligibility requirements. Note: an applicant may sit for the NOMC exam as long as he or she is in good standing in his or her internship, however, certification will not be granted until all program requirements have been satisfied.
Category B: NBPCB-Supervised Agency Apprenticeship
Applicants under Category B must have completed all requirements of the NBPCB-Supervised Cane Travel Apprenticeship, including: (1) have earned at least a high school diploma (or equivalent); (2) must have successfully completed the 480 hours of prerequisite immersion training at a NBPCB approved center; (3) secure an apprenticeship at an NBPCB-approved agency; and (4) complete a minimum of 800 hours of a SDCT™ internship under the supervision of an NBPCB-approved individual within the last two years prior to application. Note: an applicant may sit for the NOMC exam as long as he or she is in good standing in his or her apprenticeship, however, certification will not be granted until all program requirements have been satisfied.
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Once an individual has successfully completed either an approved university program or a NOMC Supervised Agency Apprenticeship, he or she may apply for NOMC certification and complete the examination process. The NBPCB office will review all completed applications and determine whether applicants meet all eligibility requirements and have completed all application procedures. No application will be processed without all supporting documentation, including: (1) a completed application, (2) Verification of Immersion form, (3) Verification of Teaching Competency form, (4) signed NBPCB Code of Professional Ethics Agreement form, and (5) appropriate fees.
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All application forms are available by contacting the NBPCB office. These include an actual application as well as the following supporting documents:
- Verification of Immersion form (Submitted directly by supervisor)
- Verification of Teaching Competency form (Submitted directly by supervisor)
- Signed copy of NBPCB Code of Ethics
- Applicant’s personal essay explaining interest in becoming an orientation and mobility professional
- Two letters of support from persons who can speak to motivation, teaching ability, and professionalism
Once the NBPCB office has received all of the necessary documents, applicants will be notified and arrangements will be made for a test taking opportunity. Documents should be submitted as separate attachments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Prerequisite Immersion Trainning
Prior to receiving formal training in orientation and mobility, regardless if through a university program or apprenticeship, all individuals must successfully complete 480 hours of prerequisite immersion training at an NBPCB-approved site. This will ensure the immersion experience is conducted in a training setting that includes: (1) nonvisual training for all students; (2) has a core curriculum based on Structured Discovery methods and principles; (3) employs the use of blind role models on the instructional staff; (4) is consumer-focused in its approach to rehabilitation; and (5) includes proactive instruction for students in understanding personal and public attitudes and expectations about blindness. Prerequisite immersion training must have occurred within the last five years prior to application. The list of NBPCB approved centers is available on the NBPCB website.
A Verification of Immersion Training form must be signed by the orientation center program supervisor. This form not only documents that the individual has completed the 480 hours satisfactorily, but that the individual also possesses the skills, attitude, and disposition to be recommended for matriculation as a cane travel instructor for the blind. This form may be obtained by contacting the NBPCB office.
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Verification of Teaching Competency
The individual who held primary responsibility for supervising the applicant during his or her internship or apprenticeship must provide verification of the applicant’s ability to successfully teach using Structured Discovery Cane Travel™ methods and principles. A Verification of Teaching Competency form can be obtained by contacting the NBPCB office.
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Code of Professional Ethics
Applicants must read, understand, and be willing to abide by the NBPCB Code of Professional Ethics pertaining to Certified Blindness Professionals. Signing the code of ethics agreement form is a legal agreement to abide by this code, and certification may be revoked or suspended if any violations to this code are made. Both the NBPCB Code of Professional Ethics and its Agreement form are available from the NBPCB office.
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Once an application has been successfully processed, the individual will sit for a computer-based examination that is proctored by an NBPCB approved individual. Examination questions may include, but are not limited to, the following domains:
A. Medical Aspects of Blindness and Low Vision Throughout the Lifespan;
B. Rehabilitation Process of Blind and Visually Impaired Adults and Transitional Youth;
C. General Counseling and Psychosocial Aspects of Blindness and Vision Loss;
D. Working with Consumers with Multiple Disabilities;
E. Monitoring Students;
F. Various Cane Grips;
G. Mental Mapping;
H. Environmental Cues;
I. Problem Solving;
J. Using Elevators and Escalators;
K. Crossing Controlled and Uncontrolled Intersections;
L. Public Transportation.
The exam will evaluate each individual's ability to assess consumer’s current functioning, develop appropriate goals and objectives, teach specific skills effectively, measure the outcomes of learning, and make appropriate referrals to maximize the consumer’s independence.
All examinations will be evaluated by a panel of no fewer than three qualified professionals.
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NBPCB recognizes the need for Certified Blindness Professionals to continue their education and training in order to remain current on innovations and policies in the field. Therefore, individuals must reapply every five years for recertification in order to maintain active NOMC status. The Recertification process is designed to ensure that all certificants maintain their skills and knowledge as cane travel instructors, and to promote continuous education within the profession.
Recertification can be met by either retesting or providing documentation of a minimum of 100 Continuing Education credits throughout the five-year certification period. The following activities are examples of opportunities which may be helpful in a crewing continued education credits:
- Professional Conferences and Presentations
- Contribution to published works in the field of rehabilitation for the blind
- Providing professional preparation
- Engaging in relevant training
- Conducting research in the field of rehabilitation of the blind
- Providing community service including rehabilitation of the blind
- Governmental Affairs
- Professional Ethics (10 points must come from this category)
Applications to test for NOMC will not be processed if the fees are not paid in full at the time of testing unless specific arrangements have been made directly with the NBPCB office.
- Professional Testing Fee - $300.00
- Recertification fees $300.00
- Certificate Replacement Fee - $20.00
All fees can be paid online by using a Credit Card or PayPal account. The option to pay online as part of the test registration process, or at any time by visiting the NBPCB home page, www.nbpcb.org.
Fees may also be paid by personal check or money order. These payments should be mailed to:
101 South Trenton Street
Ruston, LA 71270
A fee of $25.00 will be charged for any returned check. Fees must then be paid by bank draft or money order. No services will be provided by NBPCB until all fees are paid in full.
If you do not wish to take the exam after submitting your registration, 50% of the total fee will be refunded upon request. All other fees are non-refundable.
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Appealing Certification Decisions
Eligibility criteria for certification are established by the Board of Directors of the NBPCB with recommendation from the Certification Committee.
Unsuccessful candidates will receive a written denial of certification. A process of appeal upon written submission is available to any denied candidate who feels that the eligibility criteria have been inaccurately, inconsistently, or unfairly applied.
The process of appeal does NOT permit:
- Additional time to acquire education, employment experience, or supervision required for certification.
- Additional time to submit the documentation required for certification.
There are two levels of appeal in the event of denial of initial certification or recertification. The first is to the Certification Committee and the second is to the Board of Directors. This structure assures:
- A review of the relevant facts
- A second, independent evaluation of the materials presented
- Fair and consistent application of eligibility criteria
The appellant must send to the Certification Committee a written request for appeal, by certified mail postmarked within 30 days of official receipt of the letter of denial. The request for appeal must include in a single packet: a signed statement of the grounds for appeal and all relevant documentation in support thereof. Only documentation included with the first appeal request will be considered at either level of appeal.
The decision will be made by majority vote of the Certification Committee. All documentation will be reviewed and discussed by each member of the Certification Committee before an appeal is voted on. If the Certification Committee upholds denial of certification, the appellant has the right to petition for a second level of appeal.
The appellant must send to the President of NBPCB a written request for a second level appeal, by certified mail postmarked within 30 days of receipt of the decision on first appeal. The request for a second level of appeal must set forth specific objections to the determinations made by the Certification Committee in rendering its decision in the first appeal. No additional documentation may be included.
The President will forward the appellant's written request and all documentation accompanying the request for the first level of appeal to the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors will review the appeal and have a majority vote. The decision of the Board of Directors will be final and cannot be appealed further.
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An allegation of a violation of the Code of Professional Ethics shall be submitted in writing to the President (or his/her designee) for action. Where there is incontrovertible evidence of a violation of the Code by a current certificant which is not supported by written allegation, the Board has the authority to proceed with prosecution of the issue as though a complaint had been filed.
Within ten days of the receipt of a written allegation of violation of the Code of Professional Ethics, the President (or his/her designee) shall name a three-member panel to review the allegation and shall furnish each member with a written copy of the complaint. The three reviewers must be members of the NBPCB Board of directors. The President shall name one of the three appointees as chairperson of the review panel.
Within twenty days of receipt of the written allegation, the Chairperson of the review panel shall report the findings and recommendations of the panel to the President (or his/her designee) in writing, and the President shall notify the respondent in writing of the findings and recommendations of the panel.
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Any intentional violation of any section of the Code of Professional Ethics shall be prima facia evidence of a certificants affirmative decision to choose voluntarily to relinquish NBPCB certification and to forfeit all rights or privileges which inure to a person by reason of holding NOMC certification. Where the finding of the panel has been either to recommend suspension or revocation of certification, the respondent may request that the entire NBPCB Board review the decision of the panel. This request must be in writing and submitted to the President within ten days of receipt by the respondent of the panel's adverse decision.
If certification has been revoked, the respondent may apply for re-certification after one full year has elapsed following the final revocation. It will be the responsibility of the respondent to demonstrate to the Board that a good faith effort has been made to correct the acts or practices giving rise to the revocation. A written request for re-instatement of certification must be submitted directly to the President, and the Board shall determine whether or not to reinstate certification. The respondent may not simply apply for certification through the usual certification application process.
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