Occ. Code 8301400










New York State Department of Civil Service


Classification Standard






Positions in this series plan, teach, and direct the provision of mobility and non-vocational rehabilitation services (communication, personal, and home management skills) to consumers who are legally blind or visually impaired. 


          Most positions are classified at the Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) with additional Instructor of the Blind positions at the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS).




INSTRUCTOR OF THE BLIND: full performance level; under the general direction of a District Manager Services for the Blind at OCFS or other higher-level staff at DOCCS, performs the full range of duties associated in organizing, planning, and directing the provision of vision rehabilitation therapy to consumers who are legally blind or visually impaired. 


MOBILITY INSTRUCTOR: full performance level; under the general direction of a District Manager Services for the Blind, performs the full range of duties associated with orientation and mobility, assisting in the development of the capacities and strengths of people who are blind and visually impaired.


DISTRICT MANAGER SERVICES FOR THE BLIND: managerial level; under the general direction of a higher level manager, oversees the administration of both vocational rehabilitation and non-vocational rehabilitation services to Commission consumers in their assigned district; oversees fiscal management of the district office; maintains good community relations; and, administratively supervises Senior Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors and other district office staff.




Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors plan and coordinate the vocational rehabilitation of persons with disabilities with the primary goal being to aid these individuals to obtain and retain optimum employment.






·        Establish and maintain lines of communication and a close working relationship with local area agencies involved in providing teaching and rehabilitative services for legally blind and visually impaired individuals within the community.


o   Inform local agencies of the existence and availability of aids and appliances adapted for use by the visually impaired, the sources from which they can be obtained, and information describing them.


o   Conduct workshops and other forms of in-service training for local agency staff and for private contracted home instructor-trainers.


·        Interview consumers in order to obtain information and evaluate the ability of the consumer to assimilate knowledge and skills.


o   Establish rapport with consumers by meeting and speaking with them in order to facilitate communication and enhance the success of the potential rehabilitative teaching sessions.


o   Question consumers in order to determine what training they desire and arrange future meetings with the consumers in order to discuss possible learning programs and/or commence training.


o   Suggest to consumers those services, aids, and appliances which will prove to be of benefit in their particular case.


o   May perform an introductory Grade 1 Braille lesson in order to elicit the consumers interest and promote motivation.


o   Inform consumers of the availability of instruction, rehabilitative facilities and services, aids and appliances, community services, and of the benefits mandated by law.


o   Prepare written reports regarding the status of each consumer in order to establish a case history.


·       Teach consumers various skills such as grooming, basic orientation to the home, homemaking, tool usage, record keeping, health and safety activities, communications and social amenities or skills, leisure time activities including recreations and crafts, community resource utilization and location of other aid resources, and impact of legislation in social benefit programs.


o   Inform consumers of the feasibility of various learning programs and their components in order to prepare them for the learning situation.


o   Formulate and record individualized training plans for each consumer that will help them relearn or make adaptations in living skills in order to enable them to function at maximum levels of capability. Each training plan contains such information as topics to be covered, objectives of the training plan, materials to be utilized, an introduction of the topic, a presentation of the course material, a practical application of the source material, a method of testing and a means of assessing the acquired knowledge, skills, or abilities.


o   Carry out a program of individualized instruction by using verbal and tactile instructions and having the client practice various techniques.


o   Evaluate the consumers progress in each portion of a program in order to determine future teaching strategies.


o   Coordinate the implementation of rehabilitation teaching services in conjunction with other program staff.


·        Arrange and participate in in-service training sessions for staff who are involved in the instruction of the legally blind and visually impaired at hospitals, nursing homes, developmental centers, and at other social services and rehabilitative centers.


o   Assess community resources and needs in order to ascertain the suitability of conducting in-service training programs.


o   Arrange, often in conjunction with Mobility Instructors, a planned program designed to familiarize agency staff with various techniques used in the rehabilitative teaching of the legally blind and visually impaired.


o   Instruct staff members in the application of specific techniques used for the instruction of visually impaired individuals.


o   Demonstrate to staff members the application of blind teaching techniques in a real life situation.




·       Review new cases to determine whether potential consumers meet eligibility requirements of agency and/or whether consumers can benefit from Orientation and Mobility Training.


o   Accept and screen referrals for orientation and mobility training from agencies and individuals.


o   Evaluate individuals needs relative to their vocational goals.


o   Develop and carry out individualized orientation and mobility training for each acceptable consumer.


·       Provide Orientation and Mobility training to blind persons.


o   Work with children, adult, and elderly consumers in their homes and neighborhoods.


o    Assist with basic orientation and concepts of body awareness, directionality, and geometric shapes.


o   Assist consumers with obtaining independence and confidence.


o   Teach primary travel systems using residual vision, sighted guide, long cane, prescribed low vision aides or a combination of travel systems.


o   May integrate the use of a guide dog and electronic vision enhancement systems.


o   Teach effective indoor travel techniques.


o   Teach self-protective techniques.


o   Provide training and room or building familiarization.


o   Teach safe and effective negotiation of outdoor areas including street crossing at various traffic controlled intersections.


o   Assist with learning how to use public transportation.


o   Follow up, after the completion of training, to determine whether further training or assistance is needed.


·       Coordinate services with other agencies provided to the consumer, including transportation services, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and counseling services.




·       Serve as contact and fiscal agent for the Commission in negotiating with local contract agencies, interpret contract standards, and authorize payments for services provided.


·       Develop service delivery capabilities in areas not covered by private agency service providers by identifying individuals to act as private vendors, screening qualifications, and providing training and orientation where necessary.


·       Coordinate all grant activity for new and existing program initiatives.


·       Ensure community awareness of Commission service availability through visits to local businesses, school districts, and employers to promote them.


·       Supervise the maintenance and updating of the district case management information system for controlling and inputting data for caseload tracking and service authorization.


·       Perform the full range of administrative supervisory responsibilities.






Open Competitive: a bachelors degree or higher with a major in rehabilitation teaching of the blind or vision rehabilitation therapy; OR a bachelors degree and successful completion of the following courses: Anatomy of the Eye and Low Vision, Psycho-Social Aspects of Visual Impairment, Medical Aspects of Disability, Grade II Braille, Methods in Rehabilitation Teaching, Student Teaching in Rehabilitation Teaching*.


*One year of actual experience in providing rehabilitation teaching of the blind may be substituted for this course in student teaching.




Open Competitive: a bachelors degree or higher with specialization in orientation and mobility; OR a bachelors degree and successful completion of the following courses: Anatomy of the Eye and Low Vision, Psycho-Social Aspects of Visual Impairment, Medical Aspects of Disability, Methods in Orientation and Mobility, Student Teaching in Orientation and Mobility*.


*One year of actual experience in providing rehabilitation teaching of the blind may be substituted for this course in student teaching.




Promotion: one year of permanent competitive service as a Senior Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor.


Open Competitive: bachelors degree and four years of full time professional experience in the direct provision of vocational, rehabilitation, educational, or counseling services to physically or mentally disabled clients, including the following specialized experience: two years of the experience must have been gained in meeting client needs primarily through utilization of a network of public and private community agencies and organizations; AND one year of the experience must have involved full responsibility for supervising professional staff, including assigning work and monitoring and evaluating of staff performance.


A certified Rehabilitation Counselor Certificate may be substituted for one year of the general experience; or a masters degree in public administration, social work, rehabilitation counseling, or a related health and human services field may be substituted for one year of general experience.  The counseling or social work degree programs must have included a supervised internship.


Revised:  6/18


NOTE: Classification Standards illustrate the nature, extent, and scope of duties and responsibilities of the classes they describe.  Standards cannot and do not include all of the work that might be appropriately performed by a class.  The minimum qualifications above are those which were required for appointment at the time the Classification Standard was written.  Please contact the Division of Staffing Services for current information on minimum qualification requirements for appointment or examination.