Marlene SnowMarlene Snow became the 20th UAB alum to earn SCLVAs of January 2015, there are only 42 Occupational Therapists in the world with a Specialty Certification in Low Vision (SCLV) and 24 of them are alumni of the University of Alabama at Birmingham. All but one of those UAB graduates came from the School of Health Professions Low Vision Rehabilitation Graduate Certificate program.

“This tells the world that our graduates are the occupational therapy leaders in low vision rehabilitation,” says Mary Warren, Ph.D., OTR, SCLV, FAOTA, director, UAB Low Vision Rehabilitation Graduate Certificate program. “Because of our success, we are working on becoming a pilot program for fast tracking SCLV applicants. This would mean that UAB graduates automatically skip over some of the steps in the credentialing process and would qualify earlier.”

To even apply for the SCLV, Occupational Therapists must have a certain number of hours practicing low vision rehabilitation. Once accepted the applicant must create a portfolio to show competency in the six established areas of low vision practice: knowledge, evaluation, intervention, psychosocial, networking and advocacy. And then they must complete in-depth reflective pieces to illustrate their true knowledge of applying the criteria in the field.

Warren calls it “a rigorous and lengthy process.”

Marlene Snow, OTR/L, SCLV, who was the 20th UAB alumni to earn the SCLV and gave the university a majority of earners, says the process was “a lot less daunting” thanks to her UAB education and connections.

“UAB does a great job of not only training in low vision specialty, but also in creating networking opportunities with other low vision OT’s,” said Snow, the only SCLV for the non-profit group NewView Oklahoma which is the leading employer of the blind and visually impaired in the state. “The networking even provides monthly chats to track progress from the SCLV process. As I advanced, the UAB family provided me with invaluable encouragement and answers to my questions.”

The UAB Low Vision Rehabilitation Graduate Certificate program, located within the UAB Department of Occupational Therapy, has graduated students from as far away as Ireland and Singapore. The courses, offered online, are designed for working clinicians anywhere in the world. The program is limited to occupational therapist and admits two cohorts per year. Admission deadline for fall semester is June 15 with the deadline for spring semester set for October 1.

Contact Sandra Shaw at or 205-975-6860 with any questions about the low vision program or the admission procedure.