Different types of assistive technology training are geared towards people with disabilities and towards the professionals who teach and assist them. Various assistive technology software programs have learning curves, and most new users need a certain time period of guidance before they feel comfortable navigating them. Technicians and educators also need specific assistive technology training in order to provide this kind of guidance successfully. An assistive technology major at the college level typically completes a set of courses in both software use and in teaching techniques for the field of special education. Entry-level jobs in assistive technology frequently entail on-the-job instruction in the use of specialized software to make printed text accessible to people with visual or learning impairments.
Assistive technology instructors are often required to complete comprehensive coursework in how different software programs and assistive devices operate. They also study exactly how disabled people are able to benefit from this technology. Some degree programs in special education offer concentrations in assistive technology, and much of the the focus in these programs is on effective communication techniques for teaching software and device use. In addition to this type of assistive technology training, instructors may also need to pass a series of certification exams to qualify for employment in a school setting or a non-profit assistive technology center.
Educational disability specialists generally undergo assistive technology training with an emphasis on counseling and advising rather than on teaching. Unlike instructors, disability specialists typically do not teach the use of software to individuals or groups. They instead administer assessment exams in order to determine which specific types of assistive technology would best help different individuals with disabilties. Many specialists complete advanced coursework in areas such as counseling psychology, disability research, and special education methods. They are also usually required to complete training sessions in assistive technology software in order to gain working knowledge of these programs.
Some higher education institutions offer recorded textbooks to students with limited vision or with certain learning disabilties. While a range of pre-recorded books can be ordered from various vendors, many college textbooks are only available in traditional print and need to be converted to audio on site. Technicians operating text-to-speech programs are responsible for this task in schools where the demand is usually high. They typically undergo limited assistive technology training in the use of scanning, uploading, and converting book pages into audio files. The software used for this job duty usually combines optical character recognition with a speech synthesizer to make this process possible.