Certified Reading Instructor Education Requirements and Career Info

Certified reading instructors require significant formal education. Learn about the training, job duties and certification requirements to see if this is the right career for you.

Essential Information

Reading teacher certification is predominantly for those who are already teachers. This certification represents competency in the field of literacy, the ability to identify reading disabilities and the capability to develop programs that rectify the problem. To qualify for a teacher's certification, one must first earn a bachelor's degree in education. The master's and doctoral degree in reading instruction delve more into reading disabilities, assessment methods and instruction strategies but are not required for certification. If an individual plans on teaching at a public school, they must also obtain teaching certification. Reading certification requirements vary between states. Most schools require completion of a state approved reading instructor program, at least one year of teaching experience and the passage of a licensing exam.

Required Education Certification is usually offered during a master's degree program
Other Requirements Passage of a state exam required for reading teacher certification
Projected Job Growth (2012-2022)* 12% for elementary school teachers
Median Salary (2015)** $56,369 for reading specialists

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; **

Education Requirements for Certified Reading Instructors

Specialized training in reading instruction is typically provided in a master's degree program. However, before students can enroll in a master's program in reading instruction, they must first complete a bachelor's degree in education. Many education programs include a component that will allow students to earn state teacher certification.

Bachelor of Science in Education

A Bachelor of Science in Education program prepares graduates for teaching careers in early childhood, elementary, middle years or secondary education. Reading instructors often work with children in elementary schools or preschools and would be more likely to pursue early childhood or elementary education degrees.

However, reading instructors are also prevalent in high schools and community colleges, where they help remedial learners improve their reading skills. Core courses address methods of teaching, child development, literacy, English language instruction and student engagement.

Master of Science in Reading Instruction

Master's degree programs in reading instruction are primarily designed for applicants who are already teaching reading and writing at some grade level. Some of the skills learned by students in these programs include instructional strategies for language learning, curriculum planning for reading and writing and the design of assessment programs in reading and writing.

Many master's degree programs in reading instruction include a research project in addition to core courses. Some examples of core classes include literacy learning and research, instructional strategies and literacy assessment, content area literacy and theories of reading.

Reading Certification Requirements

States govern the requirements for reading certification. A good starting point for certification as a reading instructor is the completion of a bachelor's degree program in education, which often includes a component that meets teacher certification requirements. Teachers who are already certified only need to pass a reading certification exam.

A state master reading teacher certification is offered to candidates with a set number of years of experience as reading instructors. This certification is awarded after the completion of state-approved courses. Students who are interested in becoming reading specialists are encouraged to consult with their academic adviser on the certification requirements for reading instructors in the state in which they plan to teach.

Career Info

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (, a 12% increase in job openings for kindergarten, elementary and middle school teachers is expected for the 2012-2022 period, while a six percent increase is expected for high school teachers. Overall, school enrollment is projected to increase, and student-to-teacher ratios are expected to decline; however, states in the South and West will experience greater numbers of enrollment, and as a result, greater numbers of teachers will be needed. reports that the annual median salary for a master reading teacher working at an elementary school was approximately $56,290 in 2015. For the same year, high school master reading teachers earned an annual median salary of roughly $49,167.

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