Reading Specialist Certification and Certificate Program Information

Educators drawn to becoming a reading specialist should consider graduate certification. Graduate certificate programs are generally designed to help fulfill state certification requirements. These 1- to 2-year programs are offered either in combination with a master's degree or on their own.

Essential Information

Reading specialists usually need a standard teaching license, as well as state certification for their specialization. In most programs, students learn about language acquisition, processes, and development. Students can also gain skills in planning differentiated programs, instruction and assessment related to literacy. Many reading specialist curricula guide students in classroom strategies, such as independent reading and motivation for reading. Students usually participate in a practicum or internship semester. To become certified, graduates need to pass an examination and complete continuing education as needed.

  • Program Levels in Reading Specialization: Graduate certificate
  • Interdisciplinary Studies Program Fields: Multiple fields in arts, humanities, and sciences, such as global studies, literature, religion, women's studies, gerontology, forensic science, etc.
  • Prerequisites: Bachelor's degree, and in pursuit of graduate degree; state teaching licensure; GRE or MAT scores; previous undergraduate coursework in literature, psychology, and education methodologies (depending on program)
  • Program Length: One to two years
  • Other Requirements: Practicum or internship

!Graduate certificate in Reading Specialist

Reading specialist programs cover literacy research, theories, curriculum development, and instructional practices. Courses might examine the following topics:

  • Diagnosing reading problems
  • Evaluation of reading programs
  • Cognitive development
  • Reading development
  • Children's literature
  • Adolescent literature
  • Action research
  • Curriculum development
  • Foundations in education
  • Literacy assessment

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

Although the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) doesn't have specific data available for reading specialists, as of 2010, the median annual salary for middle school teachers was $51,960 and $53,230 for secondary schools teachers ( The BLS expected employment of these teachers to grow at an average rate of 13% during the period from 2008-2018. Earning reading specialist certification might lead to advancement in many school districts.

Certification and Continuing Education

Certification requirements for reading specialists vary by state and can include the completion of an Educational Testing Service Praxis II exam for reading specialists or a master's degree. A graduate certificate program might also fulfill many of the requirements for state certification. Certified reading specialists commonly need to complete continuing education or professional development in order to maintain their certification and stay abreast of new developments in literacy instruction.

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