Become a Reading Teacher: Education Requirements and Career Info

Oct 08, 2019

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a reading teacher. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about job duties and licensure.

While a bachelor's degree may generally suffice to become a reading teacher, some situations may call for a master's degree. If you wish to teach in a public school system, you'll need to hold a state teaching license and in some cases, a specialized reading teacher license.

Essential Information

Reading teachers may be licensed kindergarten or elementary school teachers who also teach a range of other subjects. Alternatively, some reading teachers work in any K-12 grade level and have acquired an additional reading teacher license after completing a specialized course of postsecondary study in reading assessment and reading development skills.

Required Education Bachelor's program in education; master's degree required for some positions
Other Requirements State teaching license or certificate; specialized reading teacher license for some positions
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* 3% (kindergarten and elementary teachers)
Median Salary (2018)* $55,470 (kindergarten teachers)
$58,230 (elementary teachers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Duties

Reading teachers create curricula to motivate students to excel at reading, overcome remedial reading challenges and stimulate an appreciation of reading and literature. Through graduate training, reading teachers are qualified to implement reading programs in K-12 schools and mentor fellow teachers to achieve classroom reading goals.

Reading teachers must first become licensed teachers by attaining a bachelor's degree and enrolling in an accredited teacher education program. Most teacher training programs require students to study education philosophy, student psychology and the subjects they intend to teach. A supervised student teaching internship in a classroom setting is also required. Graduates may apply for either state licensing as or for a single-subject license to teach middle school or high school.

Reading Teacher License

The path from a licensed teacher to becoming a licensed reading teacher is regulated by individual states. Reading teacher, reading specialist or endorsement certificate programs consist of 4-8 semesters of coursework that meets state licensing requirements. Certificate programs consist of classes in developmental reading, student assessment, curriculum selection, student diversity, literature for children and young adults, learning difficulties, reading psychology, remedial intervention and mentoring. In addition, prospective reading teachers develop techniques to enhance student word recognition, reading fluency, critical thinking and reading comprehension.

Alternatively, schools may offer a master's degree in education with a specialization in reading. Graduates are eligible to apply for endorsements like Texas' Master Reading Teacher license. In addition to the completion of a reading teacher certificate program, reading specialist or master's program, some states require teachers to have 2-3 years of classroom experience and demonstrate proficiency as reading teachers before they can be licensed as reading teachers.

Career Information for Reading Teachers

Reading teachers work in K-12 schools or as reading consultants to other teachers. The mean elementary school teacher salary in 2018 was $62,200, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS reports that teaching job openings at the elementary school level are predicted to increase slower than average between 2018-2028. Job openings for new teachers are generally more available in crowded urban schools and remote rural locations.

Job opportunities for kindergarten and elementary school teachers, a category that includes reading teachers, are expected to increase slowly over the next few years. Though a bachelor's degree may be all you need to qualify, in some cases you might need a master's degree. In any case, to teach in public schools, you must be licensed by the state to teach in a public school.

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