How to Become a Reading Specialist in North Carolina

Jun 06, 2018

The importance of reading and writing competency in students cannot be understated. Discover what is needed in North Carolina to become a reading specialist, including degree programs and licensing requirements.

Teachers in North Carolina must go through several levels of education and testing before holding the title of reading specialist. Licensing is done through a collaborative effort between the state and the university where teachers earn their post-baccalaureate credits.

Reading Specialist Requirements in North Carolina

Average Salary for Reading Teachers in North Carolina (2017)* $44,650 (Kindergarten), $45,690 (Elementary and Middle), $46,370 (Secondary)
Required Degree Bachelor's plus add-on academic license
Degree Field Reading
Testing Requirements Pearson North Carolina exams for elementary students, Praxis Core Academic Skills and Reading Specialist

*Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Step 1: Obtain Bachelor's Degree

Teachers at any level in North Carolina must first complete an undergraduate program, which has to include a student-teaching experience/teacher education program. A Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education opens the door for educators to teach kindergarten through sixth grade, with classes such as integrating curriculum for elementary school learners, the elementary school child, and applied literacy and practices. A Bachelor of Arts in Middle Education focuses on grades six through nine. Undergraduates in this program must choose two content areas of concentration: English language arts (preferred for those who will become reading specialists), mathematics, social studies, or science. Classes in this program might include data analysis and probability, earth sciences geography, or teaching of writing. Finally, a Bachelor of Arts in English with licensure in high school teaching fast-tracks students toward careers as secondary educators. This program's classes could include introduction to rhetoric, instructional technology, and child and adolescent development and learning.

Step 2: Pass First Exams

The first round of testing for reading specialists will come in the form of the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators. It consists of three subtests - Reading, Writing, and Mathematics. You will find multiple-choice questions on all three parts, as well as open-response questions for the Writing section. The tests can be taken in one block, or broken up into multiple sessions. For teachers who will be working in kindergarten through sixth grade, the Pearson Foundations of Reading and General Curriculum exams both consist of two subtests containing multiple-choice and open-response questions. All exams can be taken during the undergraduate program.

Step 3: Obtain Initial License

North Carolina provides an Professional Educator's Initial License to brand new teachers in the state. This first license is valid for three years, after which it will permanently expire and must be replaced with another license tier. The cost for an initial license is $70. Transcripts from all attended institutions must be submitted at the time of the application. Prospective teachers should note that official transcripts must be submitted, and unofficial electronic copies are not accepted by the state.

Step 4: Become a Reading Specialist with Exam and License

Universities in North Carolina offer an additional license as a reading specialist through academic certification programs. These programs are specifically designed for teachers who plan to lead their colleagues in helping students who struggle with reading comprehension and writing. Some of the higher-level courses studied in the add-on program include trends and issues in literacy education, youth literacies, and composing theories in reading and writing. After finishing coursework, graduates will take the Praxis Reading Specialist exam. This test allows teachers to become licensed reading specialists in any classroom from kindergarten through high school.

Additional Resources for Reading Specialists in North Carolina

On your way to becoming a licensed reading specialist in North Carolina, visit's online database of review courses and practice guides. You can get an idea of what to expect on your Praxis exams with the examples listed below:

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