Reading Teacher Education Requirements and Career Info

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a reading teacher. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as the details about degree programs, job duties and certification to see if this is the right career for you.

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Anyone interesting in becoming a reading instructor must be prepared to earn at least a bachelor's degree just to get started. Reading teachers are expected to teach to improve reading skills, prepare lesson plans, and pretest and posttest students for reading levels.

Essential Information

Reading teachers promote literacy, assess the reading levels of students and generate techniques to strengthen reading skills. Students must complete a bachelor's degree in reading instruction, literacy or early childhood education to become eligible for a licensure exam. In addition, job experience is mandatory to earn national specialty certification in literacy-language arts.

Required Education Bachelor's degree in reading or literacy education
Other Requirements State teacher licensure; national literacy teacher certification
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) 6% for elementary school teachers; 6% for middle school teachers*
Average Salary (2015) $57,730 for elementary school teachers; $58,760 for middle school teachers*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Reading Teacher Education Requirements

Students may earn bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in reading, reading instruction or literacy education. Because reading teachers often work with young children, many institutions offer bachelor's degree programs in early childhood education and allow students to declare concentrations or earn supplemental certificates in reading. Students in bachelor's degree programs learn to test and assess children's reading skills, develop programs to promote student literacy and implement new technologies into reading lesson plans. Completion of a bachelor's degree program can lead to state public school teacher licensure.

Master's and doctoral degree programs feature more in-depth, subject-focused course curricula. Students interested in earning a master's degree can pursue Master of Science or Master of Education degrees in reading or literacy. Master's degree programs educate students in such areas as educational research, children's literature, bilingual literacy, language arts instruction and remedial reading education. Students must also complete a student teaching practicum prior to graduating.

Doctoral degree programs focus on these areas and on adult literacy. They prepare students for careers in literacy policy development with government agencies or in education as professors at colleges and universities.

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Career Information

Reading teachers have many job duties, including teaching children how to read and administering tests to determine a child's reading level. They're also responsible for planning and executing various methods of promoting literacy, such as helping children improve reading skills or guiding class discussions on assigned short stories or novels.

While some instructors teach high school, college or adult populations, public or private elementary and middle schools are more common places of employment for reading teachers. According to the salary information on the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics website, all elementary school teachers earned an average annual salary of $57,730 in 2015, while middle school teachers made an average of $58,760 annually. Salary may differ based on the grade level taught, the amount of teaching experience and the type of employer. Reading teachers who are licensed, certified or both may earn more than teachers without these professional recognitions.

Licensure and Certification Requirements

Reading teachers frequently work in elementary or middle schools. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), all 50 states require public school teachers to be state licensed. Upon completion of a bachelor's degree program in reading instruction or a related area, students are generally eligible to take state licensure exams.

In addition to required licensure, reading teachers may also choose to obtain state or national certification once they have accrued the job experience required to do so. State certification requirements may vary. National certification is regulated by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) and requires possession of a bachelor's degree and three years of relevant teaching experience.

With a steady 6% growth over the next ten years expected, becoming a reading teacher at any level of the K-12 spectrum could be just the thing for someone seeking a bachelor's degree in education to start. Some states may require a master's but all states expect licensure.

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