Do I Need a Master’s in Education to Become a Reading Specialist?

If you want to become a reading specialist, you may or may not need a Master’s in Education. Reading specialists also referred to as literary specialists, act as literary coaches who work individually with students who need more assistance. School districts all have their own requirements for specialists in literacy and knowing what’s required in your region or within a certain school district is imperative.

Job Duties of a Reading or Literacy Specialist

The primary job of educators specializing in literacy and reading is to work in small settings and one-on-one with students within a school who are struggling to make grade-level reading goals. While they do predominantly work in primary schools and middle schools, there are specialists who also work with adult students. They will assess a student’s current abilities to determine areas in need of improvement and create a plan to intervene outside of the child’s normal classroom study.

What Qualities Do Great Literacy Specialists Possess?

While all educators enter the field to instruct students because they have a passion for teaching, not everyone is a natural reading specialist. To really hone in on your duties, literacy specialists need to possess good communication skills and be patient and personable individuals with a passion for reading.

What Level of Education is Required?

If you’d like to specialize in reading in either a primary school, middle school, or high school setting, the first step is to earn your bachelor’s degree. This is the same route that prospective teachers will take when they are entering college to study for their teaching certification. While you could receive an undergraduate degree in teaching or education, it might be a better choice to earn a more specific Bachelor of Arts in Reading or Literacy.

You must have a Bachelor of Arts in a relevant field at a minimum to take your tests and earn your license. Once you work in a classroom setting to earn a post-graduate certification, you will then be able to endorse your license as a reading specialist and you will be eligible to apply for open positions in the field.

Some States May Require a Master’s Degree

To earn a Master’s in Education, you will have to spend at least 2 more years in graduate school focusing on the literacy-relevant subject matter. While this is optional in many states, there are select state boards that will require a minimum of a Master’s degree before a professional can endorse their teaching license. The few states who have adopted the Master’s degree credential requirement include Massachussetts, Maryland, and South Carolina.

According to Payscale, the average literacy specialist earns $50,274 per year or $24.68 per hour. This salary can range from state to state and also from school to school, depending on the type of setting. If you feel like the qualifications to become a specialist are worth the investment of your time, you can take the steps necessary to get credentialed. Make sure to access the qualifications through your state board of licensing, set a plan to earn the necessary degree, and enroll in a Master’s in Education program if that’s what is required.

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