Certified Reading Instructor Education Requirements and Career Info
Certification requirements for reading instructors vary by state. Educational requirements typically include the completion of a bachelor's degree program in education and a master's degree program in reading instruction and curriculum design.
Education Requirements for Certified Reading Instructors
Specialized training in reading instruction is typically provided in a master's degree program. However, before students can enroll in a master's program in reading instruction, they must first complete a bachelor's degree in education. Many education programs include a component that will allow students to earn state teacher certification.
Bachelor of Science in Education
A Bachelor of Science in Education program prepares graduates for teaching careers in early childhood, elementary, middle years or secondary education. Reading instructors often work with children in elementary schools or preschools and would be more likely to pursue early childhood or elementary education degrees.
However, reading instructors are also prevalent in high schools and community colleges, where they help remedial learners improve their reading skills. Core courses address methods of teaching, child development, literacy, English language instruction and student engagement.
Master of Science in Reading Instruction
Master's degree programs in reading instruction are primarily designed for applicants who are already teaching reading and writing at some grade level. Some of the skills learned by students in these programs include instructional strategies for language learning, curriculum planning for reading and writing and the design of assessment programs in reading and writing.
Many master's degree programs in reading instruction include a research project in addition to core courses. Some examples of core classes include literacy learning and research, instructional strategies and literacy assessment, content area literacy and theories of reading.
Reading Certification Requirements
States govern the requirements for reading certification. A good starting point for certification as a reading instructor is the completion of a bachelor's degree program in education, which often includes a component that meets teacher certification requirements. Teachers who are already certified only need to pass a reading certification exam.
A state master reading teacher certification is offered to candidates with a set number of years of experience as reading instructors. This certification is awarded after the completion of state-approved courses. Students who are interested in becoming reading specialists are encouraged to consult with their academic adviser on the certification requirements for reading instructors in the state in which they plan to teach.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov), a 17% increase in job openings for kindergarten, elementary and middle school teachers is expected for the 2010-2020 period, while a seven percent increase is expected for high school teachers. Overall, school enrollment is projected to increase, and student-to-teacher ratios are expected to decline; however, states in the South and West will experience greater numbers of enrollment, and as a result, greater numbers of teachers will be needed.
Payscale.com reports that the annual median salary for a master reading teacher working at an elementary school was approximately $40,760 in 2013. For the same year, middle school and high school master reading teachers earned an annual median salary of roughly $42,950 and $44,730, respectively.
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