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Certified Reading Specialist: Job Outlook and Education Info

Certified reading specialists are licensed teachers who've completed specialized training in reading instruction. Read about the job duties for reading specialists and find out the steps to becoming certified in this field. See employment outlook and salary statistics.

What is a Certified Reading Specialist?

Certified reading specialists are a type of instructional coordinator, meaning they help develop teaching materials particularly in the area of reading to best suit the student. As a certified reading instructor, an individual may work with students directly or with other educational professionals to help select appropriate curriculum and reading materials to best instruct students how to read according to their level. Below is a table with some important details about the path to becoming a certified reading specialist.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree at minimum; master's may be required
Education Field of Study Education; specializations available in areas like reading education and literacy
Key Duties Instruct special needs reading students in the classroom, work to improve school-wide reading education
Job Growth (2018-2028) 6%* (instructional coordinators)
Median Salary (2019) $52,109** (reading specialists)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale.com

What Job Duties Might I Have as a Certified Reading Specialist?

A certified reading specialist is a resource teacher who helps his or her colleagues improve the quality of reading instruction for students from kindergarten through 12th grade. In addition to serving as resources and mentors for teachers, certified reading specialists advise school administrators regarding school-wide and district-wide literacy development and programs.

As a certified reading specialist, you could also work one-on-one with students who are having reading difficulties. You could be responsible for planning reading programs that are appropriate for children from a wide range of cultural backgrounds and with varied abilities, including gifted children and children with learning disabilities. You could work in a elementary or secondary school or for a community-based literacy program.

What is My Career Outlook?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job opportunities for instructional coordinators should be on par or slightly better than other jobs in the coming years, with a projected employment increase of 6% between 2018-2028 (www.bls.gov). Because many instructional coordinators are by local and state governments, job growth will likely be aligned with the education budget fluctuations in government budgets. The middle half of certified reading specialists earned roughly $37,000-$72,000 in November 2019, according to PayScale.com. The BLS reported that all instructional coordinators earned a median salary of $64,450 in 2019.

What Educational Requirements Do I Need to Meet?

Qualifications to become a certified reading specialist vary by state. According to the Educational Testing Service, which administers the Praxis reading specialist certifying exam, you'll need to hold at least a bachelor's degree in education and initial state-level teaching certification. You might also need to hold or be working toward a master's degree in education. Some 4-year institutions offer master's degree programs in education with specializations such as reading education, literacy and reading specialist certification. You may need up to three years of teaching experience and, depending on the state in which you intend to work, to pass the Praxis reading specialist exam (www.ets.org).

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Those who have a strong interest in teaching could pursue careers as elementary, middle school, or high school teachers. Individuals who are looking for more of a leadership role may consider jobs as principals or administrators in school systems. Other possible careers that would require a similar skill set include librarians, teaching assistants, and school and career counselors.