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Reading Instructor: Career and Salary Facts

Research what it takes to become a reading instructor. Learn about the job duties, suggested courses, job outlook and current average salary to find out whether this is the career for you.

What is a Reading Instructor?

Reading instructors help students of all levels and ages improve their reading and literacy skills. They design and employ lesson plans, evaluate and assist students, grade student work and keep in accordance with any policies. They often must communicate with parents and prepare their students for standardized tests. The table below lists the general requirements for a career in this field.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree
Master's degree may be required
Licensure/Certification Required state-issued teaching certificate or license
K-12 reading teacher certificate
Education Field of Study Education
Key Responsibilities Classroom reading and literature instruction; one-on-one interventions
Job Growth (2018-2028) 3-4% for kindergarten, middle and high school teachers*
Median Salary (2018) $57,980 for kindergarten and elementary teachers, $58,600 for middle school teachers and $60,320 for high school teachers

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Does a Reading Instructor Do?

There are various kinds of reading instructors, from the preschool level to secondary school. Two of the most common types are reading teachers and reading specialists. Although in certain classrooms the duties of reading teachers and reading specialists may be similar, these are fundamentally different positions. Typically, a reading teacher instructs general reading classes and literature, including analysis and interpretation at the middle and secondary school level. A reading specialist, on the other hand, specifically addresses literacy problems, often working directly with students to help them overcome reading difficulties.

What Education Do I Need?

Although there are a variety of ways to become a reading teacher, a common one is get your K-12 reading teacher certificate. In order to enroll in a reading teacher certificate program, you must first have a bachelor's degree, usually in education or a related field. A few subjects that you can expect in the certificate program are developmental reading, instructional methods and children's literature. Some certificate programs are offered as part of a greater master's degree program.

If you have a bachelor's degree and want to become a reading specialist, you could enter into a certificate in the discipline. Like reading teacher certificate programs, many reading specialist programs are part of master's degree programs. A few courses you'll be likely to encounter are language development, literacy, clinical instruction and clinical practices.

What Is the Job Market Like?

Teaching at the K-12 level is currently a growing profession. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of jobs available for kindergarten, elementary and middle school teachers, including reading instructors, will increase by 3% from 2018-2028. Teaching positions at the high school level are projected to grow by 4% during the same time frame (www.bls.gov). The BLS attributes job growth at all levels to increasing student enrollments.

What Kind of Salary Can I Expect?

In May 2018, the BLS estimated that the median annual wage for kindergarten teachers, including reading instructors, was $55,470, with the lower 10% making $35,680 and the upper 90% making $86,310. The median annual wage for elementary teachers was $58,230, and it was almost the same for middle school teachers at $58,600. For secondary school teachers, the median annual wage was $60,320, with the lower 10% making $39,740 and the upper 90% making $97,500.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Related careers include career and technical education teachers, special education teachers and preschool teachers. Career and technical education teachers instruct vocational courses. Special education teachers work with disabled students in general courses. Preschool teachers work with students under the age of five in basic subjects. While career/technical and special education teachers must have a bachelor's degree, preschool teachers only need an associate's.