What's the Salary of a Reading Specialist?

Research what it takes to become a reading specialist. Learn about job duties and education and licensure requirements to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Literacy degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Does a Reading Specialist Do?

Reading specialists assess struggling students' reading and writing skills and help them achieve appropriate reading levels through instruction and encouragement. They work with children in elementary, middle or high schools. They may work with students individually or in small groups. Often called a 'reading coach', these professionals help motivate students to work hard and help make reading fun. Reading specialists work closely with teachers, administrators and parents to monitor a student's progress. They may also be involved in student advocacy to help ensure their students have the support they need. In the table and article below, read about this growing field including education requirements, career outlook and salary range.

Degree Required Bachelor's is minimum; post-baccalaureate certificate or master's degree may be preferred
Education Field of Study Education or literacy
Training Required Student teaching period required in most states
Licensure Required State license required to work in public schools
Job Growth (2014-2024) 6% for all K-8 teachers;
6% for all high school teachers*
Median Salary (2017) $49,514**

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

What Is a Reading Specialist?

A reading specialist is an instructor who teaches reading to students at the kindergarten, elementary, middle or secondary school levels. As a reading specialist, you work solely with students who are having literacy issues. Your duties may include educating a group or working with students one-on-one.

What Education Do I Need?

After graduating with a bachelor's degree in education or related field, you can consider enrolling in a reading specialist certificate or master's degree program. The programs cover topics in children's literature, correcting reading difficulties, multicultural education and diagnosing reading issues. Reading specialist certification may be available through master's degree programs in education.

What Is the Job Market Like?

The market for teachers in general, including reading specialists is expanding. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of positions available for kindergarten, elementary and middle school teachers was set to grow by 6% between 2014 and 2024 (www.bls.gov). Many of the openings are due to a large number of individuals expected to retire over the next few years. High school teachers are expected to increase by 6% during the same period, which would equal an additional 55,900 jobs.

What Salary Can I Expect?

While pay can vary by location and academic level taught, PayScale.com notes that most reading specialists earned between $34,592 and $73,641 as of January 2017. The median annual salary for these workers was $49,514.

The BLS reports wages for teachers, including reading specialists, by academic level. The median annual wage for kindergarten teachers was $51,640 as of May 2015, while elementary school teachers earned a median annual wage of $54,890. The median annual wage was only slightly higher for middle school teachers at $55,860, with the lowest ten percent making $37,350 or less and the top 10% making $87,060 or more. The median salary for high school teachers was $57,200 in May 2015.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

A couple similar positions that typically require at least a bachelor's degree include special education teachers and career and technical education teachers. Special education teachers specialize in educating students of varying disabilities. They work with students at the elementary, middle and high schools and adapt lesson plans to meet their needs. Career and technical education teachers teach students a particular craft or trade to prepare them for a certain career. They may teach subjects like culinary arts or auto repair.

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