Reading Specialist at work

Reading Specialist Certification, Master of Arts in Education

Carlow University offers a reading specialist certification program through a Master of Arts in Education degree (MEd) leading to Pre-K, K-12 Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) Reading Specialist Certification with a Dyslexia certificate.


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Become an educational literacy leader

Usually completed in one year, the reading specialist program requires 25-31 credits delivered completely online or in-classroom at our Oakland and Greensburg campuses. Students may pursue a master’s degree in education or a stand-alone certification.

With an alarming number of children reading below grade level across the U.S., the demand for reading specialists is increasing. This program trains students to support, supplement and extend the instruction of classroom teaching to further meet the needs of children as determined by the assessment of the child’s reading skills.

Reading specialist curriculum

With a research-informed curriculum centered in the science of reading and dyslexia, students study the ways children learn to read, the associated developmental skills, and instructional approaches for effective reading instruction.

The curriculum meets the following guidelines:

National trainings are included from LETRS Certification and Wilson Reading, as well as, on-site practicums through the Campus Laboratory School or regional schools and districts. Students have the opportunity to lead literacy professional development, integrate assessment with children, and engage stakeholders in the literacy conversation.

Reading Specialist job opportunities

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which measures labor market activity in the U.S. economy, demand for Instructional Coordinators, like Reading Specialists, will grow 6% nationwide.

School districts hire reading specialists to:

  • Support students and teachers
  • Work with intervention services
  • Coordinate reading programs

Admission criteria

  1. For 30-credit MEd: Bachelor’s degree (BA or BS) with initial certification in a relevant educational field (teacher, guidance counselor, school librarian, school psychologist, etc.)
  2. For 25-credit Reading Specialist program: Master’s degree (MA, MS, MEd, etc.) and initial certification in a relevant educational field (see above)
  3. Cumulative 3.0 undergraduate or graduate GPA
  4. Completed graduate application  
  5. Successful completion of background checks/PA clearances  

Students who have earned and been awarded a master’s degree, at least 19 of the 25 required credit hours toward the reading specialist certification must be awarded at Carlow University; this includes the specific linguistic courses.

See also Tuition and fees.