Reading Specialist - Initial Licensure (Hybrid) | Fitchburg State University
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Reading Specialist Certificate - Initial Licensure (hybrid)

Are you a licensed teacher who already holds a master's degree? Earn a graduate certificate as a Reading Specialist that leads to initial licensure.

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Certificate Overview

This program defines the knowledge and skills necessary for effective assessment, instruction and leadership in the field of reading. It responds to the needs of school districts by preparing specialists in leadership roles, as well as to the needs of students with a wide range of abilities. This certificate program provides candidates who hold initial licenses in early childhood, elementary, middle school or special education with a rigorous, research-based curriculum and a range of assessment, teaching and staff development opportunities. Candidates for this program already hold a master’s degree and are seeking preparation for the state licensure examination for initial licensure: reading specialist.

This program is accredited by CAEP/NCATE through the International Literacy Association and by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Attend a Graduate and Continuing Education Information Session

Requirements and Curriculum

Reading Specialist Graduate Certificate
Two-Year Course Rotation (PDF)

Program at a Glance


Completed applications are reviewed on a rolling admission basis. Admissions requirements are as follows:

  • Official transcripts of a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from a regionally accredited institution
  • Initial Licensure in early childhood, elementary, middle school or special education
  • Passing scores for the Communication and Literacy subtest of the Massachusetts Test of Educator Licensure (MTEL)
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Professional resume
  • Graduate application and fee
  • An essay, no more than one page in length, in response to one of the following questions:
    • Tell us about a positive situation in which you helped a person and made a significant difference in that person’s life.
    • What are the most important factors in establishing a long-term working relationship with students, friends, etc.?
    • Tell us about a significant event that involved you in a teaching or helping mode.
    • Describe the situation as it occurred at the time.
      • What did you do in that particular situation?
      • How did you feel about the situation at the time you were experiencing it?
      • How do you feel about the situation now?
      • What would you change, if anything?

Prerequisite Courses

  • Children or Young Adult Literature
  • Child Development (or equivalent)
  • Principles and Practices of Teaching Reading (or equivalent)


This is a hybrid program, with limited Saturday sessions for select classes designed to facilitate interaction and collaboration.

Time Frame

While you can complete the program in as few as 2 years, you have 6 years to complete the program.

Total Credits

27 credits

Program Costs/Credits

Tuition and fees
Students pursuing the initial licensure programs for Reading Specialists, including...

  • The CAGS in Interdisciplinary Studies/Reading Specialist concentration
  • The MEd in Special Education/Reading Specialist concentration
  • The Reading Specialist Graduate Certificate program

...may be eligible for the Dr. Rosemarie Giovino Reading Specialist Scholarship. Students in these programs who have taken SPED/READ 7016 and SPED/READ 7017, and who also hold or are pursuing Wilson Language Level I certification are eligible. Other criteria apply.

Program Highlights

Students can attain Initial Licensure as a Reading Specialist without obtaining an additional master’s degree.

Career Opportunities

  • Title I or Reading Teacher
  • Reading Specialist/Literacy Coach
  • Private Academic Tutoring Business

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