Reading Specialist Graduate Certificate, Initial Licensure (hybrid)

Graduate Certificate
Hybrid (Online + Campus)
teacher in classroom with students and book

In Short

Attain Initial Licensure as a Reading Specialist without obtaining an additional master’s degree.

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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.

Certificate Overview

The Reading Specialist Graduate Certificate 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.

The certificate is accredited by CAEP through the International Literacy Association and by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Career Opportunities

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


Online delivery, with limited Saturday sessions for select classes designed to facilitate interaction and collaboration.

Total Credits

27 credits

Time Frame

While you can complete the program in as few as two years, you have six years to complete the program.

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Curriculum and Other Information

Prerequisite Courses

  • Literature for Children or Young Adults (or equivalent)
  • Child Growth and Development (or equivalent)
  • Principles and Practices of the Teaching of Reading (or equivalent)


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?

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.

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