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Literacy Education M.A. With Reading Specialist Certification

May 13, 2024

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Cost Per Credit Hour


Total Credit Hours

Online Asynchronous, Synchronous

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Further Your Teaching Career By Becoming a Literacy Professional

The nationally recognized WVU Literacy Education online master's program prepares teachers to become certified as Reading Specialists (Pre-K-Adult) and to fulfill other roles of specialized literacy professionals.

The Master of Arts in Literacy Education is a 30-credit hour, entirely online, graduate degree program with coursework that focuses on preparing reading professionals in the areas identified by the International Literacy Association. You will gain a deep understanding of the theory and research that is fundamental to successful teaching of reading, and upon graduation you may attach Reading Specialist certification to your current teaching area by passing the PRAXIS Series test.

The WVU Literacy Education M.A. program earned national recognition in 2019 when it received the International Literacy Association's National Recognition With Distinction Award, the highest institutional honor presented for excellence in the field of literacy education by the ILA. In receiving this award, the WVU Literacy Education exceeded benchmarks set forth by the International Literacy Association by adhering to a rigorous set of standards for preparing literacy professionals.

Female teacher and young student learning to read.

According to the International Literacy Association, the WVU Literacy Education program exemplifies the best in literacy professional preparation and demonstrates that WVU is serious about the need to prepare reading specialists to work not only with students who need support or intensive intervention, but also with colleagues using a coaching mind-set. WVU Literacy Education program has reading specialist candidates enrolled in the program who work in multiple practicum experiences. The WVU Literacy Program is at the forefront of excellence for literacy programs across the United States.

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Online Literacy Education M.A. Admission Requirements

Individuals who wish to apply for the Master of Arts in Literacy Education graduate program, may apply at any time during a term for admission for the next term or later. Early application is recommended, however, to allow processing time and faculty review.


A bachelor’s degree with a 3.0 GPA and valid teaching certification.

* Provisional admission is possible with faculty approval for those with less than a 3.0. Those without an undergraduate education degree may be asked to provide a writing sample and/or references.


* GRE and MAT scores are not required

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Allyson Whorton Varlas

Literacy Education M.A. With Reading Specialist Certification
Assignments are given upfront, so you could work ahead of schedule. I can now graduate on time in the spring."

Allyson says that even though the program is all online, the assignments are often group assignments.

"Every course I have taken in the last year has had some sort of video chat, discussion board, or collaboration. It is also helpful that many of us follow the same path in the program, so many of us who started together will finish together."

Allyson says the faculty in the Literacy Education program engage with their students on a weekly and sometimes daily basis through online video chats, phone calls, and they respond to emails quickly.

When grading assignments, they also leave feedback and comments on your work so you know what you did well on and what you may need to focus on more.

"WVU Online is easy to access and affordable. I have learned so much. You can balance your work, classes, and social life all at once when taking online courses."

Aimee Morewood profile image.

Aimee Morewood

Literacy Education M.A. With Reading Specialist Certification
"Then, as a novice teacher, I realized I needed more information on how to teach reading more effectively to my students so that I could give them the support they needed to develop as independent readers."

Aimee Morewood always knew she wanted to be a teacher after, as an undergraduate, she was able to work in schools with teachers and really gain some valuable experience in the field.

Aimee decided to go into a graduate program where she would earn her master’s degree and her Reading Specialist certification. Then, wanting to learn more about the curriculum side of education, she pursued a second master’s degree before earning her PhD in the area of reading instruction at the University of Pittsburgh.

Morewood says there is a real need for excellent reading teachers.

"Every single job has some type of reading associated with it. Teachers are the ones who open the doors to reading for so many children. Being knowledgeable about how to work with all students so that they can progress in literacy impacts individual students, schools, and communities. Teachers touch every single one of these through their work."
"What I mean is that I take on different roles or mindsets given the learning context. I can take on the role of leader, facilitator, designer, or advocate."

She really gets to know her students well and tries to work with them where they are in their learning to help them achieve the objectives for a specific task.

"As I move fluidly among these mindsets in my teaching, I am able to provide the individualized support that my students need as they challenge themselves to learn more and do better. The high expectations I hold and the support that I provide propel students forward in their learning and in the teaching profession."

Tuition, Fees, and Financial Aid

Financial aid is available. Students are encouraged to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to determine their eligibility for federal and state funds as well as scholarships. WVU’s FAFSA Code is 003827. Please contact the WVU Financial Aid Office at (304) 293-5242 or for additional information.

Literacy Education M.A. With Certification requires 30 credit hours to complete. Cost per credit hour is $673.
$20,190 – Residents and Non-Residents

Tuition and fees are usually not the only educational expenses you may have while pursuing a degree. You may have other costs such as books, supplies and living expenses. Please see the Estimate Costs and Aid webpage for how to estimate and plan for other potential expenses.

Your future in Literacy Education

The nationally recognized Literacy Education M.A. degree from the College of Applied Human Sciences will prepare you to be a specialized literacy professional as outlined by the International Literacy Association's (ILA) Standards. In addition to Reading Specialist, other roles include Literacy Coach, Literacy Coordinator or Literacy Leader. You will demonstrate knowledge of the foundations of literacy and language, design curricula to meet the needs of learners, evaluate literacy instruction for learners, integrate digital technologies, and collaborate with teachers to implement effective literacy practices.

The Benefits to Choosing Our Program

  • The Master of Arts in Literacy Education is designed to prepare you to be a leader in the field of literacy education and to positively affect the lives of today’s youth, helping them to reach their full potential.
  • All classes are offered 100% online and consist of 8-week courses, totaling 30 credit hours.
  • Scheduling of courses is flexible, with multiple courses offered in the Fall, Spring and Summer semesters.
  • The courses are taught by a diverse faculty who bring an international perspective to the curriculum. Program faculty frequently travel internationally, which enriches the program by broadening its scope to encompass the global dimensions of literacy education.
  • School-based intervention practicum and novice literary coaching experiences may be completed in your home community, supervised remotely by WVU faculty. This includes intervention work with students and working with peers and experienced colleagues.
  • WVU's Literacy Education program is the recipient of the International Literacy Association's National Recognition With Distinction Award.
  • This professional graduate program leads to pre-K through adult reading specialist certification. Upon graduation you may attach Reading Specialist certification to your current teaching certificate by passing the PRAXIS Series test.

Career Outlook for Literacy Education

Students who graduate from WVU Online with a Literacy Education M.A. degree will prepare themselves for the following careers. These are only a few examples of some of the many opportunities open to you with this degree.

Education Professor
Projected Growth: 7-10% *Bright Outlook

Middle School Teacher
Projected Growth: 4-6%

Special Education – Preschool
Projected Growth: 7-10% *Bright Outlook

Education Administrator - Elementary and Secondary
Projected Growth: 4-6%

Projected Growth: 4-6% *Bright Outlook

Elementary School Teacher
Projected Growth: 2-3% *Bright Outlook

Special Education Teacher
Projected Growth: 2-3%

Instructional Coordinator
Projected Growth: 4-6%

Education Administration – Postsecondary
Projected Growth: 7-10-% *Bright Outlook

Information about careers on this list comes from the Occupational information network (O*NET) of the U.S. Department of Labor/Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA).

Online Literacy Education M.A. Requirements

Major Requirements
A minimum GPA of 3.0 is required for all coursework applied towards the major.

Course Title Credit Hours
LE 620 Specialized Literacy Professionals 3
LE 621 Knowledge of Literacy Instruction 3
LE 622 Disciplinary Literacy 3
LE 624 Foundations of Literacy 3
LE 627 Motivation and Engagement in Literacy Learning 3
LE 640 Literacy Intervention 1 3
LE 682 Literacy Assessments 3
LE 689 Literacy Intervention 2 3
LE 726 Literacy Leadership 3
Elective 3

Total Hours: 30

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to complete an Online Master's in Literacy Education?

Since the program requires 30 credits, it will take you as little as 5 semesters to complete. Since the program is entirely online, students can take their time with each course based on its availability in the Spring, Summer or Fall semester.

What kind of jobs can I get with a Literacy Education Master's Degree?

There are many career paths a student could take with a Literacy Education Master’s Degree, including:

  • Reading Specialist
  • Reading Interventionist
  • Classroom Teacher
  • Literacy Coach
  • Literacy Coordinator
  • Literacy Leader

What jobs are the highest paid in Literacy Education?

Curious about which careers would yield the highest salary? Here are the following highest-paid jobs in the Literacy Education field:

  • Reading Specialist - $54,620 according to
  • Literacy Coach - $44,346 according to
  • Elementary School Teacher - $61,400 according to
  • Education Administrator - $90,690 according to
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