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Completing an online master's in reading and literacy can lead to many rewarding career paths. Most graduates go on to teach in some capacity, helping learners build essential language, literacy, and communication skills.

With an advanced degree in reading and literacy, graduates can qualify for teaching positions at various levels, most of which pay well, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Graduates can pursue careers as elementary, high school, and adult literacy teachers.

Read on for more information about online master's in reading and literacy programs and related careers.

What Are the Best Online Master's in Reading and Literacy Programs of 2020? Here Are Our Top 10:

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Rank School Location
1 University of Florida Gainesville, FL
2 University of South Florida Tampa, FL
3 Texas A&M University College Station, TX
4 University of Georgia Athens, GA
5 California State University, Fullerton Fullerton, CA
6 University of Wisconsin La Crosse La Crosse, WI
7 Clemson University Clemson, SC
8 University at Buffalo Buffalo, NY
9 University of West Florida Pensacola, FL
10 University of San Diego San Diego, CA
How We Rank Schools

At BestColleges, we believe a college education is one of the most important investments you will make. We want to help you navigate the college selection process by offering school rankings that are transparent, inclusive, and relevant for online students.

Our rankings are grounded in a few guiding principles and use the latest statistical data available from trusted sources. Read our Ranking Methodology here. We hope our approach helps you find the school that is best for you.

2020 Best Accredited Online Master's in Reading and Literacy Programs

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Rank School Location Cost Graduation Rate Description Toggle
1

University of Florida

Gainesville, FL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 90%

The University of Florida ranked second in U.S. World News & Report's 2020 ranking of the best online graduate programs in education. Approximately 5,000 online students enroll each year, pursuing degrees in more than a dozen areas within the field, including program evaluation, educational leadership, and educational technology.

UF's online master's degree in reading and literacy education provides students with the knowledge, skills, and strategies needed to support literacy and language growth in the pre-K-12 classroom. The 36-credit master of arts curriculum culminates in a thesis or research project. Students graduate in 4-6 semesters.

General admission requirements include a minimum 3.0 GPA in the last 60 credits of undergraduate coursework, three letters of recommendation, and a statement of purpose.

2

University of South Florida

Tampa, FL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 73%

The University of South Florida is a state research university located in the heart of Tampa. Three campuses serve more than 50,000 students. Nine master's degrees offer fully online completion, including the 36-credit master of arts in reading.

This program explores global literacy as an essential tool for communication and aids educators in the development of literacy coaching skills and instructional practices. Two curriculum plans are available to accomodate students both with and without a teaching license. Courses use asynchronous and synchronous elements.

Admission requirements vary by plan selection. All applicants should hold a bachelor's degree; a minimum 3.0 GPA in upper-division coursework; and provide a resume, statement of purpose, and two letters of recommendation.

3

Texas A&M University

College Station, TX Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 82%

The department of teaching, learning and culture at Texas A&M University enrolls approximately 1,200 undergraduate and 400 graduate students. The department strives to advance teaching, research, and service through programs in urban education, multicultural education, and reading and literacy.

Available online, through a combination of asynchronous and synchronous classes, the master of education in curriculum and instruction requires 36 credits. The reading and literacy emphasis requires coursework in developmental reading, reading instruction, and organization and supervision of reading programs. No thesis is required.

For admission consideration, prospective students must provide official transcripts, two essays, and three letters of recommendation. Texas A&M recommends a minimum 2.75 GPA.

4

University of Georgia

Athens, GA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 86%

Upon its founding in 1785, the University of Georgia became the first state-supported university in the nation. Today, UGA provides rigorous academic opportunities to more than 37,000 students, both on campus and online, including a 36-credit master's in reading and literacy.

Reading education cohorts progress through two core courses, six electives, and four specialization courses in new and digital literacies. UGA requires successful completion of both an electronic assessment capstone and a final examination. Graduates are prepared to help students advance as readers in print and digital environments.

Applicants must supply a statement of purpose, three letters of recommendation, a resume/CV, and official transcripts. Two years of teaching experience and a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA are recommended.

5

California State University, Fullerton

Fullerton, CA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 68%

California State University, Fullerton serves approximately 40,000 students each year. The college of education houses the Reading Educators' Guild — the oldest alumni support group on the CSUF campus — which includes graduates of the master's in reading and literacy education program.

Students can complete the 30-credit degree entirely online or through a hybrid format. Learners progress through the curriculum in a cohort, taking classes in linguistics and literacy education, literacy curriculum, and literacy in the academic disciplines. A capstone project or thesis serves as the program's culminating experience.

Admission requirements include a completed bachelor's degree in an approved major and a minimum 3.0 GPA in the last 60 credits of undergraduate coursework.

6

University of Wisconsin La Crosse

La Crosse, WI Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 71%

The University of Wisconsin La Crosse began as a normal school, founded in 1909. Today, UW-La Crosse's school of education continues this long tradition of teacher preparation through 23 diverse programs, including an online master's degree in reading and literacy.

The 30-credit, non-certification program serves teachers interested in professional development in reading education. Required courses include research methods in literacy, critical issues in reading difficulties, and children's literature. Students must complete a thesis and a minimum of 50 practicum hours in a pre-K-12 setting.

Admission requires a minimum 2.85 cumulative undergraduate GPA or a minimum 3.0 GPA in the last 60 credits of undergraduate coursework. Applicants must hold a teaching license or show proof of eligibility for teacher licensure.

7

Clemson University

Clemson, SC Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 83%

Clemson University is a selective public research university with more than 25,000 students. The school ranked number one in U.S. News & World Report's 2020 rankings of the best online graduate programs in education. Furthermore, graduates of the school of education report a 98% satisfaction rate with their professional preparation.

Among Clemson's online education options is a master's in reading and literacy, which offers three tracks: literacy coaching, literacy secondary, and literacy ESOL. Each track requires 36 credits and results in varying endorsements and certifications. On average, students take 1-2 courses per semester and complete the program in 2-3 years.

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA; a current teaching license; and submit a resume, two letters of recommendation, and a personal statement.

8

University at Buffalo

Buffalo, NY Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 76%

The University at Buffalo is a premier, research-intensive university and one of the top public institutions in New York. The school offers an extensive catalog of more than 125 undergraduate, 205 master's, and 90 doctoral programs. Approximately 32,000 students attend each year.

Those enrolled in UB's master of education in literacy education studies complete 30 credits. Required courses include literacy and technology, classroom literacy assessment/instruction, and childhood literary materials. Available on campus and online, this non-certification degree prepares graduates for careers as adult literacy coaches and private school educators.

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. UB requires submission of unofficial transcripts, a statement of education and career goals, and contact information for two references.

9

University of West Florida

Pensacola, FL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 43%

The University of West Florida is a public institution based in Pensacola, with an annual enrollment of approximately 12,500. Twenty-nine percent of UWF students enroll exclusively online, pursuing six undergraduate and 19 graduate programs. Among these flexible degrees is a master's in reading education.

Based on the standards of the International Reading Association, the 36-credit curriculum ties science-based reading research to practical classroom applications. Required courses include classroom reading assessments, differentiating instruction, and research and trends in reading. Students design and complete a scholarly project as their capstone.

Program applicants must hold or be currently seeking teaching licensure, earn a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA, and submit GRE or MAT scores, unless eligible for a waiver. ESOL proficiency is also required.

10

University of San Diego

San Diego, CA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 80%

The University of San Diego is a private, Roman Catholic institution with more than 9,000 students from 85 countries and all 50 states. The university offers 43 bachelor's degrees, 34 master's degrees, and four doctoral degrees. A selection of online programs are also available, designed to serve working professionals.

USD's master of education in literacy and digital learning supports the development of evidence-based best practices while responding to Common Core State Standards. Students can complete the 30-credit curriculum in five semesters, with coursework in teaching digital writers, education research methodology, and social justice and educational equity.

USD considers applications on a rolling basis. Prospective students should have a bachelor's degree with a minimum 2.75 GPA. Two years of prior teaching experience, a personal phone interview, and supplemental materials are required.

What Can I Expect From an Online Master's in Reading and Literacy Program?

The M.Ed. offers practical, teaching-focused training, while the MA and MS offer well-rounded, flexible training.

Most master's in reading and literacy programs require 30-40 credits and take two years to complete. However, learners often encounter a variety of degree types in this discipline, including the MA, MS, and M.Ed. The M.Ed. offers practical, teaching-focused training, while the MA and MS offer well-rounded, flexible training.

Many M.Ed. programs feature practicum and internship requirements to prepare graduates for teaching licensure. MA and MS programs often feature a thesis requirement. MA programs emphasize the humanities, while MS programs focus more on the sciences.

Prospective teachers pursuing a master's in reading and literacy often possess patience, compassion, and interpersonal skills. They need to apply resourcefulness and problem-solving to help their students overcome diverse learning challenges.

Many master's programs in this discipline give students a choice of concentrations, such as special education, adult education, or curriculum design. Concentrations help learners prepare for a particular career path based on their unique interests and goals. Some employers may even prefer graduates with education in a specific concentration.

Admission Requirements for Online Master's in Reading and Literacy Programs

Applicants typically need a bachelor's degree, often in a related discipline such as English or education. Competitive programs may require candidates to meet a minimum GPA requirement. Prospective students may also need a state-specific teaching license.

Additional requirements often include standardized test scores, writing samples, and a research proposal or statement of purpose. Some programs require applicants to complete an interview as well. Our graduate admissions guide can provide more information.

Still Looking for the Right Fit? Discover Similar Programs.

What Courses Will I Take in an Online Master's in Reading and Literacy Program?

Coursework for a master's in reading and literacy varies by program, degree type, and school. To give learners a better idea of what they may encounter, the following list outlines some of the most common courses.

Elementary Grade Reading

In this course, degree-seekers learn how to help elementary school learners develop literacy skills and good reading habits. Coursework focuses on encouraging young readers, designing practical educational strategies, and assessing student progress. The course may also examine classroom management and leadership strategies.

Literacy Intervention

Literacy intervention courses explore ways of teaching and promoting literacy in classrooms at various levels. This course often focuses on specific ages or types of literature. Degree-seekers learn how to encourage readers to think critically about their reading material, helping to build foundational skills in young students.

Leading Reading Programs

This course focuses on classroom management skills. Learners study methods for developing effective reading programs at various levels, creating dynamic assessment strategies, and ensuring students get the appropriate levels of support.

Approaches to Adult Learning

This course teaches students how to design and manage adult learning programs. Coursework covers the major adult learning theories, leading assessment methods, and motivation strategies. Additional topics include classroom management, adult behavioral and cognitive theories, and creative instructional methods.

Comprehension Strategies

This course teaches students how to develop effective learning and understanding techniques in readers. Learners examine the leading strategies for building inquisitiveness and interest in readers, developing observation skills, and strengthening vocabulary skills in students of different ages.

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What Can I Do With an Online Master's in Reading and Literacy Degree?

After finishing a master's in reading and literacy, graduates can pursue teaching and education careers. According to the BLS, these careers offer median salaries over $50,000, which is higher than the average for all occupations. They also feature projected growth rates as fast or faster than the national average.

While graduates may face competition in the field, as education is among the most popular master's degrees, large workforces should be able to support this growth. Public schools can always use more teachers.

Learn more about teaching careers here.

Elementary School Teacher

Elementary school teachers help students build basic skills in reading and mathematics. They design lesson plans, manage students individually and collectively, and encourage learners to overcome challenges.

High School Teacher

High school teachers often specialize in a single discipline, teaching high school students and preparing them for postsecondary study, vocational training, or a career. Prospective teachers with a master's in reading and literacy typically teach English courses.

Special Education Teacher

Special education teachers educate students with various disabilities and disorders. They develop inclusive lesson plans, individualized education plans, and effective assessment strategies for specific students.

Adult Literacy Teacher

Adult literacy teachers help adult learners build basic skills in English communication. They help their students reach a level that allows them to meet their unique goals, such as finding employment or completing a high school equivalency.

Instructional Coordinator

Instructional coordinators develop and manage curricula for various schools and organizations. They assess the needs of the student body and the goals of the institution, then design the most appropriate lesson plans to satisfy those ends.

Reading and Literacy Not for You? Check Out These Related Careers.

Frequently Asked Questions About Master's in Reading and Literacy Programs

Is a master’s in reading and literacy worth it?

Each student must determine the value of a master's in reading and literacy, but the degree can help graduates qualify for many teaching positions. While a bachelor's degree may suffice for some careers, a master's degree gives job candidates a competitive advantage and can lead to management positions like instructional coordinator.

What can I do with a master’s in reading and literacy?

Graduates can pursue various teaching positions. To qualify, candidates usually need to complete teaching licensure in the state where they wish to teach. Graduates can also apply to Ph.D. programs in the field.

How many reading and literacy majors get jobs?

Education graduates enter a field with some of the lowest unemployment rates among any of the major professions. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, recent graduates in elementary, secondary, special, and miscellaneous education all experienced unemployment rates under 2%.

How much money can I make with a master’s in reading and literacy?

Salary potential depends on the employer, location, and experience levels. According to the BLS, education and training professionals earn a median annual salary of $50,790.

What are the highest paying jobs with a master’s in reading and literacy?

The most lucrative jobs in education typically require a combination of education and experience. Instructional coordinators earn a median annual salary of $66,290.