Earning a master's degree in education allows teachers and education professionals to take their career to the next level. There are a wide array of master's in education degrees and programs to choose from, and each comes with its own specialization. If you're interested in literacy education and outreach, literacy administration, or related research and advocacy, a master's in reading might be right for you.
One type of literacy-focused degree is the Master of Science in Education in Reading, which, like most education-centered master's degrees, is geared toward experienced teachers. Completing your MSE in Reading online allows you to continue teaching as you work toward your graduate degree. The online format allows you to set your own pace and complete coursework on your schedule.
If you're curious about the MSE in Reading, or you want to know more about how an online graduate degree works, the links below will answer your questions.
What Is an MSE in Reading?
An MSE in Reading, otherwise known as a Master of Science in Education in Reading, is a graduate degree designed for educators focused on literacy leadership. The degree centers on advanced pedagogical approaches, strategies, and practical skills for reading, writing and literacy instruction. This includes diagnostic assessments, methods for intervention and methods for remediation. A master's in reading program prepares educators for their reading specialist certification exam. MSE in Reading graduates are also eligible for their Dyslexia Endorsement.
What Will I Learn in a Master's in Reading Program?
A master's degree that focuses on reading will give you the skills to work on literacy initiatives, either in the classroom or in an administrative role. You will learn pedagogical theory and practice, principles of literacy cognition and development, and literacy education strategies for diverse learners.
In undergraduate classes, we mostly learn the 'what' and 'how' of education… In graduate classes, we learn the 'why.' To truly make a difference in the field, we need to know why one would teach in specific ways. Graduate classes can give you the why.
What Will I Study as I Work Toward My Degree?
Courses for a master's in reading typically prepare you for the reading specialist certification exam. Subjects range from the theory and practice of teaching reading to the interpretation of statistical data.
The MSE in Reading online program at Arkansas State University consists of 10, three-credit courses, with clinical experience in the correction of reading difficulties built into your online coursework. All 10 courses are designed around the reading specialist certification exam and Dyslexia Endorsement. Classes cover a wide array of subjects:
- Theory and Practice in Teaching Reading: Students in this course will learn about the reading process, traditional reading presentations, and strategies for instructional decision making.
- Perspectives on Professionalism in Education: This course covers communication with diverse cultures and backgrounds, and it supplies graduate students with the skills they need to maintain their professional careers.
- The National Writing Project Model, Processes of Writing: This course, which draws on the National Writing Project's workshop model, explores writing instruction process and theory for both personal and professional writing.
- Emergent Literacy, Birth through Primary Years: Graduate students will learn state and national standards for literacy and writing in compliance with those standards. Above all, students in this course will gain an understanding of the development of literacy skills from birth to primary school.
- Reading Practicum I, Diagnosis and Intervention: This course presents clinical practices for the assessment of reading, as well as clinical practices for intervention.
- Adolescent Literacy: In addition to the social and cognitive processes of adolescent reading and writing development, graduate students will engage in a practicum experience with an adolescent focused on digital and disciplinary literacy.
- Principles of Literacy Cognition: This course covers reading disorders, reading instruction methodology and research on literacy cognition.
- Literacy for Diverse Learners: This course will address literacy approaches for special needs students and diverse student cultures. Instruction also covers responsive cultural pedagogies and approaches to multicultural education.
- Introduction to Statistics and Research: This course prepares graduate students to properly conduct research. It also teaches the interpretation and statistical treatment of research findings.
- Reading Practicum II, Leadership and Literacy: Graduate students in this course will learn how to apply literacy theory and practice in clinical, educational and administrative settings. This course also addresses the application of assessment data, allowing for reading revision and improvement from a policy-wide perspective.
I always tell my graduate students that the secret to effective graduate coursework (both on the teaching end of it, as well as the student side) is to embrace it as both a process and a product… Embrace the complexity, strive to connect as many units of thinking in as many ways as you can, and push yourself to reflect and synthesize.
What Are the Admissions Requirements for an Online Master's in Reading?
Because the MSE is a master's degree, all applicants must have a bachelor's degree, and most admissions boards require a minimum undergraduate grade point average (GPA). Some programs may require professional classroom experience and Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores. International students or applicants with a bachelor's degree from a university outside of the U.S. might have to provide Test of English as a Foreign Language Internet-Based Test (TOEFL iBT) scores. The GRE is a common standardized test administered to prospective graduate students (akin to the SAT for prospective undergraduates), while the TOEFL iBT assesses English-language abilities in writing, speaking, listening and reading.
A-State's Master of Science in Education in Reading online program does not require GRE or TOEFL scores, but it does require a valid teaching certificate, and a minimum cumulative undergraduate GPA of 2.75 (or 3.00 on the last 60 hours).
If your GPA falls below this minimum, you may be eligible for conditional admission. Graduate students accepted into the program on conditional admission must earn a B (or better) upon completion of their first two classes at A-State. Conditional admission to A-State's MSE in Reading also requires a valid teaching certificate.
Learn more about our MSE in REading online program
Choosing Your Graduate Degree in Education
There are multiple graduate degrees available to educators and teachers. It's important to know your options so you can choose the program that's right for you. Read on for a quick primer on master's degrees in education and teaching.
What Is the Difference Between an MSE and an MIT?
An MSE is meant for experienced educators, but a Master's in Teaching (MIT) is meant for graduate students who are new to teaching. The MIT offers an opportunity for career transition, and MIT candidates likely hold a bachelor's degree in a field unrelated to education.
What Is the Difference Between an MSE and an M.Ed.?
An MSE and a Master of Education (M.Ed.) are fairly similar. Both degrees are intended for experienced educators interested in leadership or administrative roles. Both address pedagogical theory and instructional strategy. Yet, where an MSE has a stronger focus on skills assessment and research analysis, an M.Ed. tends toward curriculum development. Ultimately, the choice between the MSE and M.Ed. comes down to concentration. An MSE in Reading and M.Ed. in Literacy Studies may be similar, but an MSE in Reading and an M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction aren't comparable.
Why Should I Consider an MSE in Reading?
If you're an educator who is passionate about reading, writing and civic engagement, or if you're interested in educational outreach that impacts learners for a lifetime, an MSE in Reading is probably right for you. This is especially true if you want to be a certified reading specialist.
Spotlight on Literacy Education
Literacy directly impacts students' education, career, and civic engagement. It is the foundational element for lifelong success. A long-term study by the Annie E. Casey Foundation reported that students who struggled with reading by the end of their third grade year, when compared to their reading-proficient peers, were four times more likely to drop out of high school.
Most educators already know that literacy is key to the development of critical thinking, but this is especially true when it comes to media literacy. The latter, according to the Center for Media Literacy, teaches students how to apply critical thinking across texts, regardless of subject matter. The International Literacy Association, citing the ubiquity of web-based communication, found that literacy is an essential means of civic engagement for adolescents, and the National Council of Teachers of English reported that literacy plays an essential role in adolescent learners' identity development. In other words, literacy is much more than reading and writing. Literacy is social practice.
How Do I Become a Reading Specialist?
Many MSE in Reading graduates go on to become reading specialists. Reading specialists must possess a teaching certificate, teaching experience and a master's degree. They must also have completed a supervised reading practicum and passed their reading specialist certification exam. The curriculum of the MSE in Reading online program at A-State prepares degree candidates for their certification, and it fulfills the reading practicum requirement.
Reading specialists may work directly with K-12 students, or they may set literacy policies on an administrative level as the director of a reading program. In either role, reading specialists might work on literacy outreach with parents as part of a holistic approach to student learning.
Are There Other Jobs Available for Graduates of an MSE in Reading Program?
Yes. Graduates with reading specialist certification can work as curriculum specialists, reading coaches, or instructional coordinators.
MSE in Reading graduates, with or without certification, can also go on to become:
- Literacy coaches
- Adult literacy teachers
- Adjunct college instructors
- Special education teachers
- School counselors
- Reading textbook consultants
Graduates may also work for literacy organizations and nonprofits. Those interested in literacy research can continue on to a doctoral program.
What Is the Average Salary of an MSE in Reading Graduate?
Because there are several career paths available to MSE in Reading graduates, incomes vary. Data for the full year of 2018 from Burning Glass Technologies' Labor Insight shows the average salary for a master's degree-prepared reading teacher is $58,000. The same data shows the average salary for a master's-prepared adult literacy instructor slightly lower at $54,000.
The following table shows average salary by job title; however, it does not account for educational attainment:
|Job Title||Average Salary||Source|
|Instructional Support Teachers||$45,082||Glassdoor.com|
|Adult Literacy Teacher||$48,483||Glassdoor.com|
|Special Education Teacher||$52,727||Glassdoor.com|
|Instructional Coordinator||$63,750||Bureau of Labor Statistics|
Where Are MSE Students at A-State From?
In 2018 there were 1,458 students enrolled in A-State's MSE in Reading online program. Degree candidates are spread across 29 states, from Pennsylvania to California. The largest concentration of online students are in these three states:
To check to see if residents of your state are permitted to enroll in an Arkansas State online program, check the program map.
How Do Average Salaries Break Down by State?
If you plan — like many MSE in Reading Online candidates at A-State — to work in Arkansas, Missouri or Mississippi, you can expect these average salaries by state (March 2019 ZipRecruiter):
|Special Education Teacher (All Grades)||$41,547||$41,495||$48,000|
What Is the Career Outlook for Job Seekers With a Master's Degree in Reading?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not report job outlooks for reading specialists, but they do report data for instructional coordinators. Expected job growth for instructional coordinators is 11 percent between 2016 and 2026, with more than 17,000 new positions forecast during this period.
Job outlooks for special education teachers and school counselors are also bright. An 8 percent rate of growth is expected for special education teachers, with more than 33,000 new positions to open between 2016 and 2026. For school counselors, the BLS predicts a 13 percent increase between 2016 and 2026, resulting in 36,700 jobs created.
No matter which path you choose, an MSE in Reading can advance your career in education with several job options and increased earning power. Even if you plan on staying in the classroom, teachers with master's degrees benefit from a salary bump up to $10,000.
Spotlight on Professional Development
The National Writing Project (NWP) is a professional development network designed to help educators teach writing to students as they develop identities as writers themselves. A two-year study conducted by SRI International, an independent nonprofit research center, found that both teachers' instructional practices and student outcomes improved as a result of NWP programming.
The Arkansas Delta Writing Project at A-State is one of several NWP sites operating across the United States. MSE Candidates read NWP resources and learn to improve educational outcomes by modeling writing processes, using mentor texts, and applying effective formative assessment. Ultimately, MSE candidates learn to improve educational outcomes by learning how to serve as writing advisors to their students.
Is an MSE in Reading Worth It?
For many teachers, yes. Given the pay bump that usually comes with a master's degree, an MSE in Reading should be a good investment no matter where you are in your career.
If you're a teacher who plans to work as a reading specialist, instructional coordinator or literacy coach, a master's in reading is probably a good investment. Average salaries for these positions range from $50,655 to $63,750, while average salaries for teachers fall between $44,493 and $46,917 (depending on grade level; PayScale, February, 2019). That's a salary increase of more than $6,000 on the low end, and more than $16,000 on the high end.
Tuition expenses will also determine whether or not your MSE in Reading is worth it. If the cost of tuition is less than $16,000, your MSE in Reading will pay for itself in one to three years.
In addition to a potential salary increase, master's-prepared teachers and specialists receive the benefit of knowing that they're making a significant impact in their students' lives. Literacy and reading are key factors in student success – in the classroom and beyond. Pursuing advanced education can be meaningful and valuable beyond the pay.
Learn more about our MSE in REading online program
Is Tuition for an Online MSE in Reading Expensive?
The cost of online education can vary widely. Public universities are typically less expensive than private universities, but some public universities charge more for out-of-state students, even online. In fact, the online MS in Reading at SUNY Albany costs $13,860 for in-state residents. The same degree costs $16,650 for out-of-state students.
It's also important to watch out for tuition fees based on credit hours. While some online programs list the total cost of tuition, others charge by the credit hour. In order to accurately assess expenses, you'll need to determine how many credit hours are required by each program. The University of Tennessee – Martin charges $572 per credit hour for online graduate courses, and their online MSE in Literacy Education requires 30 credit hours to graduate. That means the total tuition is $17,160, not including any additional fees. The online MSE in Reading at the University of Kansas costs $585 per credit hour, with a total of 33 credit hours required for graduation. Thus, the total tuition is $19,305.
The online MSEd in Literacy at Missouri State lists a flat tuition of $11,600, but A-State's online MSE in Reading remains the more economical choice at $331 per credit hour. A-State's MSE in reading requires 30 credit hours for graduation, or $9,930 overall.
Tuition Comparison for Online Master's in Education
|University of Missouri||$13,001|
|SUNY Albany (in-state)||$13,860|
|SUNY Albany (out-of-state)||$16,650|
|University of Tennessee – Martin||$17,160|
|University of Kansas||$19,305|
Is There a Difference Between On-Campus Tuition and Online Tuition?
It depends. On-campus programs are often more expensive. That's because on-campus tuition includes facility fees that cover everything from security and maintenance to utilities and landscaping. Charges for on-campus degrees are even more expensive for out-of-state students. According to U.S. News & World Report, out-of-state tuition at public universities was at least $12,000 more when compared to in-state tuition during the 2017-2018 academic year. Online degrees don't typically come with these fees, and many online programs charge the same rate for in-state and out-of-state students.
Tuition for the online MSE in Reading at A-State is the same for every student, regardless of location, and A-State maintains this policy for all online degrees. Unlike many on-campus programs, associated fees for the online MSE in Reading are already included in the total tuition.
Are Graduate Tuition and Textbooks Tax Deductible?
Most students are eligible for tax deductions and/or tax credits. To learn more about your eligibility, visit the Tax Benefits for Education Information Center on the IRS website. You can also find a detailed list of education-based costs, and their eligibility for credits or deductions, at Qualified Education Expenses.
Is Financial Aid Available for an Online Graduate Degree?
As long as your university is accredited, financial aid for online degrees is the same as financial aid for on-campus degrees. Start by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) on the Federal Student Aid website.
Some education-based degrees are additionally eligible for dedicated financial aid. One funding option is the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) program, which is backed by the U.S. Department of Education. This grant provides up to $3,772 per year toward your education degree, provided you sign a service agreement for certain teaching service obligations for four academic years. Teachers who agree to teach for five years in a federally designated low-income school may be eligible for the Teacher Loan Forgiveness program as well. The program erases between $5,000 and $17,500 of student loan debt.
Yet another option is the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, which applies to government and nonprofit employees. Public Service Loan Forgiveness cancels your remaining student loan balance after 120 on-time payments are complete.
Aside from student loans and dedicated funding for teachers, grants and scholarships are a great source of financial aid. That's because, unlike loans, these options don't need to be paid back. In fact, every student at A-State is eligible to apply for scholarships and grants. Some scholarships are offered directly by the university, while other funding can come from A-State's relationship with businesses or charitable organizations. For more information on A-State's grant and scholarship options, head to their Financial Aid & Scholarships website.
Can I Apply Military Tuition Assistance or the GI Bill Toward my Online MSE in Reading?
Whether you're eligible for the Montgomery GI Bill or the Post-9/11 GI Bill, most military funding for education applies to online degrees from accredited universities and programs. If you're interested in applying military benefits to your online education, it's possible to complete your degree while you (or your spouse) are on active duty. Online degree programs include flexible start dates, and they allow you to work at your own pace, which means you can progress toward your degree between — or even during — deployments. Unlike on-campus programs, you can also temporarily pause your degree without penalty.
Arkansas State University is approved for veterans and veterans' beneficiaries funding under the Montgomery GI Bill, Tuition Reimbursement Program, and the Post 9/11 GI Bill, which includes Military Spouse Tuition Assistance. A-State's online courses are accessible 24/7, so you can "attend" lectures and complete assignments according to your schedule. For more information, check out A-State Online for Military or call a military enrollment specialist at 1-800-342-9647.
How Long Does It Take to Earn a Master's in Reading?
It typically takes two years of full-time study to complete an on-campus master's degree in education. An online program, however, can take less time even with part-time study.
The MSE in Reading online program at A-State consists of 10, three-credit courses, or 30 hours of coursework overall. Candidates can complete the program in as little as one year. Courses take five to seven weeks to complete, and A-State maintains a flexible admissions schedule with up to six convenient start dates each year.
Can I Earn My Online MSE in Reading While Working Full-Time?
Yes. Most online graduate students are able to work full-time while completing their degree. It's one of the most significant benefits of online study.
No matter which program you choose, time management is the best way to balance your career and education; determining course workloads is key to this strategy. The U.S. Department of Education defines a credit hour as representative of two hours of coursework completed (outside of class) each week. Thus, a three-credit course requires around six hours of dedicated time per week. However, you may need more or less time depending on your method of study or familiarity with the subject.
Can I Transfer My Credits From Another Program?
Most graduate schools, on-campus or online, will accommodate a limited number of transfer credits. Criteria for acceptable transfers vary across universities, but many require the originating university to be accredited.
A-State will accept up to nine graduate hours for transfer credit, but coursework must be no more than six years old by your graduation date. All transfers must be approved by the program director as well. To begin the transfer approval process, fill out the Graduate Transfer Credit Evaluation Form.
Professor Spotlight: Dr. Latoshia Woods
Dr. Latoshia Woods earned her BSE and MSE in Reading at A-State, and now she's an assistant professor and program coordinator for her alma mater's online MSE in Reading. "I could work in this field the rest of my life, and there would still be more work to do," said Dr. Woods. "I have no doubt that I've chosen a rewarding field."
Dr. Woods teaches several online courses, including Emergent Literacy and Principles of Literacy Cognition. "Sometimes online feels even more personal than the classroom," she said, "because you can interact with your professor directly, ask questions you might not ask in a group setting. We think you'll feel very supported online."
Is an Online MSE Degree the Same as an On-Campus Degree?
At many universities, on-campus faculty and online faculty are one and the same. That means the quality of instruction is the same too.
Every professor leading an online course at A-State also teaches on campus. There's no discernible difference between A-State's online MSE in Reading and an on-campus MSE in Reading. Both lead to the same diploma.
Is the Online MSE in Reading Program Accredited?
Whichever graduate program you choose, it's important to confirm that your university and its curriculum are accredited. Accreditation is necessary for federal financial aid and military benefits, and it's usually required for transferring credits as well. If you're planning to continue on to your doctorate, or you just want to keep the option open, most universities require a degree from an accredited program. If you plan to advance your teaching career, employers favor job candidates with degrees from accredited schools. Above all, accreditation ensures that your degree program meets academic and professional standards.
When considering a master's degree in education, your chosen university should be accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). A-State is CAEP accredited, and its online MSE in Reading curriculum additionally adheres to International Literacy Association Standards 2010.
Will I Need a Computer or Special Software?
Almost every online degree program requires a computer and high-speed internet connection, but the basic software that comes with your computer should be all you need. In some cases, you may be able to access and view coursework from your smartphone or tablet. Many universities also use Blackboard Learn, an online service that allows students and professors to share coursework, upload assignments, or comment on reading materials. Many on-campus classes use Blackboard as well.
A-State's online MSE in Reading also relies on LiveText, a portfolio manager that's specifically designed for educators. LiveText keeps you up to date on state and federal standards for teacher education, includes tools for creating curriculum and lesson plans, and can be shared with potential employers in portfolio form. LiveText is a subscription service, and the $139 flat fee covers a five-year subscription, so you can access and update portfolios long after graduation.
If you run into any issues, A-State's tech support is available 24/7 via phone or email: 866-881-3168 or [email protected]. Assistance for Blackboard can be reached at 870-972-2012 or through [email protected], and technical support for LiveText is available by phone at 866-548-3839.
How Do Online MSE Courses Work?
After logging into your first course, you'll find a syllabus, course calendar, assignments, due dates and an overview of class policies. Basically, all the materials you need to succeed will be posted. You'll have a clear overview of lessons and supporting exercises, and you'll be able to plan ahead for assignments.
As the course continues, you'll move through lesson modules, lectures, readings and assignments. You'll also view instructional videos, upload assignments and join class discussions through online forums. It's also a good idea to log in everyday to make sure you don't miss anything.
Can Online Students Access the University Library?
Most universities with online programs allow students to access the library via the internet, which is especially valuable when searching research databases that aren't typically available at public libraries.
Online students at A-State have 24/7 access to the library and library services. In addition to research database gateways, students can get research assistance via chat under the "Ask a Librarian" dialogue box. Interlibrary loan, which provides books and articles from outside the university library, is also available to A-State's online students.
How Do I Communicate With My Professors?
On-campus students are able to chat with professors after class or during their office hours, but online communication is more flexible. Your professor may prefer to be reached via text, email or Blackboard. Either way, universities with online programs make sure that online students are given as much opportunity to speak with professors as on-campus students.
Professors at A-State prioritize communication, which means instructors typically return phone calls, texts or emails within 24 hours. Some professors keep virtual office hours, and some are available for video chat meetings.
I frequently check my email on the weekends, and not just check it, but offer feedback or provide responses in a very rapid time... I recognize that students need feedback in order to finish their assignments, and that a lot of their coursework, if they're working full time, they work on it over the weekends.
How Can I Network With My Fellow Students?
Online students often interact through class forums and group projects. Given the flexible, 24/7 nature of online education, you may find yourself communicating with your cohort on a daily basis. On-campus classes typically meet once a week, but online students can meet virtually anytime.
A-State also encourages online students to attend graduation ceremonies on-campus, so you may have a chance to meet your classmates and professors in person.
When Can I Enroll for My MSE in Reading?
Many on-campus graduate programs have one start date a year — usually in the fall only. Online programs are more flexible, allowing for enrollment in the fall, spring and summer.
A-State splits its online MSE in Reading courses across semesters, giving students six start dates to choose from. For specific application deadlines and admission dates, see A-State's online MSE in Reading calendar.
Learn more about our MSE in Reading online program!
International Reading Association: Adolescent Literacy
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