Reading Specialist Program

Teacher reading to class.


Reading Specialist

The Reading Education program is based on the understanding that there are linguistic, cognitive, and affective bases of the reading process; that reading is a constructive process; and that individuals may be on different developmental schedules for achieving literacy. The reading specialist is an advocate for school-wide literacy. The reading specialist has a depth of knowledge about the reading process and working with adult learners as partners. They serve as the catalyst for developing effective reading practices by equipping colleagues to use best practices, materials, and strategies to promote improvement in reading comprehension and the love and value of reading among all students.  The program prepares candidates to become literacy leaders through research-based, best practices.

Master’s Degree (M.Ed.) and Class A Certification 

The certification option within the Master of Education (M.Ed.) is designed to provide candidates training and experience in working with the elements of a successful Reading program in P-12 settings while also providing advanced study in a previous area of certification.

The Reading Specialist option at the Master’s level is an add-on certification to the Elementary or Early Childhood M.Ed. programs. Successful completion of the program leads to the M.Ed. in either Elementary or Early Childhood Education, and qualifies the candidate for the Class “A” Professional Educator Certificate in Reading AND Elementary or Early Childhood Education, provided they already hold a Class “B” Professional Educator Certificate.

Course of Study for Early Childhood M.Ed. with Reading Certification

Course of Study for Elementary M.Ed. with Reading Certification

Class A Certification Only

If a person holds a Master’s degree in education and is currently certified to teach in the state of Alabama, they have the option to apply to earn a Class A certification in reading. Once admitted, candidates must meet the approved program requirements for a reading specialist certification.

Course of Study for Reading Certification

Instructional Specialist (Ed.S.) and Class AA Certification

The Instructional Specialist (Ed.S.) degree is designed to provide candidates with additional training and experience beyond the master’s level.

 Successful completion of the program leads to the Ed.S degree and qualifies the candidate for the Class “AA” Professional Educator Certificate as a Reading Specialist.

Advanced programs are extensions of basic preparation and differ from basic programs not in general purpose but in competence they seek to develop. Note: You must have certification in reading at the A level in order to enter this program.

Course of Study for Instructional Specialist (Ed.S.) and Class AA Certification

Admission Requirements

  1. Master’s degree from a regionally accredited institution with a minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.

    Official transcripts* can be sent by mail or electronically. Instructions can be found under “Help” on the application.

    *USA students applying to a USA graduate program in the College of Education and Professional Studies should complete a transcript request form (PDF) found on the University Registrar's Office website.

    In the Name/Organization field for the transcript recipient write, "USA Graduate School". There is no charge associated with this request. This option applies only to USA transcripts for students applying to USA graduate programs.


  1. A valid master’s-level (Class A) professional educator certificate in the same teaching field in which the Class AA Professional Educator Certificate is sought.


  1. A minimum of 2 years full-time teaching experience. Must be documented on Supplemental Experience Form (PDF) that should be requested from Human Resources in your past/present employing school system.

    Mail Supplemental Experience Form to: 
    University of South Alabama
    College of Education and Professional Studies
    Attn: Jamie Lett - UCOM 3360
    75 S. University Blvd.
    Mobile, AL 36688-0002

  2. Two-page narrative stating applicant’s reasons for pursuing an Educational Specialist Degree (uploaded within application).


To apply - click here to get to the Admissions login page.

Faculty Advisor:     

Ms. Hannah Szatkowski
UCOM 3115
Ph (251) 341-3858