In the most competitive job markets, landing and keeping a rewarding position are dependent on both specialized skills and the ability to communicate. The most qualified candidates have effective reading, writing and speaking skills. Earning a master’s degree in literacy can prepare you for a diverse array of professional opportunities, depending on your personal interests and goals.
Reading Specialist: The most common field for those who hold graduate-level degrees in literacy is that of reading specialist or literacy interventionist. For grades K-12, reading specialists support teachers in the classroom, work one on one and in small groups with students who need extra reading support and collaborate with teachers and administrators to best serve their unique student populations.
Reading specialists also find work in afterschool programs, private instructional outfits, and clinical settings at hospitals and community centers. The responsibilities in each position will depend on the organizational focus and the demographic served.
Adult Education: According to the National Center for Education Statistics, one in five adults do not have the literacy skills needed to compare and contrast information, paraphrase or make low-level inferences. For this reason, many master’s in literacy graduates choose to specialize in adult literacy, in which they provide instruction on reading, writing, speaking skills, and workplace communication skills. Adult literacy specialists work in programs that promote general adult literacy, social assistance organizations, corporate training centers and higher education institutions.
The Higher Education Recruitment Consortium is an excellent resource for finding adult literacy jobs in higher education.
Curriculum Development & Research: Positions in this field are ideal for those more interested in designing curriculum than implementing it. A master’s degree in literacy will prepare you to work alongside teachers and administrators, creating literacy-focused assessments, materials and methods for their students. Curriculum specialists may work with one or several schools or even an entire district. Responsibilities might include selecting textbooks, training teachers or monitoring and addressing test scores. Many of the positions in this field offer opportunities to conduct research and make discoveries in the areas of education, literacy and assessment.
Writing, Editing and Publishing: The coursework in a high-quality master’s degree program in literacy provides the levels of expertise textbook producers and field publications need. Literacy specialists are qualified to work as editors, content specialists and writers for educational publications such as textbooks, magazines, newspapers, online publications and other forms of literature. Literacy educators who prefer freelance work can write and consult on a range of topics, from literacy research and curriculum to writing practices and career preparation.
Policy Advocacy: Literacy advocates around the world promote best practices of teaching methods, high-quality curricula selection and sound education theories to meet the needs of diverse populations. If you are passionate about promoting literacy, consider working with advocacy groups such as the National Coalition for Literacy and ProLiteracy to identify and formulate solutions at the policy level.