Five Careers for Teachers with Literacy Specializations

According to 2017 data collected by the National Center for Education Statistics, 21% of U.S. adults perform at the lowest literacy levels.

Professionals with a Master of Science in Education (M.Ed.) – Teacher Education – Curriculum & Instruction – Literacy degree are trained to support increased literacy by applying major theories, current research, and practical strategies to support much-needed literacy education. Due to their expertise, those with this degree are highly sought after for a wide variety of specialized positions.

Jobs in this realm often pay significantly more than non-specialized teaching positions, although teachers with this degree are also often offered wage increases in non-specialized teaching positions. According to the Center for American Progress, a master’s degree in education can mean a pay raise of between $5,000 and $10,000 annually.

Aside from a wage increase, those with a literacy-focused M.Ed. possess the skills and knowledge needed to work in a variety of other types of positions, ranging from teaching to curricular development, writing, and policy development.

P-12 Teaching

Depending on what populations they are interested in teaching, literacy specialists have a wide variety of different job options. For example, those interested in special education and remedial reading can work at almost any academic level when they specialize in teaching literacy to students with special language and reading-related learning disabilities.

Those interested in early childhood, elementary, or secondary education can find careers as English teachers or ESL teachers. They can also become resource teachers — who specialize in teaching literacy and language to students in conjunction with classroom teachers and provide one-on-one or small-group instruction to students who need special attention.

Curricular Development

Educators who specialize in literacy are also prepared to move into leadership roles within the classroom and beyond. Advanced degrees in curriculum, instruction and literacy prepare them with the training and expertise to consult on instructional support and program development.

In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) ranks instruction coordinator as the second-highest earning position in the category of “Education, Training, and Literacy.” Educators with this degree can also become literacy coaches or curriculum specialists who work with classroom teachers, schools, and districts to guide, devise, and assess language and literacy instruction.

Adult Literacy Education

Those who specialize in adult literacy education can become adult literacy teachers or English as a Second Language (ESL) educators. Adult literacy teachers provide instruction on basic English reading, writing, and speaking skills to adult students. Given the high levels of illiteracy in America, these educators are crucial for supporting adults who have not been provided with the tools they need to excel professionally and personally. Adult literacy teachers might work in adult-focused education programs and schools, social assistance organizations, or organizations fostering workplace skills.

Literacy Material Creation and Dissemination

Somebody must create and distribute curricular materials used in classrooms to improve literacy skills. Writers and educators create textbooks, worksheets, and handouts that drive curriculum.

Such work requires the expertise in literacy and language that an online M.Ed. – Teacher Education – Curriculum & Instruction – Literacy program can provide. Professionals with this degree can also become school librarians, utilizing their understandings of literacy research and strategy to select materials, create reading programs, and ensure access to projects and services targeting literacy improvement. They can also train librarians in literacy initiatives and strategies with organizations like Ohio Ready to Read.

Policy Development & Advocacy

Advocacy groups and representatives are needed to promote and represent the interests of all sorts of groups of students, parents, and teachers and improve literacy rates on a large scale. Educators with literacy specializations have the unique expertise these groups need to identify literacy gaps, formulate solutions, and advocate for policy changes. Graduates of a literacy specialization program might find careers working as members of district or literacy initiative councils, grant advisors, or nonprofit organizational representatives.

Learn more about Youngstown State University’s online Master of Science in Education – Teacher Education – Curriculum & Instruction – Literacy program.


Center for American Progress: State-by-State Analysis of Teacher Compensation for Master’s Degrees

National Center for Education Statistics: Adult Literacy in United States

Ohio Ready to Read

Teachnology: What is a Resource Teacher?

Texas Workforce Commission: Adult Education

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Instructional Coordinators

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