Reading Specialist Certification

Become a Literacy Coach and Reading Specialist

Advance your career and earn graduate credits via online courses to meet your professional development goals as a literacy coach or reading specialist.


How much will it cost?

2016-2017 $441 per semester hour graduate credit  ($1,323 per course)
Tuition is the same for Wisconsin residents, out-of-state and international students.
eTextbooks are included in the tuition fee.
Tuition Due Dates

Reading Specialist Courses

Totally online. No travel to campus is required. No weekend, summer or night classes.
If you are teaching full-time, enrolling in one course per term is the recommendation of the reading faculty. Course assignments require posting responses on the discussion board, reading and replying to other participants' discussion postings, readings, assignments, and field experiences.

RDGED 720 Leading and Directing the Reading Program

RDGED 721 Supporting Literacy Instruction

RDGED 722  Reading Specialist Field Experience

(Prerequisites: completion of RDGED 720 and RDGED 721 and instructor approval)

Will the reading specialist course credits apply to a Master's degree?

If you have not completed a Master's degree, you may combine two credits from the reading teacher certification with the reading specialist courses (9 credits) to fulfill the electives requirement in our online Master of Science in Education graduate degree.

View the degree program plan.
If you have completed a Master's degree, simply enroll in the three courses for the reading specialist certification (Wisconsin #17).


How do I enroll?

Register Online
There is no fee to register for a class.

When is the registration deadline?

Registration is available until each session is filled or five days before the course begins.

What other literacy courses are offered online?

RDGED 701 Developmental Reading K-12

RDGED 702 Reading in the Content Areas K-12

RDGED 703 Children's Literature in the Reading Program

RDGED 704 Young Adult Literature in the Reading Program

RDGED 706 Assessment & Evaluation of Reading and Language Development

RDGED 705 Instructional Techniques For Assisting Students with Reading Difficulties

RDGED 707 Practicum in Reading Difficulties (requires completion of prerequisites including instructor approval)

Registration Options

Option A - Professional Development

Register Online

No application is required for educators who enroll in courses for:

  • professional development to enhance reading specialist/literacy coaching skills
  • renewal of a teaching license
  • transfer credits to another university
  • transfer credits to another state (outside of Wisconsin) for add-on license
    ***If you live in another state (not Wisconsin) contact the state department of public education/instruction to see if courses meet the reading specialist requirements in your state.

Option B - Reading Specialist Certification in Wisconsin

Download the
Reading Specialist Certification Program Application Form
Email the application to Emily Hines at

  1. Reading teacher license (Wisconsin 316)
  2. A Master's degree
  3. Three years of successful full-time K-12 classroom teaching experience

    The three years of teaching experience do not have to be in Wisconsin. A long-term substitute teaching assignment, in Wisconsin or out-of-state for the minimum time of an entire semester, may count towards the total number of years in teaching experience for the reading specialist license.Experience as a reading teacher (i.e. Title I, intervention, etc) with an emergency license, also counts towards the three years of experience required for the reading specialist license (WI#17).
If you have questions about your current Wisconsin teaching license, obtaining a Wisconsin reading teaching license, or the verification of your teaching experience, please contact the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction at (608) 266-0452 or (608) 266-2386.

Option C - Reading Specialist Certification with Master of Science in Education Degree

Complete the application for the Master of Science in Education and apply the reading specialist certification courses as electives in your degree program.

  1. Bachelors degree
  2. Wisconsin reading teacher (316) license
  3. Three years of successful K-12 full-time classroom teaching experience

    The three years of teaching experience do not have to be in Wisconsin. A long-term substitute teaching assignment, in Wisconsin or out-of-state for the minimum time of an entire semester, may count towards the total number of years in teaching experience for the reading specialist license (WI #17).
  4. Application to the Master of Science in Education program at UW-Stout. (The reading specialist credits apply as elective credits in the master's program.)

Admission Requirements

Eligibility is determined by reviewing:
  1. Evidence of your professional development goals and commitment to working with students with reading needs (written statement of goals)
  2. Evidence of your professional development self-analysis and reflection (written statement of goals)
  3. Goals relating to seeking reading specialist certification (written statement of goals)
  4. Evidence of your current reading teacher license 
  5. Evidence of 3.0 GPA or higher in past reading coursework (transcript)

Do I need to apply for admission to the university's graduate program?

No, you do not need to apply for graduate admission to the university unless you are beginning the Masters of Science in Education degree program at University of Wisconsin-Stout.

If I live outside of the state of Wisconsin, will the reading certification apply in my state?

If you are considering an online academic program that leads to a professional license, it is highly recommended you contact the appropriate licensing agency where you plan to receive instruction before beginning your academic program. The State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (SARA) does not provide reciprocity for state professional licensing requirements. Academic programs and individual graduates must meet standards set by your state’s licensure requirements in order for a graduate to be eligible for a license. The State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (SARA) provision for this requirement can be found on pg. 10 herein:

Contact your state's accrediting agency, State Board of Education or other certifying agency and obtain a statement regarding the coursework requirements in your state. They will assist you in verifying the applicability of this reading specialist certification to your state's requirements. Each state has different certification requirements.

Reading Specialist Jobs

A reading specialist license is required for any person who directs early childhood through adolescence reading programs or works with reading teachers, classroom teachers, administrators, and others as a resource teacher in reading or literacy coach.
What are the job responsibilities of a reading specialist?
Per s.118.015(3), Wis. Stats., a reading specialist shall: develop and implement a reading curriculum in grades kindergarten to 12, act as a resource person to classroom teachers to implement the reading curriculum, work with administrators to support and implement the reading curriculum, conduct an annual evaluation of the reading curriculum, and coordinate the reading curriculum with other reading programs and other support services within the school district.


  • Expert facilitation by experienced K-12 reading specialists
  • Small, highly interactive classes
  • Professional quality projects for an e-portfolio to aid in job searches
  • Career mentoring
  • Highly competitive tuition
  • Credits may also apply as electives in the Master of Science in Education graduate degree
  • No travel to campus is required
  • Field-based experiences in your school district
  • Individual courses may be taken to meet professional development goals or to renew a teaching license or to transfer credit to another state's licensure program
  • Accreditation

For More Information

Request Information Online 
Phone: 715-642-0209
School of Education
Online Professional Development
University of Wisconsin - Stout
Menomonie, WI 54751
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