Reading Specialist Certification

The 33-credit Reading Specialist program leads to a Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) certification in Reading K-12.  Students MUST meet with an academic adviser within their first six credits of course work in order to ensure that all program requirements have been met.

CORE COURSES (9 credits)

  • C I 550 - Overview of Contemporary School Curriculum 
    C I 400 - Introduction to Research Literature OR CI 501 - Teaching as Inquiry
  • EDPSY 526 - Psychology of Reading (EDPSY 421 OR ADTED 505 are prerequisites for EDPSY 526)

Complete the following LL ED courses:

  • LL ED 450 - Content Reading
  • LL ED 500 - The Reading and Writing Classroom
  • LL ED 541 - Adolescents and Children’s Literature Related to Ethnic and Social Issues
  • LL ED 545 - Literature and Language Assessment for Instruction (Prerequisite: LLED 500 OR adviser  approval)


  • LL ED 597 - Issues in Teaching Reading and Writing to English Language Learners OR LL ED 544 - Cross-Cultural Research in Bilingual Education


  • Select course in collaboration with your adviser

CAPSTONE COURSES (6 credits) (Prerequisite:  LL ED 500 or 545 or adviser's approval)
Capstone courses MUST be taken concurrently and prior to recommendation for certification.

  • LL ED 550 - Theory and Practicum in Assessment and Remediation of Reading Difficulties
  • LL ED 595A - Practicum:  Remedial Procedures and Diagnosis

Note:  Courses needed may exceed 33 credits if prerequisistes are necessary.  Consult your adviser.

Education Division Completion Requirements:

  • Candidates who have Instructional I certification are required to take the Instructional I Specialty Area Test:  Reading Specialist (Test Code 20300) - Qual. score in PA = 140. 
  • Candidates that do not have an Instructional I Certification are required to take the following PPST Praxis Tests:
  1. Reading (Test Code 10710/5710 computerized) - Qual. score in PA = 172
  2. Math (Test Code 10730/5730 computerized) - Qual. score in PA = 173
  3. Writing (Test Code 20720/5720 computerized) - Qual. score in PA = 173
  4. Fundamental Subjects:  Content Knowledge (Test Code 20511) Qual. score in PA = 150
  5. Instructional I Specialty Area Test:  Reading Specialist (Test Code 20300) - Qual. score in PA = 140
  • NOTE:  The Praxis Tests are a fee-based test and all qualifying scores of approved tests will be accepted by PDE for a period of ten years from the date of administration.
  • Paper tests are not offered in September, March, or June.  The tests are offered via pencil and paper at colleges and universities throughout the country, including more than 30 centers in Pennsylvaina.  PPST tests are also offered via the computer.  Penn State University (PSU) code is 01677.
  • All scores must be reported to PSU (recipient code R2660).
  • For more information, click here or call the Educational Testing Services 1-800-772-9476
  • All students accepted into the program must schedule an appointment with their adviser to clarify course work and additional requirements
  • To earn the M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Literacy (in addition to the certification), a master's paper (3 credits) must be completed along with 18 credits at the 500 level.  For additional requirements, see adviser.
  • Subject to adviser approval, Reading Specialist Certification candidates may transfer up to nine credits from an outside university/college, taken, typically, within the past five years.

Application Requirements for Degree and Nondegree Admission

For admission to the Graduate School, applicants must hold either a bachelor's degree from a U.S. regionally accredited institution or a postsecondary degree that is equivalent to a U.S. baccalaureate degree earned from an officially recognized degree-granting international institution.

Degree Admission Requirements:

  • Two current letters of recommendation in a sealed envelope with a signature across the seal.
  • Statement of Purpose or Goals
  • Résumé
  • Official score report of Miller Analogies Test (MAT) or Graduate Record Exam (GRE)
  • Two official transcripts from all post-secondary schools attended (with the exception to Penn State University)
  • If the candidate already has Instructional I certification, provide a copy

Nondegree Admission
For nondegree admission, applicants must:

  • meet requirements of the Principal Certification program.*
  • complete an online application and pay the nonrefundable application fee. 

For information on how to apply, click here.

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