Affordable online master’s in reading and literacy programs could spell success for full-time teachers seeking to author effective methods to help struggling readers. Online reading and literacy master’s have popped up nationwide to let educators receive state certification endorsement through flexible, virtual 24/7 classrooms. Master’s-level literacy specialists can turn a professional page and begin an advanced chapter of their careers with enhanced strategies for teaching phonics, vocabulary, fluency, and reading comprehension. School reading initiatives are prominent since the Children’s Literacy Foundation reports that 68 percent of U.S. fourth graders can’t read proficiently. These pupils are four times more likely to drop out of high school! Reading Is Fundamental found that 93 million adults read at or below basic levels, making America only the 12th most literate country. Booklovers dedicated to solving this skill-gap epidemic will benefit from master’s in reading and literacy online degrees.
Grad School Hub has written the following reference material on cheap online reading and literacy master’s programs using the National Center for Education Statistics’ College Navigator. We checked the box for distance education when searching for advanced post-baccalaureate programs in reading teacher education and literacy studies at nonprofit universities. We ended up with 94 possibilities that were narrowed based on mean cost for in-state graduates. Our staff set the maximum price at $8,000, which is half of the nation’s average master’s tuition of $17,868. For example, we eliminated the Online M.Ed. in Language and Literacy at Park University for barely missing the cutoff with a $8,025 average. Next, we ensured our reasonably priced options had regional and programmatic accreditation from the CAEP, America’s premier teacher education review board. Below are the 10 most affordable online master’s in reading and literacy programs that are excellent bargains in our book.
Ranking Low-cost Online Reading & Literacy Master’s
10. Black Hills State University
Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Reading Online
Average Graduate Tuition: $7,956 per year
Chartered by the Dakota Territorial Legislature in 1883 under Van Buren Baker, Black Hills State University is a public, coeducational arts and science institution of the Rocky Mountain Conference “Where Anything is Possible” for 4,722 Yellow Jackets studying on its 123-acre Spearfish campus and online via Desire2Learn. The U.S. News & World Report applauded BHSU for the 131st best online graduate education. Black Hills State also stands as America’s 284th most liberal university on Niche and 94th best teacher preparation value on College Factual with the 293rd best graduation rate in Washington Monthly. Chaired by Dr. Faye LaDuke-Pelster, the Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Reading Online is housed within the CAEP-accredited College of Education & Behavioral Science. Eligible for the TEACH Grant, the 35-credit major accepts $35 applications and professional disposition assessments year-round. Online courses from children’s literature to language instruction adhere to IRA standards with capstone practicum and action research. K-12 reading specialists could add the Online 20-credit Library Media Minor.
9. Louisiana State University-Shreveport
Online M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction: Reading & Literacy
Average Graduate Tuition: $7,334 per year
Archiving over 60,000 electronic journals in Noel Memorial Library, Louisiana State University-Shreveport is a public, coeducational teaching school opened in 1967 that’s generating $30.9 million revenue with a 101 percent enrollment increase to 5,797 Pilots on its 200-acre Caddo Parish campus and online via Moodle. Washington Monthly declared LSUS the 482nd best master’s institution for social mobility and service. Shreveport also features America’s 224th best online graduate education according to the U.S. News, 205th most conservative students on Niche, and 200th top value tuition on WalletHub. Reporting a perfect Praxis pass rate, the CAEP-accredited School of Education grants the Online M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction: Reading & Literacy. Directed by Dr. Melissa Hawthorne, the 36-credit, asynchronous program takes just 24 months to master balanced literacy techniques for school leadership with an optional ESL Certificate. One seven-week practicum is integrated into online courses for reading assessment, educational technology, and content area research before the final Tk20 project.
8. Jackson State University
Master of Science in Reading Education Online
Average Graduate Tuition: $7,261 per year
Given two straight “Apple Distinguished School” recognitions, Jackson State University is a public, historically African-American liberal arts institution established during the 1870s Civil War Reconstruction that’s endowed for $36 million to teach 9,811 Tigers with 100+ clubs on the 51-building JR Lynch campus and online via Blackboard. Washington Monthly placed JSU 57th among national universities with the South’s 12th best buck. Jackson State was lauded for America’s 192nd most popular teacher preparation on College Factual, 226th best faculty on Niche, and 16th best HBCU by the Tom Joyner Foundation. Dedicated to “Challenging Minds,” the CAEP-accredited College of Education and Human Development has an accelerated Master of Science in Reading Education Online. Requiring Class A licensure and 2.5 GPAs, the 30-credit curriculum organized by Dr. Marilyn Evans trains specialists for differentiating literacy instruction. Eight-week online courses span from learning psychology to reading pedagogy with two three-credit supervised practica and a scholarly thesis.
7. University of Houston-Victoria
Online Curriculum and Instruction M.Ed. in Literacy Studies
Average Graduate Tuition: $6,990 per year
Generating $1.88 million research expenditures annually, the University of Houston-Victoria is a public, coeducational Costal Bend AASCU member authorized by Senate Bill 235 in 1983 that’s enrolling 4,335 Jaguars at a 17:1 ratio on the 20-acre “Crossroads” campus and online via Blackboard. The U.S. News & World Report named UHV the West’s 96th best university. Victoria was also nationally ranked the 446th most diverse school on Niche, 17th best online college by QS Distance, and 130th best master’s university in Washington Monthly. Chaired by Dr. Freddie Litton, the CAEP-accredited School of Education, Health Professions and Human Development awards 30 degrees, including the Online Curriculum and Instruction M.Ed. in Literacy Studies. The 39-credit, non-thesis program furthers educators’ language arts pedagogy to pass the TExES exam for Master Reading Teacher Certification. Live online courses by webcam explore topics like developmental reading and digital literacy with applied practicum.
6. University of Texas at Tyler
Master of Education in Reading Online
Average Graduate Tuition: $6,376 per year
Achieving a 93.8 percent TExES pass rate, the University of Texas at Tyler is a public, regional master’s branch of the American Southwest Conference opened in 1971 that’s endowed for $78.1 million to serve 10,527 Patriots on a 259-acre, tree-lined “Rose City” campus and online through Canvas. Niche declared UTT as America’s 191st top public university and 274th best campus. Tyler was ranked the 90th best Western school by the U.S. News & World Report, 264th top institution in Washington Monthly, and 306th most popular English department on College Factual. With laptop convenience, the CAEP-accredited School of Education admits certified teachers with minimum 3.25 GPAs into the Master of Education in Reading Online each Spring. Organized by Dr. Gina Doepker, the 33-credit, full- or part-time program culminates with an action research project after virtual courses like literacy assessment, writing workshops, and field practicum. Post-grads select the EC-12 Professional Reading Specialist or Master Reading Teacher certification.
5. Arkansas State University
Online Master of Science in Education in Reading
Average Graduate Tuition: $5,918 per year
Publishing the Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies in Education since 2012, Arkansas State University is a public, civic-oriented research institution founded by Missionary Baptists in 1909 that’s budgeting $281 million to educate 23,310 Razorbacks in Jonesboro, Beebe, Mountain Home, Newport, West Memphis, and online. Washington Monthly ranked A-State 90th for graduation rate and 109th for work-study funding. Arkansas State was also America’s 180th top online teachers college on the U.S. News, 288th best public school on Niche, and 197th best value in Kiplinger’s. On Blackboard Learn, the CAEP-accredited College of Education & Behavioral Science confers the Online Master of Science in Education in Reading. Partnered with Jonesboro and Nettleton Public Schools, the 30-credit, 12-month major emphasizes the remediation of reading problems by ILA 2010 Standards. Coordinated by Dr. Mary Jane Bradley, the curriculum integrates speedy, seven-week courses like adolescent literacy with the Arkansas Delta Writing Project and practicum. There’s also a unique Gifted, Talented, and Creative Teachers Certificate online.
4. University of Central Arkansas
Master of Science in Education in Reading Online
Average Graduate Tuition: $5,881 per year
Linked to 31,474 LinkedIn alumni, including James Bridges, Benjamin Travis Laney, and Scottie Pippen, the University of Central Arkansas is a public, space-grant master’s institution of the Southland Conference that’s budgeting $187 million annually to train 1,872 post-grad Bears on a 124-building Faulkner County campus and online via Blackboard. The U.S. News & World Report congratulated UCA for the 168th best online graduate teaching degrees. Central Arkansas was also ranked America’s 246th top Peace Corps producer in Washington Monthly, 104th best value by WalletHub, and 341st best education school on Niche. Offering funds like the Father Lachowsky Scholarship, the CAEP-accredited College of Education has a Master of Science in Education in Reading Online. The 30-credit, two-year program teaches the latest planning, teaching, and testing tactics for struggling readers with the Dyslexia Therapist Endorsement. Headed by Dr. Victoria Groves-Scott, the interventionist curriculum minimizes campus visits besides practicum by completing courses like multisensory literacy and master’s research online.
3. Missouri State University
Online Master of Science in Education-Literacy
Average Graduate Tuition: $5,554 per year
Pushing 24,350 Bears “Onward, Upward,” Missouri State University is a public, coeducational master’s MVC member that’s endowed for $138.4 million to provide 280 academic programs atop its 225-acre National Avenue campus, at West Plains and Mountain Grove extensions, or online via Blackboard. Forbes crowned MSU the 185th top public university and 528th best college. Missouri State was also ranked America’s 124th best teachers college on Niche, 12th most international school by the IIE, and 80th coolest institution in Sierra magazine. Authorized in 50 states, the CAEP-accredited College of Education extends beyond Hill Hall to award the Online Master of Science in Education-Literacy. Chaired by Dr. Emmett Sawyer, the 39-credit, post-bachelor’s major admits certified teachers with minimum 3.0 GPAs for intensive practical preparation leading to the K-12 Reading Teacher Certification. Online students receive scholarships like the Harry J. Siceluff Memorial Award to afford curricula from language development to cultural diversity with thesis and comprehensive exam tracks.
2. Western New Mexico University
MAT with an Emphasis in Reading Education Online
Silver City, NM
Average Graduate Tuition: $4,650 per year
Housing the Growing Tree Child Development Center, Western New Mexico University is a public, coeducational Hispanic-serving master’s institution founded in 1893 that’s immersing 3,500 Mustangs in 70+ programs of study at its 83-acre Silver City campus, Gallup Graduate Studies Center, and via eLearning on Canvas. Granted the 2015 Quality New Mexico Best Practice Award, WMNU was acclaimed for the 196th highest graduation rate in Washington Monthly. Western New Mexico is also America’s 398th most conservative school on Niche with the 471st best salary potential on PayScale. Led by Dr. Debra Dirksen, the CAEP-accredited School of Education delivers the Master of Arts in Teaching with an Emphasis in Reading Education Online asynchronously. The program splits into a 30-credit track for already certified teachers and 48-credit option for non-education bachelor’s graduates. Adhering to the NES Content Knowledge Reading exam, the Online MAT includes courses like corrective literacy instruction and ESL methods with practice teaching. Educators also consider the 18-credit Alternative Licensure in Reading only.
1. Northeastern State University
Online Master of Education in Reading
Average Graduate Tuition: $4,572 per year
Opened as the Cherokee National Female Seminary in 1851, Northeastern State University is a public, regional Native American-serving MIAA college that’s charging our ranking’s cheapest price for 1,130 post-grad RiverHawks enrolled on the 200-acre Tahlequah campus and online via Blackboard Ultra. The U.S. News & World Report honored NSU for America’s 150th top online graduate teaching programs. Northeastern State was also applauded for the 195th most ethnic diversity on College Factual and 408th best professors on Niche. Hosting a Kappa Delta Pi chapter, the CAEP-accredited College of Education in Bagley Hall follows the International Literacy Association’s competencies for the Online Master of Education in Reading. Directed by Dr. Meagan Moreland, the 32-credit program suits currently certified, full-time teachers seeking in-depth understanding of how children learn English. Portfolios are built on Chalk & Wire throughout online courses like literacy enrichment and educational measurement before the capstone. Field practicum is optional at the Cappi Wadley Literacy Center and Broken Arrow Literacy Clinic.
Which Jobs are Available with an Online Master’s in Reading and Literacy?
Attending graduate school for two to four years in a reading and literacy master’s online program will open teacher-leadership jobs in PreK-12 districts. George Washington University’s Face the Facts USA reports that 52 percent of the 3.3 million public and 38 percent of the 400,000 private school teachers hold master’s degrees. Getting a master’s is actually required in several states for reading education specialization. For instance, the Arizona Board of Education only extends the Reading Endorsement K-8 to teachers with three years of experience and 21+ graduate credits after initial certification. National organizations like the International Dyslexic Association (IDA) also credential master’s-level literacy specialists at Level II after passing a 100-question, $270 test. Here are six rewarding jobs where certification plus online reading and literacy master’s education is a novel idea:
Certified Reading Specialist- Passing the Praxis 5301 exam after a reading and literacy master’s online degree would unlock doors for interventionist roles teaching struggling readers, including English language learners and dyslexic students. Certified Reading Specialists identify at-risk pupils, deliver educational assessments like DIBELS, diagnose learning disabilities, input IEP literacy goals, provide pull-out instruction, and measure reading progress.
Literacy Coach- Implementing International Reading Association (IRA) standards into real-life schoolwide improvements rests on the shoulders of literacy coaches. They use master’s in literacy and reading online training to plan language arts curriculum across grades, model good pedagogical methods, provide teacher feedback, identify staff development needs, analyze testing data, review at-risk cases, and publicize the building’s literacy programs.
Private Tutor- Labeled America’s 61st best job by CNN Money with an “A” for low stress, private tutors are often independent contractors who provide one-on-one academic assistance outside school walls. Earning an online master’s in reading and literacy would help tutors analyze English fluency, customize lessons, correct homework, review papers, prepare for tests like the SAT, inform parents of students’ progress, and research learning materials.
Resource Teacher- Middle and high schools generally have resource rooms where online master’s in reading and literacy graduates could improve the language skills of disabled youth up to age 21. Resource teachers develop appropriate support, plan student outcomes, deliver IEP testing accommodations, teach study tactics, integrate learning technology, keep records of progress, advise faculty on best practices, and become positive role models.
Adult Literacy Educator- The National Literacy Directory currently lists over 7,000 continuing education centers like Onondaga-Cortland BOCES, Brunswick Community College, and Lindamood-Bell Learning Processes with English language programs. Adult literacy educators provide GED or immigrant services, write lessons, assess learning delays, create continuous improvement plans, test proficiency progress, and coordinate library resources.
Instructional Coordinator- Launched in 2009, the Common Core State Standards Initiative outlines K-12 English language arts curriculum guidelines that instructional coordinators use to create districts’ content. Master’s graduates would evaluate literacy curricula, identify student achievement gaps, design new units, review textbooks, provide best practices literature, assist teachers in content implementation, and suggest new software technologies.
How Much Do Reading and Literacy Master’s Online Graduates Make?
Finding a cheap online master’s in reading and literacy is smart because the ROI for teachers can be diminutive. The National Education Association reports that educators make roughly half the earnings of comparable private-industry jobs for a mean starting wage of $30,377. Thirty-seven percent of teachers leaving the occupation blame low pay. PayScale reports that reading specialists make between $33,489 and $75,579 for a median yearly wage of $50,277. Secondary schools provide the biggest mean salary of $61,420 for reading specialists. Literacy coaching jobs in the United States average $69,291. The 147,330 instructional coordinators bring home mean income of $65,500. According to Salary.com, other high-income education averages are $96,950 for teacher consultants, $80,516 for registrars, $94,212 for distance learning directors, and $98,868 for library services managers.
What is the Hiring Outlook for Master’s in Reading and Literacy Online Programs?
Business Insider recognized four education majors among the 11 lowest unemployment rates under 4.5 percent. Teaching vacancies are likely after a reading and literacy master’s online because baby boomers are retiring and K-12 enrollment will reach 56.5 million by 2025. During this timeframe, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that hiring of elementary and secondary teachers, including reading specialists and resource teachers, will grow by 8 percent. Faster-than-average 10 percent growth is expected for 16,500 more instructional coordinators this decade. The only projected decline is for adult literacy educators who will see 3,800 jobs taken because of tighter government budgets. Forbes magazine chose Massachusetts, Virginia, Minnesota, New Jersey, and surprisingly Wyoming as the best teacher states. Maximize your location flexibility and tuition dollars by selecting the inexpensive online master’s in reading and literacy degrees above.