Reading Specialist Certificate

The Reading Specialist certificate is a 30 hour hybrid program that may be taken in Charlottesville or through regional centers. 

The Reading Specialist graduate certificate program helps practicing PreK-12 teachers gain the knowledge and skills needed to support struggling readers from differing cultural, social, and linguistic backgrounds. The curriculum is designed to provide candidates with opportunities to build specialized knowledge, engage in principled practice in supervised settings, and prepare for leadership roles in schools and school districts.

Program Overview:

Teachers who hold an M.Ed. or an M.T. degree can take advantage of this certificate program to add Virginia's K12 reading specialist endorsement to their teaching license. Teachers can finish the certificate program in 2-3 years' time as part-time students depending on courses selected.  Recent MT graduates can take advantage of the coaching element to the coursework as they begin their teaching careers.

At the end of the program, completers are eligible for the Commonwealth of Virginia's K-12 reading specialist endorsement to be added to their teaching licenses when they have also completed three years of teaching during which the teaching of reading was a primary responsibility.

The Curry School of Education is a state-approved program for the training of future reading specialists.

Program Life

The reading specialist certificate is available at the Curry School and through its off-Grounds outreach.  Courses can be taken in a face-to-face format or online. The certificate consists of twenty-four (24) hours of coursework in the reading area and six (6) hours in cognate areas as prescribed by the Commonwealth of Virginia for its K-12 reading specialist endorsement.  The RVE exam is required for successful certificate completion.

Courses are available online with the exception of the six hours of clinical training (EDIS 7730 and EDIS 7740), taken toward the end of the program.  These courses are offered in the summer in three sites in the state:  Charlottesville, Northern Virginia, and Richmond.  The reading specialist certificate is NOT totally online.

The GRE is not required for admission.


The Curry librarians are available to assist you with your research needs. See the Curry Off-Grounds Library Guide for more information.

Prerequisites and Admission Requirements

Any student who wishes to apply for the Reading Specialist certificate must submit an online application, two letters of recommendation, undergraduate and graduate transcripts, and a current statement of professional goals which stands as a writing sample. It is possible to apply up to 6 graduate credits toward a certificate, with advisor approval and provided the coursework is no older than five years at completion of the course of study. All other University of Virginia course work must be earned after admission to the certificate program. Students are responsible for knowing the requirements for admission to, and completion of, the reading specialist certificate and for contacting their advisor for planning.

The Graduate Record Exam is not required for the Reading Specialist certificate.

Application Due Date

ALL application materials, including test scores, transcripts, and recommendations, must be received by the deadlines below in order for an application to be considered complete.

Students applying to study in Charlottesville:
-Fall entry: February 1 for the first review of applications. Applications will be accepted until June 1 on a space-available basis.
-Spring entry: October 15
-Summer entry: February 1

All other locations: 
-Fall entry: June 1
-Spring entry: October 15
-Summer entry: February 1

Applicants will be assigned an advisor when their application has been approved.

Degree Requirements

30 hours of graduate coursework as prescribed by the state for the K-12 reading specialist endorsement. Twenty-four (24) hours are in the reading area; 6 hours are in cognate areas.  The RVE exam is required for successful completion. No requirements completed more than five years before the certificate is to be awarded may be credited toward this certificate.

Please check the RVE website for dates of the test administration.

The score report should be submitted WITH the completion application.  Note: it takes approximately 15 days for the score to be reported.

Funding Opportunities

Students are eligible for financial aid for terms in which they are enrolled at least half-time (6 credits for fall and spring; 3 for summer).

Typical Length of Study

Typically, students complete their coursework in two to three years, depending on the pace at which they elect to study (one course each semester with the possibility of two in the summer).

Full or Part Time:

This certificate is designed for working teachers.  It is part-time unless an individual chooses full-time status in Charlottesville.

Course Overview

The reading specialist certificate consists of 30-hours of coursework in reading and cognate areas. Upon completion of the program, certificate completers who hold a Master's degree and who have completed three years of successful teaching during which time the teaching of reading is a major responsibility, can apply for the Commonwealth of Virginia's K-12 reading specialist endorsement to be added to his/her teaching license. 

Reading Core (24 hours)

  • EDIS 7700 Foundations of Reading Instruction
  • EDIS 7710 Reading in the Content Areas
  • EDIS 7720 Word Study: Language Structures and Phonics
  • EDIS 5730 Reading Diagnosis and Remediation, Part 1
  • EDIS 5740 Reading Diagnosis and Remediation, Part 2
  • EDIS 7730 Practicum in Reading Diagnosis 
  • EDIS 7740 Remedial Practicum
  • EDIS 7751 Literacy, Leadership and Coaching OR EDIS 7750 Effective Reading Programs

Cognates (6 hours)

  • EDIS 7310 Children’s Literature; or EDIS 5410 Young Adult Literature
  • EDLF 7200 Child Growth and Development; EDLF 5010 Child Learning and Development; or EDLF 7160/5160 Human Growth and Development

If you are interested in the online listings, please click here.

Our current course offerings can be found in the Student Information System (SIS) or the Curry course database.

Sample Jobs After Graduation

Classroom teaching, reading specialist, Title I, interventionist, and coaching positions. Many graduates become supervisors in districts’ central offices.

Endorsement Procedure:

Upon completion of the program and after three years of successful teaching during which time the teaching of reading is a major responsibility, a completer can apply for the Commonwealth of Virginia's K-12 reading specialist endorsement to be added to his/her teaching license.  Once these requirements are satisfied, please email Associate Dean Catherine Brighton (, providing: (1) last 4 digits of your SSN, (2) birthdate, (3) your name as it appears on your license, and (4) your current address.  The form will be completed and mailed to the applicant's home address, so that an official transcript* and payment can be sent to the VA Dept. of Education. 

*An official transcript is available through the Office of the Registrar.

Contact Us

State Coordinator:
Mary Abouzeid,, 162 Ruffner Hall, 434-924-0750

Ottilie Austin,, 164 Ruffner Hall, 434-924-6338

Falls Church:
Carrie Simkin,, 703-536-1116

Julie Gray,, 804-662-7464

Newport News:
Susan Thacker-Gwaltney,, 757-594-0792 

We are always looking to improve our programs and welcome your feedback.

Locations Offered

  • Charlottesville
  • Distance and Distributed Learning
  • Falls Church
  • Hampton Roads
  • Richmond

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