Most Affordable Online Master’s in Reading and Literacy Degrees

Looking to earn your master's as a reading specialist? Check out the 35 Most Affordable Online Master’s Degrees in Reading and Literacy.

Most Affordable Online Master’s in Reading and Literacy Degrees

Are you ready to find your fit?

Many schools offer online master's in reading and literacy degrees. These programs often appeal to aspiring educators with a passion for reading and writing. Degree-seekers study the English language and explore teaching methods. Graduates with a master's in reading and literacy help people learn a vital life skill.

Reading and literacy programs online let students earn a degree from anywhere. An online format helps enrollees continue teaching while completing their master's.

This page lists the most affordable online master's in reading and literacy degrees. Keep reading to learn about common classes and potential jobs for graduates.

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Questions About Reading and Literacy Degrees

Q. What can you do with master's in reading and literacy?

Graduates may work as adult literacy, high school, middle school, or elementary teachers. Some master's degree-holders work as private tutors or college professors.

Q. Are reading specialists in demand?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects jobs for education, training, and library professionals to grow 10% from 2020-2030.

Q. Can you teach with a reading and literacy degree?

Many graduates with this degree work as educators. Most school districts also require a teaching license or certificate.

Why Get a Degree in Reading and Literacy?

A degree in reading and literacy prepares enrollees for jobs that offer a positive work-life balance. Educators usually receive summers, weekends, and evenings off.

Education, training, and library professionals earn a median annual salary of $52,380, according to the BLS. This figure surpasses the annual median salary of $41,950 for all occupations.

Online master's in reading and literacy programs offer extra benefits. Many online programs run asynchronously, allowing learners to complete coursework around their schedules. Degree-seekers can also attend the most affordable program without commuting or relocating.

How Much Does a Reading and Literacy Degree Cost?

Master's degrees may range from $30,000-$120,000, according to Many factors impact cost, including school type, program length, and learners' residency status. Private school enrollees usually pay more than those attending a public college.

Full-time degree-seekers can complete a master's in about two years. Learners who finish their degrees quickly can avoid rising tuition rates.

Additional Online Student Fees

Online learners should budget for extra costs, such as technology fees. These fees may cover tech support and access to virtual classrooms. Some programs also charge graduation fees.

Online degree-seekers must also buy materials and books. Learners can save money by buying used or digital versions. Some bookstores allow students to resell their books for cash. University bookstores may credit the textbook return to a student account.

Reading and literacy programs online may require extra books. For example, some programs require students to buy books written for various age groups.

How Much Do Reading and Literacy Majors Make?

Graduates with a master's in reading and literacy earn an average of $54,000 annually, according to Sept. 2021 Payscale data. However, reading and literacy majors earn varying amounts depending on their career. Graduates working as adult basic instructors earn a median annual salary of $55,350. High school teachers earn $62,870.

Geographic location also impacts salary. For example, educators in Colorado earn an annual average salary of $43,480. The same professionals in Virginia earn $63,380.

Courses in Reading and Literacy

Most online master's in reading and literacy programs require 30-60 credits. This amounts to 10-20 classes.

Programs may run synchronously or asynchronously. Synchronous classes feature set virtual class times. Asynchronous classes allow students to watch pre-recorded lectures any time.

Online reading and literacy programs typically require a thesis. This project includes a long research paper that fills industry knowledge gaps. Students pursuing a master's in reading and literacy may take the classes below. Please note that class titles and descriptions vary by school.

  • Human Development and Literacy

    Enrollees explore best practices for teaching young children how to read. The class examines how language development impacts a child's literacy abilities. Learners discover how to test literacy comprehension in young audiences. Coursework highlights the emotional and psychological implications of stories in adolescents.
  • Teaching Literacy to Adults

    This class prepares students to teach adults how to read. The class highlights teaching literacy to adults who are learning English as a second language. Degree-seekers explore learning and developmental disabilities that impact an adult's reading abilities.
  • Practicum and Field Experience

    This class gives learners hands-on experience with literacy instruction. Enrollees visit classrooms and work one-on-one with people learning to read. Students also practice leading group reading sessions. Some programs require practicums that let enrollees practice working with varying age groups.

Career and Salary Outlook for Reading and Literacy

Online master's in reading and literacy degrees prepare students to pursue many types of instruction-related jobs. Graduates may teach night classes to adults learning English or work in traditional school settings.

Some graduates with a master's in reading and literacy work as authors. They may work as full-time freelance novelists or pursue this work as a side income source. See below for three potential careers for master's degree-holders.

  • Adult Basic and Secondary Education and ESL Teachers

    These instructors help adults speak and read English. They may also help adults pursue a high school credential. Many of these professionals work at community colleges or community-based organizations. They typically work with adults facing learning disabilities or who are learning English as a second language.
  • High School Teachers

    These educators usually teach 1-2 topics. Graduates with a reading and literacy degree may teach literature or English courses. They help students hone essay-writing skills by providing edits and feedback. High school teachers need a license to work at public schools.
  • Middle School Teachers

    These educators teach students during their transitional years. Literacy teachers introduce middle school students to novels appropriate for their reading level. They also introduce students to more advanced reading and writing to prepare for high school.
Salary Potential and Growth Rate
Career Median Annual Salary Projected Growth Rate (2020-2030)
Adult Basic and Secondary Education and ESL Teachers $55,350 -5%
High School Teachers $62,870 8%
Middle School Teachers $60,810 7%

Source: Bureau Labor of Statistics

Licensure for Teachers and Educators

Reading and literacy majors who want to work for public schools need a teaching license. Licensure requirements vary by state. Most states use the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence exam to grant certification.

Part of the license and certification process requires classroom experience. Applicants must complete student teaching unless they follow an alternative licensure path. Reading and literacy teachers usually need subject certification. They often earn certification to teach related topics like speech, journalism, or language arts.

Most teaching certificates prepare teachers to instruct in one state. However, many states participate in reciprocity agreements. States with similar certificate requirements allow teachers to transfer their licenses. Teachers may need to take additional action to meet extra requirements for license transfer.

Most Affordable Online Master's in Reading and Literacy Degrees

  1. Northeastern State University

    Tahlequah, OK




    Northeastern State University has a long history that dates back to 1846 when it began as the Cherokee National Female Seminary. Its roots and strong connection to the Cherokee Nation make it one of the most prominent state universities within Oklahoma today. Since 1909, NSU became officially recognized as a state institution and is the fourth-largest public institution within the state. Students at NSU are encouraged to reach new borders in their academic life and beyond. In 2017, over $36 million in scholarships and grants were given to its students.

    Program Features

    Earn the necessary competencies needed to be a successful teacher who aids in children’s reading and writing skills through NSU’s online MEd in Reading degree.

    • 32 credit-hours with a capstone project
    • Meets competencies of the International Literacy Association (ILA)
    • Research component


    Graduates are eligible to take the state certification test to become a classroom teacher upon graduation.

  2. Louisiana State University-Shreveport

    Shreveport, LA




    Known for its unusual mascot, the “River Monster,” Louisiana State University Shreveport is a four-year university that is part of the LSU system. LSUS is known for its active campus life – students are engaged in a variety of sports, faith-based organizations, academic associations, and other extracurriculars. Online students are able to be fully-immersed in the campus while meeting their career goals. Students can complete their MEd degree in as little as ten months.

    Program Features

    LSUS’s online MEd in Reading & Literacy degree focuses on practical knowledge through hands-on experiences.

    • In partnership with the International Reading Association
    • Personal advisor
    • Payment options available


    Some students may be eligible for a federal TEACH grant that can award over $3,000 per year.

  3. Eastern New Mexico University

    Portales, NM




    Eastern New Mexico University is a highly affordable four-year institution, ranked as having the #5 best tuition within the state. Not only that, but over $400,000 worth of scholarships are awarded to students annually. At ENMU, students are encouraged to learn the necessary skills for their career through liberal learning. There are over 60 degrees to pursue from the bachelor’s to master’s degree, both offered online and on-campus.

    Program Features

    An affordable program that will give students the foundation they need to succeed as an educator is ENMU’s online MEd with an emphasis in Reading and Literacy.

    • Grants and assistantships available
    • Blackboard online system with recorded lectures
    • Option to write a thesis or take comprehensive exam


    Out-of-state students who enroll with only six or less credit-hours can qualify for in-state tuition.

  4. California State University-San Marcos

    San Marcos, CA




    As a relatively new institution that was founded only 28-years ago, California State University San Marcos is all about innovation and preparing students for the challenges ahead. San Marcos is located only an hour from the U.S.-Mexico border, and thus offers a diverse setting filled with rich cultural exchange. As of fall 2018, over 17,000 students are enrolled in CSUSM, with 90 percent of its students receiving some form of financial aid. Seventy-eight percent of graduating students are employed within six-months of graduation.

    Program Features

    Graduates of CSUSM’s online MA in Reading, Language, and Literacy degree will be prepared to take on the challenges of teaching reading and literacy in a preK-12 setting.

    • 36 credit-hours
    • Basic teaching credential + three years of full-time teaching experience required
    • Spring and summer terms


    Upon graduation, some potential jobs include department chair, literacy coach, or curriculum specialist.

  5. Appalachian State University

    Boone, NC




    Appalachian State University is one of 17 schools in the University of North Carolina state system. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, the beautiful campus showcases the state’s beauty. Appalachian State was founded in 1899 with the goal of creating the state’s next generation of teachers. Through community outreach, enhanced technology, and research, the school expanded to offer other degrees. Appalachian is still known for its small classes and strong community ties.

    Program Features

    Interested in becoming a reading specialist for children from K-12? Appalachian State’s online hybrid MA degree in Reading Education is designed for motivated professional educators.

    • Part-time degree
    • Classroom/Clinical concentration available
    • Scheduled class meetings + coursework on your own time


    As a licensure program, graduates will be eligible for the Master teaching licensure.

  6. University of Houston-Victoria

    Victoria, TX




    The University of Houston – Victoria was founded in the late 1960s with the goal of bringing higher education to the city of Victoria. As a medium-sized school, over 4,400 students are enrolled among their 70 undergraduate and graduate degrees. UHV is known for its affordability and strong athletics teams. In fact, UHV boasts a tuition rate that is among the lowest within the state. Annually, more than $37 million worth of financial aid is given out to students.

    Program Features

    Offered through the School of Education, Health Professions and Human Development, UHV’s online MEd in Curriculum & Instruction is a flexible degree for working adults.

    • Specialists: Reading Specialist and Literacy Studies
    • Ideal for experienced teachers
    • External scholarships available


    Students can choose to just concentrate on Literacy Studies or both Literacy Studies and a Reading Specialty.

  7. West Virginia University

    Morgantown, WV




    West Virginia University is a nationally-recognized research institution whose main campus is located in Morgantown. It is currently classified as an R1: Doctoral University, the highest category for research as stated by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. Across WVU’s three campuses, over 31,000 students are enrolled both online and on-campus. WVU Online is a fully-functioning distance learning campus utilizing the Blackboard system. Students have access to resources 24/7 along with active support from faculty.

    Program Features

    WVU’s online MA in Literacy Education is a certification-granting degree that is recognized by the state board.

    • Curriculum following the International Literacy Association
    • $594 per credit-hour for in-state and out-of-state residents
    • Sample Courses: Literacy Leadership, Developing Reading Interests, Assessment of Reading Ability


    Students who do not yet have a Master’s degree will take 30 credit-hours, while those who already possess it will only take 24.

  8. The University of West Florida

    Pensacola, FL




    The University of West Florida is a campus that encourages students to think bigger and strive higher. UWF began classes in 1967, and over the decades began to offer new programs and on-campus organizations. Today the university operates five colleges with about 13,000 enrolled students. To the people in the state and the surrounding city of Pensacola where UWF is located, the university represents change and a commitment to learning. According to research UWF has an annual economic impact of $1 billion within the state.

    Program Features

    An innovative program to the subject of Reading and Literacy is offered online through UWF’s MEd in Reading degree.

    • For current teachers
    • Curriculum based on the International Reading Association
    • Fall, Summer, Spring start dates


    Degree holders will be eligible for the K-12 Reading Endorsement and Reading Certification within the state of Florida.

  9. Sam Houston State University

    Huntsville, TX




    Named after one of Texas’s greatest heroes, Sam Houston, Sam Houston State University has over 130 years of history in higher education. SHSU went through a lot of changes over the years, beginning as a Methodist school for boys, then becoming a full-fledged co-educational university. SHSU strives to offer education to the modern student, and thus has several distance learning programs to choose from. SHSU Online is one of the nation’s leaders in e-learning, with several nationally-recognized programs and affordable tuition.

    Program Features

    Actively practice the skills you will need to assist students with reading through SHSU’s online MEd in Reading/Language Arts degree.

    • 36 credit-hours
    • Graduate scholarships available
    • Fall, Spring, and Summer sessions


    Graduates will be eligible for the Texas Reading Specialist Certification. Successful candidates will have a teaching certification and two years of teaching experience.

  10. University of South Florida

    Tampa, FL




    The University of South Florida prides itself on being a leader in higher education within the state. Located in the vibrant city of Tampa, the university offers 14 colleges with over 180 majors. More than 50,000 students are currently enrolled at USF. Diversity and cultural understanding are a huge aspect emphasized on USF’s campuses, with 128 countries around the world represented among its student population. Excellent research and graduate programs also characterize USF, with its research expenditure being ranked among the top 25 among public institutions within the nation.

    Program Features

    Learn effective literacy practices through USF’s online MA degree in Reading.

    • Focus on media literacy and technology
    • Prepares teachers for public, private, and online schools
    • Interdisciplinary


    This program offers multiple plans. While Plan II is for those with a teaching certificate, Plan III is for non-certified teachers who may wish to be employed outside the school system.

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