Previously I talked about why graduate education in reading is a good idea for anyone interested in literacy learning and teaching. That post mostly focused on teacher knowledge and expertise. But in times of economic distress, greater amounts of knowledge can seem like an expensive luxury. So what are some of the tangible rewards you can expect from the graduate reading program at UTPA?
There are two tracks in the graduate reading program at UTPA. The shortest is the Master Reading Teacher (MRT) certification program. This is a six course (18 hour) sequence. Once the student successfully completes the coursework, they take the state MRT exam. If passed, they are eligible for certification as a Master Reading Teacher. The second (and longer) track is the Reading Specialist M.Ed. program. This is a 12 course (36 hour) program that leads toward a Master’s degree. Once program requirements are completed, the student can choose to take the state Reading Specialist TExES exam. If passed, they become both certified Reading Specialists and certified MRTs.
Tangible benefits of this degree and both certifications can include:
- Becoming a teacher leader through serving as grade level chair (often for an additional stipend) or developing literacy curriculum for your grade level.
- Moving into new positions; program completers can be hired as a reading specialist or literacy coach. Some districts will also hire program completers for central office positions related to literacy.
- Increased marketability when job searching in new districts across the state.
- For the MRT program only: Filling the MRT position at many Texas schools; if chosen for this slot, the MRT takes on some extra responsibility and receives a generous stipend.
- For the M.Ed. program only: Many districts pay an extra stipend to employees who earn a master’s degree.
Of course, there are no guarantees that completing the graduate reading program will lead to any of these things, but there’s no question that it opens up possibilities and opportunities.