Reading Specialist

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Master of Education: Reading Specialist - Credits: 30 (program code: 0150)

Certificate: Reading Specialist Certificate - Credits: 24 (program code: 0910)

Program Description

Reading specialist candidates will learn and apply theory and research in literacy development and acquisition in preparation to fulfill the various roles of a reading specialist, which include teacher of struggling readers, mentor and coach to classroom teachers, and literacy leader in the community. The mission of the graduate reading specialist program is to encourage the development of reading specialists who serve schools and communities with integrity, civility and responsibility and who demonstrate superior knowledge and skill identified in the International Reading Association Standards for Reading Specialists.

The reading specialist program offers two options:

  • Master's degree: This plan is appropriate for students who wish to earn a Master of Education degree and reading specialist endorsement of their Pennsylvania teaching certificate. In this option, students are required to complete 35-36 credits of graduate coursework. To graduate from the program, candidates must successfully pass a reading specialist portfolio interview during their last semester of coursework. To have the reading specialist certification added to a Pennsylvania teaching certificate, candidates must pass the reading specialist portfolio interview and pass the Praxis II reading specialist test. Candidates interested in certification outside Pennsylvania are required to secure and follow regulations from the other states or entities.
  • Certificate (Certification Preparation):  This plan is appropriate for students who are seeking reading specialist certification only. In this option, students are required to complete 27-33 graduate credits. The number required is dependent on the student's background in special education. The Pennsylvania Department of Education requires all reading specialists to have 9 credits of special education and 3 credits of English as a second language. Therefore, if a student entering the reading specialist program does not have those courses in his/her undergraduate transcript, those credits must be earned in the reading specialist program.  California University of Pennsylvania does not award certification.  Completers of this program will be awarded a certificate from California University of Pennsylvania.  This certificate does not relate to certification or licensure.  To earn certification, completers of the program must apply to the Pennsylvania Department of Education which grants certification.

Delivery Mode

Predominately on-line delivery with a few courses delivered in the traditional, face-to-face format


The reading specialist program is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP, formerly NCATE) and approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education

Admission Criteria

Curriculum - Master's

Curriculum - Certificate


Students in the reading specialist program receive academic and professional advisement from the program coordinator. Each student is assigned to an academic adviser from the time he/she is accepted into the program of study. Advisers work with students to discuss, monitor and provide advisement as it relates to their program of study.

Program Website

For Additional Information

Phone: 724-938-4187

Program Coordinator

Diane Fine,  B.A., West Virginia Wesleyan College;  M. Ed. California University of Pennsylvania; M.A. West Virginia University; Assistant Professor
          Phone: 724-938-5892

Program Faculty

Holly Diehl, Ed.D. (West Virginia University), M.A. (Frostburg State University), B.S. (West Virginia University), Associate Professor; specializes in Curriculum and Instruction

Diane Nettles
, Ph.D., M.Ed., B.S. (University of South Florida), Professor; specializes in Curriculum and Instruction

Christine Peterson
, Ed.D. (West Virginia University), M.S. (Johns Hopkins University), B.S. Elementary (Edinboro University), Associate Professor; specializes in Instructional Technology and English as a Second Language

For faculty bios, visit: