Best Graduate Programs for English Teachers

Kathryn Starke
Kathryn Starke
Nationally recognized urban literacy consultant, author, founder of Creative Minds Publications, an award-winning educational publishing and literacy consulting company; M.A. in Literacy and Culture
An English teacher writes on the chalkboard in class.

How is a Graduate Degree Beneficial for English Teachers?

Outsiders to the education profession need to be made aware that English teachers and reading teachers have the same job. Educators know the difference and understand the importance of both teaching positions in our schools. While English majors are often teaching literature and writing at the secondary level, teachers with a degree in reading or literacy are teaching children of all ages how to read. Unfortunately, due to the state of literacy in America for the past five to ten years, more students in secondary English classes are unable to read text on grade level.

Middle school and high school English teachers are seeking support in the teaching of reading and writing to their students. Earning a graduate degree to build upon current knowledge in teaching while increasing an understanding of current research and best practice is also beneficial for an English teacher today. A graduate program provides teachers with more resources, new books, and additional professional development opportunities to become an expert in your craft. This wealth of knowledge increases your credibility as an educator and can open more doors to higher level positions.

A higher salary range and access to a number of more opportunities in the field of education are both strong benefits for an English teacher to earn a graduate degree. In 2023, the salary of American public-school teachers is behind and often doesn’t keep up with the cost of living, inflation, or the salary of other industries. Teachers deserve to feel both valued and financially compensated in education, especially as they continue on their professional journey as life-long learners. When a school system offers financial support to take classes toward a graduate degree or offer a cohort for their teachers to receive a graduate degree at no cost to them, they are truly supporting continuing education.

Graduate Programs for English Teachers

Teachers can enroll in graduate programs to earn a master’s degree in reading and literacy to hone their research, writing, and text analysis and comprehension skills. Based on the current data in reading education, it would be very beneficial for English teachers to earn a master’s degree or doctoral degree in reading, language, linguistics, or literacy. Getting a reading endorsement or reading specialist degree is also a valuable option since we need so many qualified reading specialists in schools.

In fact, to feel the need, school districts are implementing cohorts with local colleges and universities for teachers to conveniently earn their master’s degree in literacy education to fill these vast openings. Through this opportunity, teachers can accelerate their own learning without having to pay a dime out of pocket themselves.

If a cohort is not an option today in your current school district, there are a number of online programs that offer master’s degrees and doctoral degrees in reading or literacy. Online programs are popular for educators since they are designed for teachers and offer courses during after school and evening hours. A large component of many of these online programs includes the opportunity to shadow and work with a reading specialist in the position for a certain number of hours similar to a partnership or internship. Plenty of colleges and universities around the country offer in-person and hybrid models to allow full-time English teachers to earn a graduate degree in the evening and on the weekend.

Each state has their own list of recommendations for the best programs to earn a master’s degree in literacy or reading education. While the research behind the science of reading is 40 years old, it is new to many elementary school classroom teachers around the country. Therefore, some programs in higher education highlighting how their graduate degrees in literacy focus on the science of reading. compared 267 education programs to determine which master’s in reading and literacy degree programs are the best in faculty, cohort, and by region. Since time management is a critical factor for educators to determine when they can balance a full-time job as an English teacher and pursuing a graduate degree, the website ranked an accelerated program as the best.

No matter where you are teaching English in the classroom today, a graduate program with a master’s degree in English, reading, or literacy awaits you and so does the opportunity to become a reading teacher or literacy specialist. And we need you.

Do you have a passion for reading and literacy instruction? Check out our reading and literacy graduate programs and advance your career today! 

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