Advanced Certificate in Reading

Why an Advanced Certificate in Reading at Teachers College, Columbia University?

Please be aware the Advanced Certificate in Reading (online) program is neither accepting applications for admission nor enrolling students in any courses at this time. Please contact the Office of Admission for more information.

Up to two-thirds of children in schools across the United States are reading below grade level (NAEP, 2015). A lack of proficiency in reading is a major obstacle to learning in all subject areas. Difficulties with reading affect progression and success in learning environments throughout a student’s educational career. Many teachers need strategies to help their students improve their reading skills, and an Advanced Certificate in Reading from Teachers College, Columbia University addresses that very need.

This 15-credit program is designed to promote effective instruction in critically important reading skills. It will prepare teachers not only to understand the reading process but to provide useful reading interventions, thus improving educational practice and removing barriers to learning.

Taught by leaders in the field of reading and literacy, the program is offered in an online, asynchronous format. This online format allows students to participate in an interactive experience from their home base without having to travel to our campus in New York City. Because all of the courses in the program are asynchronous, students may access the course and instructional materials at any time they choose.

The program consists of five courses, offered one per term over one calendar year, to meet the needs of busy educators who are seeking to increase their toolkit in reading practices. 

Program Overview and Courses

The 15-credit Advanced Certificate in Reading is designed for state-certified teachers (or government-recognized teaching credentials in the case of teachers from outside the U.S.) who wish to gain a deeper understanding of the reading process and approaches to improving students’ reading skills. The program will: 

  • Provide knowledge of the reading process (word recognition, decoding, phonemic awareness, oral reading fluency, vocabulary knowledge, and reading comprehension) and reading difficulties based on robust theory and empirical evidence
  • Enable participants to understand the writing process and interventions in relation to reading education
  • Prepare teachers to help learners of diverse racial, ethnic and linguistic backgrounds improve their literacy skills by introducing them to effective classroom-based assessment methods and instructional strategies
  • Impart an understanding of content area literacies and provide teachers with a toolkit for teaching and learning reading in the context of mathematics, social studies, science, English language arts, the arts in an increasingly globalized, networked, and multilingual world


1. Individuals interested in the possibility of having the Advanced Certificate in Reading count towards state Literacy endorsement, licensure or certification should check with their State Education Department.

2. Speech pathologists who have experience in working with individuals with reading difficulty are also eligible to apply. Applications are considered on a case-by-case basis.

The Advanced Certificate in Reading is offered through a part-time course of study, completed in one calendar year. The program begins in July, which allows for a cohort-style approach. Students will enroll in one course per term for five terms: Summer B (July 2019), Fall (September 2019), Spring (January 2020), Summer A (May 2020), and Summer B (July 2020). 

The program will be delivered entirely online through the College’s learning management system, Canvas. Students are not expected to have expertise in an online learning environment prior to enrollment. A student orientation will help students become familiar with the technology.

The coursework covers processes in the acquisition of reading ability, reading patterns in dyslexia and other reading disabilities, reading assessment and intervention approaches, and the teaching of content area literacies. There certificate program consists of five courses, as follows:

  • Summer B: HBSK 4072 - Theory and Techniques of Assessment and Intervention in Reading
  • Fall: C&T 4137 - Literacy and Learning in the Content Areas
  • Spring: HBSK 4074 - Comprehension Strategies and Study Skills
  • Summer A: HBSK 5080 - Essential Approaches to Improving Reading
  • Summer B: HBSK 5099 - Writing Interventions Theory and Practice

Please review TC’s Academic Calendar for semester dates.

Each of these courses will apply toward the Master of Arts in Reading Specialist at Teachers College. Successful participants in the Advanced Certificate in Reading who wish to obtain a full master’s degree must complete an application for admission to the MA in Reading Specialist program.

To be eligible for admission, applicants must have teaching experience, a baccalaureate degree with a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA, and hold a valid teaching certificate for any grade and in any area.

Application materials include:

  • Completed Advanced Certificate Application for Admission (choose “Reading” in the program area)
  • Official undergraduate transcript(s) indicating degree conferral
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • 500-word Letter of Intent
  • Copy of teaching certification

International students must submit (in addition to the above materials):

  • A course-by-course transcript evaluation completed by WES or ECE
  • Official documentation outlining a teaching credential recognized in their own countries
  • Official TOEFL Score Report

Application Fee

The application fee is $65. The application fee must be submitted with the application and is not refundable under any circumstances.


Each course in the certificate program is for three credits.

  • Tuition for Summer 2019 is $1635 per point (credit).
  • Tuition for Fall 2019, Spring 2020 and Summer 2020 is forthcoming.


Students are billed a college fee every term registered.

  • Summer 2018: $458
  • Fall/Spring/Summer 2018-2019: forthcoming


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