Many of our degree candidates wish to become eligible for the Tennessee Reading Specialist, PreK-12 Endorsement. They can do so by taking a specific set of courses approved by the state of Tennessee so that their degree program qualifies them for the endorsement. This set of required courses supplies the candidates with the knowledge and skills stipulated by the Tennessee Licensure Standards for Reading Specialist, PreK-12. Almost all students who participate in our degree program are practicing, licensed teachers and individuals who apply for Reading specialist endorsement must have at least three years of successful classroom experience as such. The three years experience as a licensed teacher does not have to be completed when a person enters the degree program, but it must be completed before the candidate applies for the specialist endorsement. If the program of study changes before the candidate is able to fulfill the requirements of 3 years of teaching, the candidate would have to take the courses required for the endorsement at the time of application for the endorsement.
The Reading Specialist endorsement received National Recognition from the International Literacy Association (formerly International Reading Association). The International Literacy Association (ILA) is a specialty professional association (SPA) of the Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (CAEP), the consolidation of the former National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and the former Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC). In order to receive this distinction, representatives from the ILA review key program assessments, as well as Reading Specialist Praxis data, to ensure that the program consistently and adequately prepares high-quality educators who can assume specialized roles in reading education, specifically reading specialists and literacy coaches.