The University of Iowa

Dyslexia Specialist Endorsement

Teacher studying for dyslexia endorsement

Qualified teachers in Iowa can become dyslexia specialists by completing an endorsement program coordinated by the Iowa Reading Research Center.

Summary of Program Admission Requirements

  • At least three years of teaching experience in a kindergarten–Grade 12 setting
  • Admission to the University of Iowa as a Nondegree Graduate Student
  • Completion of the program application form with accompanying required documents

Program Deadlines

The deadline for applications for the first cohort of students in this program that will begin coursework in the Fall of 2021 has passed.

Applications for the Fall 2022 cohort are due by February 1, 2022.

For complete program details including required coursework, deadlines, and instructions on how to apply, visit the University of Iowa College of Education’s Dyslexia Specialist program page.

UI College of Education Dyslexia Specialist program page


Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Who Is This Endorsement Intended For?

A: This endorsement is intended for certified Iowa educators.

Q: Are Classes Held Virtually or In-Person?

A: The program is of a hybrid format consisting of mostly synchronous virtual classes and a monthly meeting in Des Moines. One course is online and asynchronous. The two practicum experiences are in-person at locations with approved cooperating teachers.  

Program Coursework Schedule

Semester Credit Hours Delivery Method
Fall Year 1 6
  • 1 course online synchronous + monthly meeting
  • 1 course online asynchronous
Spring Year 1 6
  • 1 course online synchronous + monthly meeting
  • 1 practicum placement + same meeting as above
Summer 3
  • online synchronous + monthly meeting
Fall Year 2 3
  • 1 practicum with two placements + monthly meeting
Total 18
  • 3 courses online synchronous + monthly meeting
  • 1 course online asynchronous
  • 2 practica with three placements + monthly meeting

Q: How Is the Endorsement Classified In Terms of Level of Education?

A: This is a post-baccalaureate endorsement, and the coursework is at the graduate level. However, this is a non-degree program. Students would need to work with an advisor of a master’s program to determine how the coursework would be counted toward completion of a graduate degree.

Q: How Is This Endorsement Different From the Reading Endorsement and the Reading Specialist Certificate?

A: This endorsement will focus solely on dyslexia and the reading development of students with dyslexia. The Reading Endorsement can be completed as an undergraduate, concurrently with initial teacher licensure. The Reading Specialist Certificate requires completion of a master’s degree. Neither the Reading Endorsement nor the Reading Specialist Certificate are specific to the issues experienced by students with dyslexia.

Q: The Courses Seem to Be the Same As Those in the Reading Specialist Certificate Program, so Will My Previous Coursework Count Toward the Dyslexia Specialist Endorsement?

A: The course prefixes, numbers, and titles of the Dyslexia Endorsement and Reading Specialist Certificate are similar. However, the content could be very different. Because the Dyslexia Endorsement has to satisfy new rules that have not previously existed, it is not likely that previous coursework would meet the expectations of the new endorsement. To ensure that the courses for the Dyslexia Endorsement are aligned to the rules, special sections of those classes have been created and operate under different syllabi than those used in the Reading Specialist Certificate program. The overlap in course prefixes, numbers, and titles is intended to create a pathway for participants to work toward the Reading Specialist Certificate in the future. This will depend on the willingness of the Reading Specialist Certificate program to accept the Dyslexia Endorsement coursework and credits.  

Q: Will College Credit Earned as Continuing Education Units from Vendor Training (e.g., training on a specific curricular program) be Accepted Toward Coursework in the Dyslexia Specialist Endorsement?

A: Vendor training is not recommended as a substitute for coursework to earn a new endorsement. Vendors have specific purposes related to their programs or proprietary products. The goal of the endorsement program is to equip educators with the knowledge and skills to identify and address the needs of students with characteristics of dyslexia, regardless of the materials that are available to them in their schools. In addition, the coursework for the endorsement is aligned to the rules approved by the State Board of Educational Examiners, whereas vendors are not obligated to address all the rules. Therefore, it is unlikely that credits earned for vendor training will be accepted in lieu of endorsement coursework.

Q: Who Teaches the Classes?

A: Classes are taught by faculty in the University of Iowa College of Education, adjunct faculty working with the Iowa Reading Research Center, and IRRC Director Dr. Deborah K. Reed. With the exception of the assessment class that is taught by faculty in the Department of Psychological and Quantitative Foundations, all of the courses on reading development and dyslexia are taught by individuals with at least three years of teaching experience and experience working with children with dyslexia.

Q: How Long Will It Take to Complete the Endorsement?

A: A year and a half (three semesters during two consecutive academic years and the intervening summer session).

Q: What Are the Requirements for Completing the Endorsement?

A: This is an 18-credit hour endorsement that includes coursework and practicum experiences in assessment and instruction. Candidates must perform satisfactorily in all classes and demonstrate the necessary knowledge and skills on summative assessments.

Q: How Many People Will Be Accepted Into Each Cohort?

A: Each cohort will consist of no more than 30 educators.

Q: What Is Considered Beyond the Basic Requirements for Selection Into the Program?

A: Applicants write a statement of interest and provide two letters of recommendation. Geographical distribution is a consideration to best meet the needs of the entire state.

Q: What Is the Cost Of Completing the Program?

A: Cost estimates are below, but these are only estimates.  Actual costs are subject to the Board of Regents, State of Iowa’s policies, which can change annually.

Semester Credit Hours Estimated Cost
Fall Year 1 6 $4,300
Spring Year 1 6 $4,300
Summer 3 $2,200
Fall Year 2 3 $2,200
Total 18 $13,000
(potentially about $13,400 with an anticipated tuition increase)

Q: Can the Practica Be Completed as Part Of an Educator’s Regular Teaching Responsibilities?

A: The practica are done under the supervision of an approved cooperating teacher and will need to occur in either a one-on-one or small-group setting, depending on the focus of the practicum. These need to take place during the day but may not be possible to combine with typical duties. That will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Q: Can Eligible Educators From Other States Enroll In the Program?

A: Yes, the Dyslexia Specialist Endorsement program is open to any certified educator with at least 3 years of experience. Should there be limited space in an annual cohort, Iowa educators will have priority in order to meet the state’s needs for assisting students with characteristics of dyslexia.