How to Become a Literacy Program Coordinator


Working as a literacy program coordinator is a great career choice for someone who has a keen interest in literacy and education, and has a deep understanding of just how far-reaching the implications of illiteracy are.


It’s an even better fit for someone who can combine those attributes with a high degree of professionalism, and strong organization and planning skills.


This profession involves working with students, parents, program administrators, staff and volunteers, and can involve a fair amount of local and regional travel.


Below, we’ve outlined everything you need to know to become a literacy program coordinator. We’ll show you what employers will be looking for in terms of your education and experience, as well as which skills, personal traits and attributes you’ll need in order to succeed in this profession. 


We've also included helpful supplementary information, such as a job description, an overview of the job duties, salary expectations, a list of possible employer types and more.



Basic Requirements You’ll Need to Meet

Before we get to the education and experience that employers will require you to have, you’ll likely need to meet some basic requirements to work in this field. For example, most employers will require that you provide them with a recent and satisfactory criminal record check and vulnerable sector check.


Additionally, some employers will require that you have a valid driver’s license, and a satisfactory driver’s abstract, as some jobs in this field involve a significant amount of local or intra-provincial/intra-state travel.



Education Needed to Become a Literacy Program Coordinator

Most employers will require that you have a bachelor’s of education (B.Ed.) degree, as well as a valid teaching certificate. Some may prefer a specialization in “education leadership”, although such a specialization is typically not a requirement.


Please Note: Some employers will also accept candidates with other relevant degrees, such as social work, or even a liberal arts degree, provided it's combined with relevant work experience.





Relevant Work Experience Required

Most employers will want to see proof that you’ll be competent when performing the duties of the job. This is typically accomplished by listing relevant work experience on your resume (and being able to answer tough questions during your interview, of course). 


Work experience that’s considered relevant to the job of a literacy program coordinator would include:


• Experience working with youth, particularly youth deemed to be “at risk”

• Experience with the evaluation, creation and oversight of literary or general education program plans

• Experience teaching, particularly to a target demographic (if applicable)

• Experience in educational leadership and facilitation


Success Tip: Having a combination of relevant work experience and education in a relevant field (such as education or social work) would make you a very strong candidate when applying for jobs.



Skills You’ll Need to Be Effective 

To be effective and competent as a literary program coordinator, you’ll need certain skills, such as:


• A comprehensive understanding of literacy issues and challenges facing your target demographic

• The ability to work collaboratively with culturally-diverse communities, staff, volunteers, co-workers and community partners

• Strong administration skills, organization skills, report writing, and computer skills

• Knowledge of grant writing can be an asset

• Skills in other languages can be an asset



So, What Exactly is a Literacy Program Coordinator?

In the simplest terms, literacy program coordinators play a key role in providing support for those who have trouble with reading and writing. 


They work for and with schools, non-profit foundations, correctional facilities, First Nations band councils and other organizations to help bring literacy programs to their constituents who are at risk of falling behind from their peers, or who have already fallen behind, and require literacy skills to build self-confidence, and help increase their job prospects. 



General Job Description

Literacy program coordinators are responsible for coordinating all aspects of a literacy program’s delivery and implementation. They also play a key role in working with program managers and administrators to work on the program's evaluation and improvement. 


They must schedule and support staff and volunteer work activities, and develop the general schedule of events for the program. They must also ensure that the literacy program is represented as positive, inviting and creative.



Typical Duties of the Job

In general, literacy program coordinators are responsible for the following:


• Recruiting, hiring, training, scheduling and supporting volunteers and paid staff

• Developing and delivering staff and volunteer training

• Scheduling special events or program activities

• Acting as a frontline presence for the program

• Responding to comments, concerns, inquiries, requests and suggestions from the general public, or program or centre patrons

• Providing direct support to partner administrators, literacy coaches and other staff through lesson demonstrations and coaching using effective research-based strategies

• Working with school/program host representatives to determine priorities, and to develop and implement plans and programs that meet the diverse literary needs of students





Typical Earnings for Literacy Program Coordinators

The salary and wage levels of literacy program coordinators can vary a fair amount, typically depending on the following factors:


• Their level of education and experience

• The size, type and budget of their employer

• Their wage and salary negotiating abilities 

• The region in which they work

• The specific responsibilities of their job


Literacy Program Coordinator Salary - United States: According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary level of Americans working in the ‘Instructional Coordinators’ occupational group (a closely related occupational group) is $64,450 per year (May, 2018 figures). The lowest 10% of salaries in the group were at or below $36,360, and the highest 10% were at or above $102,200 per year.



Who Employs Them?

Literacy coordinators can be employed on a part-time or full-time basis with the following types of organizations:


• Non-profit, community based organizations 

• Libraries and literacy centres

• Elementary, middle and high schools

• Correctional facilities

• Vocational rehabilitation programs

• Government agencies 

• First Nations band councils 



Current Job Postings

Although job opportunities in this field aren't all that common, from time to time they will be listed. Have a look below to see if there’s anything listed in your area:



Will This Profession Be a Good Fit?

It takes more than experience and education to succeed as a literacy program coordinator. if you're to find success in this field, it will have to align with your personal values, attributes and ambitions.


If it doesn’t, you’ll either have a hard time being competent in the performance of your duties, or you simply won’t want to get out of bed and make it to work each day. If the following describes you, then you should be an excellent fit:


• You recognize the far-reaching impact that literacy has on the lives of individuals, and society as a whole

• You’re passionate about helping people change their futures for the better

• You’re a proficient education leader who excels at planning and organization 

• You have high professional standards 

• You’re comfortable directing, overseeing and motivating staff and volunteers 

• You’re willing to travel extensively (travel is not uncommon in this profession)



Similar Career Guides in Our System

Is becoming a literacy coordinator not quite the right career move for you? Need more options to explore? Listed below are occupational guides in our system that are similar in nature to this one, but not entirely the same:


Adult Education Instructor

Education Coordinator

Elementary School Teacher

ESL Teacher

First Nations Education Coordinator 




References for This Career Guide

The following sources were referenced in the preparation of this career guide. Please visit them to learn more about the various aspects of this profession.


Programs:One to One Literacy Program: Volunteer Literacy Tutors in Schools.” (June 18, 2019). British Columbia School Trustees Association. Retrieved July 17, 2019.

Occupational Outlook Handbook:Instructional Coordinators.” (June 18, 2019). United States Department of Labor - Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved July 17, 2019.


Please Note: Many actual job postings were used in the preparation of this career guide. However, due to the brief nature of their online presence, they are not listed here as cited references.



Scholarships for Becoming a Literacy Program Coordinator

The “Relevant University Majors for This Career” section below lists academic areas that are applicable to becoming a literacy program coordinator. You can find relevant scholarships by clicking on those majors on our Scholarships page.


Success Tip: Apply for every scholarship possible, even if you aren't confident that you'll get it; more than $1 million in unused scholarship money goes to waste every year in the United States and Canada, simply due to a lack of applicants. 



Relevant University Majors for This Career

Studying one of the university majors listed below will serve as an excellent educational foundation for this career:


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Literacy Program Coordinator