Unlike in many professions, there isn’t an industry wide curriculum with a cumulative exam that officially “certifies” someone in OG. Training programs vary tremendously and there are significant differences in the results. A struggling reader’s progress is all about the teacher. Training and experience are paramount. Fortunately, there are a number of internationally recognized organizations that accredit training programs and certify individuals. They are described below.
At OG Reading Specialists, a Staff Specialist is a highly trained instructor with thousands of hours of experience with a large variety of students.
At OG Reading Specialists, a Specialist-in-Training is a supervised practitioner who is in our OG Training Program.
It’s critical that training include not just theory and coursework but practice working with students under the direct supervision of a highly qualified trainer. There are many excellent training programs available. If the program has been accredited by The Academy of Orton Gillingham Practitioners and Educators (AOGPE) or The International Multi-sensory Structured Language Education Council (IMSLEC), it has been through a rigorous evaluation process and must adhere to high standards to maintain its accreditation. It will require trainees to have a certain number of coursework and practicum hours and that course instructors be highly qualified.
When evaluating a potential practitioner, look at the following:
Not necessarily. Most colleges and universities do not give pre-service teachers the background and training they need. Even if a teacher has a master’s or doctoral degree in reading, it doesn’t mean they understand the structure of the English language and how to teach it to students in an effective manner. There are many excellent OG practitioners who have a degree that doesn’t relate to education at all. What’s critical is that a teacher have training from a recognized program whether it’s through a college or university or not. The International Dyslexia Association (IDA) provides a list of undergraduate and graduate programs that have met industry standards. All of the credentialing organizations listed here require applicants to have a BA.
The following are recognized OG credentialing organizations. All require an extensive evaluation of the training program or the applicant’s background, experience and skills and all have high expectations for members to remain in good standing.
That doesn’t mean they aren’t a highly qualified OG practitioner. It could mean they don’t have a bachelor’s degree and therefore are not eligible under the current requirements, or they haven’t undertaken the lengthy process of submitting an application, or are in the process of working with one of the committees to have their application accepted. The main things to look for are who trained them, how much experience they have and whether they’re actively working at developing their skills.