Colorado School Librarian Certification Guide - 2022

AKA: Colorado Teacher Librarian Endorsement

Last Reviewed: August 23rd, 2022

School librarians are integral to quality education for students in all grades in the state of Colorado. More than just a curator of media, a school librarian is a specialized position that requires more experience, and education than teaching in a regular classroom. School librarian licensure is a multi-step process requiring more time and effort above the standard licensure for teaching.

Librarians are educators that must be comfortable with complex technology as well as handling the day-to-day issues that come with teaching young students. Meeting these standards and certifications come after the basic requirements for a school librarian: the love of teaching and a deep desire to care for others.

This complex process can become confusing at best or completely overwhelming at worst. The state licensure portal has a wealth of information which can be difficult to navigate, this page lists what you should know to complete the process and become a School Librarian in the State of Colorado (However, requirements have been known to change. Make sure your on the right track by speaking with faculty or administration from your Library and Media Science Program’s institution).

Initial Librarian Certification Process

The State of Colorado requires general licensing to begin the process to teach any student in any capacity for the state. Their system is tiered based on the level of education of the applicant, and each tier is dependent on the previous tier. Colorado also requires endorsements to a specific grade/task, which is above the general licensing process. The requirement specific to Librarians is the Teacher Librarian (K-12) endorsement.  

If possible, the journey to becoming a School Librarian should begin at the undergraduate level in an accredited college or university which also covers the Educator Preparation Program. Those programs often cover the entire process and have streamlined it to be less complicated. 

Education Requirements

An Initial Teaching license is issued for 3 years, requiring renewal afterwards or movement into the next highest tier. The educational requirements are as follows:

  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university which satisfies the requirements for licensure in the state, OR a bachelor’s degree and completion of an approved preparation program leading to approval in the state the prep program was completed in. The program must meet or exceed the requirements of the State of Colorado. 
  • For the Teacher Librarian (K-12) endorsement, the applicant must complete 24 semester hours of coursework pertaining to their specialization. This will be confirmed from the applicant’s official transcript. OR passing the specific Colorado State Board of Education-approved exam for that content area. In Colorado, currently only 1 exam is acceptable: the PRAXIS II exam, Library Media Specialist focus. The test scores are valid for 10 years. Formerly, the Program for Licensing Assessments for Colorado Educators (PLACE), specifically for Colorado residents, was acceptable, but is no longer being given. 
  • Student teaching/internship meeting or exceeding Colorado’s requirements. 
  • A teaching internship from any state, which must meet or exceed the requirements of the State of Colorado. 

Experience Requirements

The initial School Librarian certification candidate will need to perform the appropriate field work through a supervised practicum or internship in a varied K-12 setting and varying grade levels. This is typically organized through your Library & Media Science degree program. However, this requirement might be waived if you have already had comparable experience as a teacher or librarian prior to undergoing the certification process.

Testing Requirements

As stated above, In Colorado, currently only one exam is acceptable: the PRAXIS II, Library Media Specialist exam which is valid for 10 years after passing. The test currently costs $120.

A minimum qualifying score of 148 is required to pass the exam and register the credit. 

Go to the Praxis website here.

Background Checks

A full set of fingerprints must be submitted to the Colorado Board of Education (CBE) no more than 30 days after submitting your application. These prints are then submitted to the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) for further checks. The information is then updated in your Colorado Online Licensing (COOL) account. If you have not submitted within 30 days, you must submit a new set of fingerprints.

Application Process

  1. Prior to submitting your application, make sure you have submitted your fingerprints for CBE and the FBI.
  2. Register for a COOL account. 
  3. Submit copies of your passing Praxis scores.
  4. Submit copies of your official transcripts.
  5. Verify your completion of your bachelor’s degree, or better, and your approved preparation program verification form.
  6. Any out-of-state credentials, if you have any.
  7. A valid photo ID, as well as social security number and current mailing address.
  8. Submitting your non-refundable application fee. Initial Teaching licenses fee is $90 in-state/$110 out-of-state.

Alternative Librarian Certification Process

The State of Colorado has an Alternative Teacher Certification for applicants who are already employed as a classroom teacher in the state school system. This certification is available for existing teachers in Colorado only and is not applicable to teachers in other states. This license takes between 1-2 years to complete and is issued for 1, 3, or 5 years before requiring renewal or advancement.

Education Requirement

  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university which satisfies the requirements for licensure in the state.
  • For the Teacher Librarian (K-12) endorsement, the applicant must complete 24 semester hours of coursework pertaining to that specialization. This will be confirmed from the applicant’s official transcript. OR passing the specific Colorado State Board of Education-approved exam for that content area. 
  • Current enrollment in an alternative teacher preparation program, this program must be approved by the Colorado State Board of Education.
  • Currently employed as a classroom teacher in the state. 

Experience Requirements

There is no specific experience requirement other than those required for your bachelor’s or higher degree. Current classroom teaching is required.

Testing Requirements

In Colorado, currently only 1 exam is acceptable: the PRAXIS II exam, Library Media Specialist focus. 

Background Checks

A full set of fingerprints must be submitted to the Colorado Board of Education (CBE) no more than 30 days after submitting your application. These prints are then submitted to the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) for further checks. The information is then updated in your Colorado Online Licensing (COOL) account. If you have not submitted within 30 days, you must submit a new set of fingerprints.

Application Process

As a current classroom teacher, some of these steps can be taken concurrently.

  1. Register for a COOL account.
  2. Verify your completion of your bachelor’s degree, or better, and your approved preparation program verification form.
  3. Submit your fingerprints for CBE and the FBI.
  4. For the Teacher Librarian (K-12) endorsement, submit your completion of 24 semester hours of coursework pertaining to that specialization. OR pass the specific Colorado State Board of Education-approved exam for that content area. 
  5. Apply for and obtain a teaching position in the endorsement specialization that satisfies the Teacher Librarian (K-12) endorsement.
  6. Submit your application.