District of Columbia School Librarian Certification Guide - 2022

AKA: School Service Provider Certification - School Librarian, Standard Librarian Certification

Last Reviewed: November 18th, 2021

Licensor: OSSE

In the District of Columbia, all of the teacher and staff licensing is done through the Federal department of Education. Certifications are important both to ensure that a school’s librarian has the education and experience needed to not only manage the library properly, but to work effectively with the children and teenagers in the schools.

To apply for this credential, you need to already have a job lined up as a School Librarian in Washington DC.

Initial School Librarian Certification

In Washington DC, the first thing you’ll have to do is get an initial librarian certification. This license is called an Initial School Service Provider Certification in the area of School Librarian. This license will last two years, and then you’ll have to upgrade to a Standard certification.

Education Requirements

For starters, you’ll need a basic Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university in the US. If your degree was completed outside of the US, you’ll have to submit a foreign credential evaluation report.

You’ll also have to provide a completed program admission verification form confirming your current admission into an approved school library educator credentialing program or proof of a completed master’s degree or higher in school library science or general library information science.

Find library and information science degree programs in Washington DC.

Experience/Testing Requirements

For the initial license, you do not need any experience or test scores to submit.

Background Checks

You’ll also need an FBI Identity History Summary Check document. To get this document, submit a request directly to the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division or through an FBI approved “channeler” agency

IHSC reports must be issued within the previous 12 months from the date an application is submitted for credentials.

These background checks are vital to the safety of the students and staff.

Application Process

Gather the following documentation:

Go to the online portal, and follow these instructions. There is a cost for this certification, but that information isn’t publicly available.

Standard Librarian Certification

The Standard School Service Provider Certification in the area of School Librarian isn’t a full new credential, but is an upgrade to the Initial license. This certification lasts for 4 years.

Education Requirements

For starters, you’ll need a basic Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university in the US. If your degree was completed outside of the US, you’ll have to submit a foreign credential evaluation report.

You’ll also have to provide documentation of  a completed master’s degree from an approved program in school library science education or a completed master’s degree in library science and have completed graduate coursework in each of the areas listed below.

  • Cataloging and classification;
  • Computerized applications of library automation and information access;
  • Instructional media design and production;
  • Organization of school library media programs and collections;
  • Reference sources and services;
  • Evaluation, selection and utilization of instructional media for children and young people; and
  • Integration of library resources in the curriculum

Experience Requirements

For this license, you’ll need to provide an experience verification form verifying one year of experience as a school librarian or two years of full-time teaching experience or directed field experience as part of the school library program.

Testing Requirements

You’ll need to also get at least a 151 on the Library Media Specialist PRAXIS II Exam. This exam costs $120.

Background Checks

You’ll also need an FBI Identity History Summary Check document. To get this document, submit a request directly to the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division or through an FBI approved “channeler” agency

IHSC reports must be issued within the previous 12 months from the date an application is submitted for credentials.

These background checks are vital to the safety of the students and staff.

Application Process

Gather the following documentation:

  • Transcripts from a completed master’s degree in school or general library science.
  • Transcripts verifying a complete bachelor’s degree
  • An experience verification form
  • Scores from your Library Media Specialist PRAXIS II Exam
  • Your IHSC documentation

Go to the online portal, and follow these instructions. There is a cost for this certification, but that information isn’t publicly available.

Certification Renewal

Every four years, you’ll need to renew your credentials in the District of Columbia. Before you fill out your renewal application, make sure you aren’t more than 5 months from expiration! You can’t renew further out than that.

You have three options to renew.

  • One option is to retake your PRAXIS II Exam within the final 12 months of your certification period. You’ll need to submit those scores with an updated FBI Identity History Summary Check document.
  • Another option is to use your performance ratings from 3 of the 4 years your credential was active. If you received an effective or better final rating during those years, you can use this documentation to renew. You’ll need to submit your DCPS Impact Report for each applicable school year and an updated FBI Identity History Summary Check document.
  • The final option is to use college courses or professional development. You’ll need at least 120 hours of development, but each semester hour of a college course is worth 15 hours towards that requirement. At least 60 of those hours must be directly related to your School Librarian Certification. You’ll need to submit an updated FBI Identity History Summary Check document and either formal college transcripts or transcripts of the school led professional development hours. Informal transcripts need to include the following:
    • Your full name
    • Title of the training
    • Dates of the training
    • Total number of hours of training completed
    • Must be printed on official school letterhead
    • Must bear the signature or stamp of the school principal or professional development coordinator and their contact information

To apply, gather your information, go to the online portal, and follow these instructions. There is a $50 fee for the renewal.

Certification Reciprocity

If you have an existing equivalent certification to be a school librarian from another US State, you can apply for your certification based on reciprocity. Which certification you apply for will depend on your experience.

If you have less than a year of experience, you’ll just want to apply for an Initial Librarian Certification. Once you have your two years of experience, you can follow the instructions for the Standard Librarian Certification to upgrade the license.

If you have more than a year of experience, just apply for the Standard Librarian Certification directly. You’ll need to provide the following:

  • Transcripts from a completed master’s degree in school or general library science.
  • Transcripts verifying a complete bachelor’s degree
  • An experience verification form
  • Scores from your Library Media Specialist PRAXIS II Exam OR your state’s equivalent
  • If you submit state equivalent exams, you’ll need to provide a copy of your valid out-of-state license.
  • Your IHSC documentation

To apply, go to the online portal, and follow these instructions. There is a cost for this certification, but that information isn’t publicly available.