Georgia Public Librarian Certification Guide - 2024

AKA: Para-Professional Certification, Librarian Professional Graduate Certification, Librarian Advanced Professional Graduate Certification, Librarian Doctoral Certification

by Staff

Updated: December 12th, 2023

Throughout the years, the role of the public librarian has expanded in countless ways. Today’s librarians act as multifaceted community resources.

A public librarian can aid in research, offer training, play the role of literary expert, or spend time as a community storyteller. It is a career path that comes with a fair amount of responsibility and a high degree of education. To fill this role, applicants will need the right skills and certifications.

A public librarian certification is a requirement in Georgia. The existing certifications are designed to ensure that librarians are working to serve the community and have the necessary skills and knowledge to successfully carry out the duties that the job demands. By requiring a certification, Georgia empowers local librarians to stay informed and flexible whether they are entering the industry or simply resuming their role in it.

Georgia Public Librarian Certification Process

Each state has its own requirements when it comes to librarian certifications. In the state of Georgia, there are certain steps and educational requirements that must be met in order for someone to work as a public librarian, but the certification is really more of an ongoing process that offers different levels. 

Librarians will need to renew their certifications every two years, with each renewal becoming available sixty days before expiration. Certifications expire on the 30th day of June and require ten hours of acceptable continuing education coursework within the two-year timeframe.

Currently, Georgia offers the following certifications:

  • Para-Professional Certificate
  • Librarian Professional Graduate Certificate
  • Librarian Advanced Professional Graduate Certification
  • Librarian Doctoral Certificate

Education Requirements

Educational requirements vary by the level of certification that a public librarian hopes to achieve. Additionally, each level will have additional requirements for applicants to qualify.

Para-Professional Certificate

The Para-Professional Certificate is classified as Grade 2. In order to obtain this certificate, applicants will need to, at minimum, graduate from a four-year college with appropriate standing. Additionally, a minimum of twelve semester hours must be dedicated to a planned program of library science at an approved institution. See library and information science degree programs in Georgia.

Librarian Professional Graduate Certificate

The Professional Graduate Certificate is classified as Grade 5(b) or 5(d). It requires an applicant to hold a master’s degree within a dedicated field of librarianship. The degree must be obtained from a program that is accredited by the American Library Association. Additionally, applicants can have a master’s degree in library and information science from Valdosta State University if it was received prior to the accreditation requirements. See library and information science degree programs in Georgia.

Librarian Advanced Professional Graduate Certificate

The Advanced Professional Graduate Certificate is classified as Grade 6. To qualify for this certification, applicants must qualify for a Professional Graduate Certificate. In addition to this, the person must complete six or more years of planned graduate study. The study must be completed within the field of librarianship from a school with an accredited program. See library and information science degree programs in Georgia.

Librarian Doctoral Certificate

The Librarian’s Doctoral Certificate is classified as Grade 7. For this certification, you will need to qualify for a Librarian’s Professional Graduate Certificate, with one exception. You can also hold a doctorate in librarianship. The doctorate must be obtained from a school that has an accredited master’s degree program. See library and information science degree programs in Georgia.

Experience Requirements

In the majority of cases, educational requirements are the exclusive driving force to receive certifications with a few key exceptions. 

Previous Certifications

Anyone who was issued a Librarian’s Professional Certificate before November 1, 1982, is permitted to renew or reinstate a certificate at the level they reached. Additionally, licensees who obtained a Grade 3 or Grade 5(c) certificate before the date of February 18, 1988, may new or reinstate at the level that they reached.

Military Exceptions

In 2017, Georgia made a new list of exceptions for Active Duty military members, transitioning service members, and members who are set to leave the military within the next year or two. These exceptions can also apply to the spouses of military members. This exception was made to ensure that those who had the right expertise could qualify, even if military service impeded their ability to meet some of the other requirements in place.

To qualify for this exception, applicants must have obtained comparable specialization, certification, training, or experience during their standing with the military. In this instance, applicants can receive a Board approval as long as the applicant’s existing experience is deemed to be equal to or greater than the state licensing requirements. 

Testing Requirements

At this point, Georgia does not require any applicants to pass an examination to receive certification. However, in order to obtain any existing certifications, it is necessary for applicants to pass any tests related to the required coursework or continuing education programs. For this reason, testing is an important skill for librarians in this state.

Background Checks

Given their prestigious role in the community, public librarians are generally required to pass a background check to obtain and maintain employment within the field of librarianship. Though Georgia law requires that no library employ anyone who could be a risk to others, the requirements do go well beyond that in some cases.

Librarians will be often required to pass a general background check to confirm past work experience, as well as any legal concerns. Though the GCIG will not release records pertaining to arrests or charges that did not result in a conviction, some exceptions can be made. Employers can look at the nature of crimes, as well as the severity, and make a judgment call. Not every library uses criminal background checks or will use them to immediately disqualify an applicant, but it can significantly lower employment chances. 

Background checks are a point of ongoing consideration for renewal and can be a problem for applicants looking to update their certifications. When you renew your certification, you will be asked various questions. On this list is whether or not you have received a conviction during the last two years, which might play a distinguishing role in whether or not you receive an update to your certification.

Application Process

Applying for certification in the state of Georgia is relatively simple. In fact, it can be done entirely online. However, for those looking to handle the application process by hand, a paper application can be found on the board’s website and mailed in. All paper applications should be submitted following the directions provided with the application itself.

If completing the paper application, you can send materials to the following address:

Georgia State Board for the Certification of Librarians

237 Coliseum Dr.

Macon, GA. 31217

For the online application, applicants will be required to create what is known as a “person” license account. This account will be used every two years when you set out to renew your license, so be sure to take care of your login information. If it is lost, you can always request an account reset, though this can slow down the process.

To complete the application, applicants can simply follow along with the online prompts and provide the required information. It is best to approach the application all at once and provide the necessary data. Failing to do so might result in a duplicate application, which can slow the processing time and cause a delay in approval, even when you meet all of the standards.

When you submit your application, it is important to also submit your transcript to the Board office as well. Your transcripts must be mailed by the college or university where you finished your coursework. Only direct transcripts sent using a sealed envelope from the educational institution will be accepted. Failing to provide this information through the appropriate means can delay the process, or worse, lead to an automatic declination, even if you have the necessary educational background.