Georgia School Librarian Certification Guide - 2022

AKA: Georgia Media Specialist Certification

Last Reviewed: August 23rd, 2022

School librarian certifications (licensure or endorsement) recognize that an individual has taken coursework, passed examinations, and met certain competency requirements. Certifications ensure that individuals can not only work with students, but have extensive experience in subjects like: research, information literacy, book recommendations, and technology.

Librarians work to make a wide array of information accessible to students, teachers, and administrative staff. In addition to accessibility, librarians work to integrate reading, developing student reading and researching skills.

The following are procedures for attaining Georgia’s school librarian certification; however, it is suggested that prospective librarians contact Georgia’s educational department for clarity on these pathways and associated requirements.

Initial Librarian Certification Process:

In the State of Georgia, prospective media specialists must pass the “Georgia Assessments for the Certification of Educators” (GACE).  Once the Standard Professional certificate in the field of Media Specialist is obtained, the certificate is valid for a 5-year timeframe before it needs to be renewed.

Education Requirements

In the State of Georgia, an individual must have a bachelor’s degree, complete a teacher preparation program that is approved by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission (GaPSC), and pass the Georgia State Teacher Certification Assessments.

In addition to this degree requirement, Georgia also requires a number of State-specific requirements, such as passing special education requirements and meeting standards of conduct. The special education requirements include the completion of coursework in identifying and teaching children with special needs through a GaPSC-approved course. This coursework may be satisfied by earning: 3 semester hours of college credit with a “B” or better, 5 GA professional learning units, a valid National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) certification, or meeting experience exemption guidelines.

GaPSC maintains a database of institutions with an approved program for Media Specialists. The database can be found here. You may also find schools offering Library & Media Science programs in Georgia here.

Experience Requirements

Different levels of Georgia certification require different years of experience. The pre-service certificate does require individuals to complete field work and student teaching. Induction certificates are issued upon completion of all approved Teacher Preparation programs, which involve student teaching and other field work. The Standard Professional Certificate may be renewed every five years and requires three years of successful teaching experience.

The highest certification in the State of Georgia is the Advanced/ Lead Professional. To obtain Advanced Professional certification, one must have at least ten years of acceptable educator experience in addition to other educational requirements. Individuals are eligible for the Lead Professional certificates if they have at least 5 years of educator experience.

More information on the Advanced and Lead Professional certifications can be found here.

Testing Requirements

Applicants are required to take and pass the GACE Program Admission Assessment and the GACE Content assessment. In addition to these two assessments, individuals must also complete the Georgia Educator Ethics Assessment.

Passing the GACE Program Admission Assessment includes the following scores: 200 for Reading, 201 for Math, and 202 for Writing. GACE Content Assessments are required for individuals seeking their provisional, induction, or professional certifications. There are two passing score categories: 220 for Induction, 250 for Professional. Program admission tests range from $78-128 depending on which test is taken (single, any two, or combined). The Content tests range from $123-193 depending on the test taken (single or combined).

There are also publicly available GACE materials posted online here for those interested in taking the assessment.

Background Checks

Background checks are required for individuals interested in working in Georgia public schools. The check is required every five years for certificate renewal. The background check involves fingerprinting and responding to background check questions on the application form. GaPSC may investigate individuals who violate standards of conduct. Individuals who do not meet these standards may not be issued their certificates. There is a $45 fee for background checks.

Application Process

All certifications in Georgia, including the Media Specialist P-12, require the submission of a complete application. Individuals must set up a MyPSC account. Once created, individuals can submit their applications through the Applications/ Documents/ Status link. It is the responsibility of the individual to ensure that all application materials and payments are received. Incomplete applications are usually held for 45-days.

Once completed, the Certification Division staff reviews the application and will notify individuals if they are eligible. The certificate will be available through the MyPSC account. Some certification transactions require a $20 processing fee. Notarizing a certificate will add an additional $20 (i.e., $40 total). There are some exceptions for individuals who are (or are not) currently employed by a Georgia Local Unit of Administration (LUA). The exceptions are clearly defined on GaPSC’s website linked here.

A full list of materials to be submitted can be found here. Typically, the following documentation is needed: transcripts, test scores, experience verification, and verification of lawful presence. The required document does vary slightly depending on which service or certification you are applying for (i.e., initial, renewal, upgrade, etc.). If individuals are unsure of whether or not their application is complete, they can take the following steps:

  1. Submit a certification application through MyPSC. If incomplete, a letter detailing missing documentation will be sent.
  2. Contact GaPSC’s Certification Group. Their contact information is linked here.
  3. Call (404) 232-2500.

The MyPSC portal can be accessed here.

Starting July 1, 2021, Georgia will be transitioning to a paperless application and renewal process. Guidance on this process can be found here.

Alternative School Librarian Certification Process:

There are three alternative certification routes to teach in Georgia: Georgia Teacher Academy Preparation and Pedagogy (GaTAPP), Georgia Non-Renewable Certificate (prospective teachers who have been hired before completing a teacher preparation program), and a Georgia Non-Renewable Certificate (prospective teachers who are not teaching and have not completed teacher preparation program).

Non-Renewable Professional Certificates in the field of Media Specialist can be held for three years and is not renewable. The purpose of this certification route is to allow teachers to gain experience and their certification at the same time.

Education Requirements

To be certified through the GaTAPP program, an individual must have a Bachelor’s degree with a major relevant to their teaching field or have a passing score on the GACE Content Exam. Additionally, the individual must be employed by a Georgia school, be accepted into an approved Teacher Preparation Program, and hold a temporary, non-renewable certificate.

To be certified through Georgia’s non-renewable certificate, an individual must have a Bachelor’s degree or higher, pass the GACE Program Admission Assessment, pass the GACE, pass the GA Educator Ethics Assessments, and hold a temporary, non-renewable certificate.

Experience Requirements

For individuals coming out of state, they may be exempt from Georgia certification guidelines by holding a different state’s certification and having at least five years of experience. Different levels of Georgia certification require different years of experience.

  • The pre-service certificate does require individuals to complete field work and student teaching.
  • Induction certificates are issued upon completion of all approved Teacher Preparation programs, which involve student teaching and other field work.
  • The Standard Professional Certificate may be renewed every five years and requires three years of successful teaching experience.
  • The Advanced/ Lead Professional certification requires at least ten years of acceptable educator experience in addition to other educational requirements. Individuals are eligible for the Lead Professional certificates if they have at least 5 years of educator experience.

More information on the Advanced and Lead Professional certifications can be found here.

Testing Requirements

Passing score on the GACE Program Admission Assessment or exemption through experience.

There are also publicly available GACE materials posted online here for those interested in taking the assessment.

Background Checks

Background checks are required for individuals interested in working in Georgia public schools. The check is required every five years for certificate renewal. The background check involves fingerprinting and responding to background check questions on the application form. GaPSC may investigate individuals who violate standards of conduct. Individuals who do not meet these standards may not be issued their certificates. There is a $45 fee for background checks.

Application Process

All certifications in Georgia, including the Media Specialist P-12, require the submission of a complete application. Individuals must set up a MyPSC account. Once created, individuals can submit their applications through the Applications/ Documents/ Status link. It is the responsibility of the individual to ensure that all application materials and payments are received. Incomplete applications are usually held for 45-days.

Once completed, the Certification Division staff reviews the application and will notify individuals if they are eligible. The certificate will be available through the MyPSC account. Some certification transactions require a $20 processing fee. Notarizing a certificate will add an additional $20 (i.e., $40 total). There are some exceptions for individuals who are (or are not) currently employed by a Georgia Local Unit of Administration (LUA). The exceptions are clearly defined on GaPSC’s website linked here.

A full list of materials to be submitted can be found here. Typically, the following documentation is needed: transcripts, test scores, experience verification, and verification of lawful presence. The required document does vary slightly depending on which service or certification you are applying for (i.e., initial, renewal, upgrade, etc.). If individuals are unsure of whether or not their application is complete, they can take the following steps:

  1. Submit a certification application through MyPSC. If incomplete, a letter detailing missing documentation will be sent.
  2. Contact GaPSC’s Certification Group. Their contact information is linked here.
  3. Call (404) 232-2500.

The MyPSC portal can be accessed here.

Starting July 1, 2021, Georgia will be transitioning to a paperless application and renewal process. Guidance on this process can be found here.

Certification Renewal Procedure

In the State of Georgia, renewal requirements depend on the type of certificate an individual wishes to renew. GaPSC’s Certificate Renewal webpage outlines this information. Renewal requirements also depend on the date at which the certificate expired.

For example, individuals who held a Standard Professional certificate that expired 2010 or earlier, are required to complete an extensive list of steps within 5 years of renewal application. Some steps include: completing college coursework, completing Georgia Professional Learning Units (PLUs) and Continuing Educating Units (CEUs), passing the GACE, and others. Renewal requirements also depend on whether or not the individual is employed by a Georgia LUA at the time of renewal. For example, if an individual is applying for a renewal (expiration date 2018 or later) and is currently working at a GA LUA, then they must complete a professional learning plan in coordination with their supervisor. Their employer must also request for their renewal. The previously linked renewal webpage contains a helpful table outlining all of these requirements for different situations.

Renewals are mainly paperless in the State of Georgia. If an individual is employed by a GA public school, then renewals must be submitted electronically. If an individual is not employed as an educator at the time of renewal, several documents must be submitting including: an update application, processing fee, completion of renewal requirements, and verification of lawful presence. Applications for renewal may be submitted as early as December 1st of the calendar year prior to the expiration date of the certificate.

Provisional certifications are valid for up to three years for those transitioning into an educational career (as long as requirements are met). Provisional certifications are issued for one year, and once an individual enrolls into a GaPSC-accepted program the certificate is extend for two additional years. This certificate is non-renewable. The 5-year Induction certificate is also non-renewable. Conversion from an Induction to a Professional certificate requires 3 years of successful educator experience. Professional Georgia educator certificates are valid for 5 years. Advanced and Lead Professional certificates are valid for 5 years.

The MyPSC portal can be accessed here.

Starting July 1, 2021, Georgia will be transitioning to a paperless application and renewal process. Guidance on this process can be found here.

Certification Reciprocity Process

Depending on an out-of-state educator’s certification, they may be eligible for Georgia certificate based on interstate reciprocity. Interstate reciprocity recognizes teaching credentials issued by other states. Many states participate in interstate reciprocity, but often have their own special requirements as well. Georgia participates in interstate reciprocity, but this does not automatically mean that a prospective educator will be employed.

Individuals who hold temporary or provisional certification must go through the typical provisional to induction to professional certification process in Georgia. If an individual holds a professional certificate, then they have to make sure that they also meet Georgia’s special requirements before employment. A full list of acceptable out-of-state certificates can be accessed here.

Prospective educators must also meet Georgia’s special requirements which can be found here. Out-of-state professional certificate holders are exempt from taking knowledge assessments if they have worked full time in their field for 5 years and were required to pass a content assessment in their out-of-state assessment. Out-of-state educators must also pass ethics evaluations and may need to take special education. To be eligible for GA certification, the individual must hold a valid or expired certificate in a field that is comparable to one of Georgia’s certificate fields. The certificate must also be issued by a US State, District of Columbia, or another qualifying jurisdiction.

The following documents are needed for application:

  • Verification of Lawful Presences
  • Experience Verification Form
  • Copy of Professional, out-of-state certificate (or a webpage where it can be publicly verified)
  • Copy of official score report(s) for content assessments
  • Official transcripts
  • $20 processing fee