Idaho School Librarian Certification Guide - 2024

AKA: Idaho Teacher Librarian Certification

by Staff

Updated: December 1st, 2023

The fascinating world of the school librarian isn’t what it used to be. The school librarian today isn’t only concerned with books. Technology and technology training make up a significant part of the job. Finding, using, and organizing information is a critical part of what school librarians do. Books and publication as a source of information are still necessary for reference. However, books on shelves, are seldom the primary source. We are more likely to consume this material as text in some electronic form.

This brings with it ethical and other challenges. Showing young learners not only how to find accurate information but how to use it responsibly is a big and expected part of the job.

Initial Idaho Librarian Certification

Being certified as a school librarian in the state of Idaho is the first step toward practicing in this career field. The certification shows that the state agrees that you are ready to begin serving in their school system. Certification indicates that you have met the requirements, through the study of the necessary course work, to begin your practical teaching experience.

Certification is required to ensure all professionals start at a similar place. This helps communication between stakeholders when developing material for students. This starting point makes it easier to standardize job duties and professional development across school systems and districts. This is based on everyone having similar knowledge from which to draw.

When applying to be a librarian in Idaho you will seek a Teacher’s License with a Teacher Librarian endorsement.

Educational Requirements

Idaho’s State Department of Education (SDE) looks first for a teaching license before it will issue a certification. You will need to have completed a bachelor’s degree or teacher preparation program in Idaho or at an approved institution of higher learning. It’s important the school from which you get your degree is approved by the SDE.

Though you will be a school librarian, the endorsement added to the Teacher’s certificate is called Teacher Librarian. It’s necessary to earn the Teacher Certificate first. More coursework in Library Science, as well as practical fieldwork, are necessary to get the Teacher Librarian Endorsement. Find library and media science degree programs in Idaho.

There are a few options when it comes to taking the required Idaho Comprehensive Literacy Course. You can take the course at Pesky Learning Center. The course fee is $385.00. In it, you will learn about literacy instruction. It’s a self-directed course, you can do it when you have extra time, but you have 90 days from your registration to finish it.

Idaho State University offers the same study track, the Idaho Comprehensive Literacy Course. It’s offered online for $215.00 and has to be completed a year from your registration date. 

Boise State has a webpage about the literacy course as well. At the time this article was written testing was not available. However, there are some links to competency guides that may be helpful.

Finding a place to learn to be a teacher may not be easy as there are so many choices. It is probably best to start looking in the state where you want to teach. The programs in that state will most likely be designed to meet the requirements for certification. 

Start your search here to find library and media science and teaching programs in Idaho.

A few practical points to keep in mind:

  • Is the school or program accredited by the American Library Association (ALA)?
  • Review the courses offered to make sure the school will meet your needs.
  • Understand the tuition and fee structure at a school. Cost can vary from person to person.

The above pointers are by no means exhaustive. Go to the ALA website for more details. Remember this information, it may help you with your professional development as well.

Once the Teacher Certification is received it is good for five years. At this time, it must be renewed. You are expected to have at least six credit hours of professional development, for renewal. Include the transcripts with your renewal application. Do not renew before January first of the fifth or last year of your certification. The SDE has an informative web page dedicated to teacher certification renewal. The Idaho State Department of Education (SDE) has an easy-to-navigate website with a lot of information.

Experience Requirements

Any experience you can gain, as an intern or volunteer, will prepare you for your first day as a librarian. However, there are no experience requirements to be an Idaho school librarian.

Testing Requirements

Idaho requires an applicant for school librarian certification to pass one test: the Praxis II Library Media Content Test, 5311. It tests your knowledge about library organization and management, in detail. The minimum passing score for Idaho is 151. 

Educational Testing Service or ETS ( administers the exam. To learn more about the Library Media Content Test (5311) for Idaho librarians go to the Praxis Idaho web page. Be prepared to download and print your Praxis score to mail it to the Idaho education department or SDE. 

ETS collects a fee of $120.00 from you for the test. A practice test is available through ETS for $19.00. It’s a good way to prepare for it.

Background Checks

Background checks help us stay safe in the workplace. If everyone gets a background check, we can reasonably assume our coworkers are people who will not harm us or others. This becomes even more important when working with children. Parents and guardians want their children in a safe environment. If you’re doing work in which you are unsupervised with minors the school wants to know it’s safe.

The Idaho SDE background investigation check or BIC is part of the certification application process. To complete the BIC start with this form. Fill it out and send the following documents as well:

  • A State Department of Education Fingerprint Card. Instructions for the card are available. Submit the Fingerprint card with your certification application.
  • The SDE charges $28.25, exactly for the fingerprint check. They will accept a check or money order made out to them. They do not accept credit cards. You can also walk in with cash. The payment will not be refunded to you.
  • Get a Fingerprint card by email: Be sure to include your mailing address to receive the card. You can also walk in to make the request in person at 650 W. State St, Boise, ID 83702 Second Floor, Monday – Friday, 8:00am – 5:00pm.
  • Take the Fingerprint card to any police or sheriff’s department or another facility with trained fingerprinting workers. Have your fingerprints “rolled” or taken and have them fill out the accompanying paperwork.
  • For more information about background checks look here.

Application Process

Start the application process for your certification at the Initial Certificate webpage. There are answers to questions you might have. There’s also a link to the Idaho Educator Certification Application. Note: Don’t use this form if you’re renewing your certification.

Fill out the Certification Application. The application starts with a checklist of things that will make up the application packet. Include the following:

  • Transcripts:  Official transcripts are required. They will not accept copies, printouts, faxes, or electronic transmissions.
  • Electronic transcripts from a university or other institution will be accepted. If you are having your transcripts sent from the school, it must be done two weeks after your application has been mailed to ensure they are put in the file.
  • Make sure you indicate how your transcripts will be sent to the Idaho State Department of Education.
  • Add the background check (BIC) form and the completed fingerprint card along with the fee.
  • Write the name of the educational institutions where you did your course work and from which you received your degree.
  • The application form is self-explanatory. However, don’t forget to include your Praxis assessment or test scores.
  • Finally, sign or initial the form. The sections requiring signatures and initials are highlighted in yellow. Don’t forget to put the $75.00 application fee in the envelope with the rest of your information.

Send all your application information or packet, through the mail, to:

State Department of Education

ATTN: Teacher Certification

P.O. Box 83720

Boise, ID 83720-0027

If you have any questions not answered here or want more information, visit the SDE webpage Apply for Educator Certification

Alternative Librarian Certification Process

The Alternative Certification in Idaho is generally for schools/school districts or charter schools that want to bring in a teacher or staff member who doesn’t have the proper certification or endorsement. The Alternative Certification allows the staff member to get in-person experience while working toward the necessary certifications or endorsements.

The Alternative Certification is broken up into four areas:

  • The Content Specialist: this is an accelerated path to get qualified candidates into a school where there is an immediate need for their qualifications or subject matter specialty. It’s valid for one year from the time it is conferred. Additional years may be added if it can be shown that the candidate is actively enrolled and pursuing a preparation program. 
  • Teacher to New Certification/Endorsement: this alternative authorization allows schools or school districts to request endorsement or certification of an individual when a position cannot be filled by someone with the proper certification or endorsement. It is specifically for those who hold an Idaho certification but not the endorsement needed. The Teacher to New Certification/Endorsement is good for one year. It can be renewed for two more years with evidence of progress in an approved preparation program. It cannot be held for three years or more. Take a look at the application.
  • Pupil Service Staff: this is for filling positions for social workers and counselors in an Idaho school.
  • State Board of Education Emergency Provisional: this one-year emergency certification can be requested by a district for someone they’d like to have working with them but does not have a current Idaho certification. The qualifying candidate must have strong content background, two years of educational training and an understanding of teaching. 

The State Board of Education will review the application packet, only complete packets will be reviewed. Once approved the emergency certification will only be valid for the school year (only for one year) for which it was applied and not beyond. If the emergency certification recipient wishes to continue teaching, they must be enrolled in a teacher preparation program. They then must be eligible and apply for Teacher to New Endorsement/Certification.

The SDE webpage Alternative Authorizations for Districts has all the information you may need with related applications and forms. 

Experience Requirements

The experience requirements vary depending on the certification. You will have to demonstrate knowledge in a specific content area to receive the Content Specialist Alternative certification.

The Emergency Provisional Certification requires strong content background and some training and understanding of education.

Testing Requirements

Testing is done through an evaluation form that must be submitted with the application packet. It’s called the Uniform Standard for Evaluating Content Competency. Here, you must list all relevant course work, training or service as well as any work experience. It must be related to teaching or working with children. Everything listed is allotted points to be added up at the end of the form. The total number of points provide a guide as to how qualified a candidate is.

Background Check

When applying for an Alternative Authorization you must complete a background check. The background check process is the same as applying for Initial Certification. You must complete and submit:

  • The Background Investigation Check (or BIC) form.
  • A State Department of Education Fingerprint Card. Get the card through email: Don’t forget your mailing address. You can also walk in to make the request at 650 W. State St, Boise, ID 83702 Second Floor, Monday – Friday, 8:00am – 5:00pm.
  • Expect to pay the SDE $28.25, exactly. They will accept a check or money order made out to them. They do not accept credit cards. You can also walk in with the exact cash. The payment will not be refunded to you.
  • Once you have the fingerprint card, take it to a police or sheriffs office, or other place with trained workers, to have your fingerprints taken. Have them fill out the needed paper work.
  • This will all be submitted as part of the application packet.
  • Find out more about the Background check here.

Application Process

The application process for the Alternative Certifications is similar to that of the Initial Certification. An application form must be filled out. It must list all pertinent content knowledge, training or experience. Add the BIC to the packet. 

The application fee is $100.00.

Follow these links to the various applications:

Make sure all forms are signed. Signatures from others requesting your help in their school or district may be necessary. Insert a copy of the school board minutes requesting alternative authorization.

Alternative applications are processed through the Professional Standards Commission. They have a predetermined schedule. Check the schedule and plan with it in mind when sending your application. This may have changed since this article has been written.

Once you have your materials packaged together and ready to mail, send them to:

State Department of Education Certification

PO Box 83720

Boise, ID 83720-0027

There is a Certification Look Up tool on the SDE website. You can use it check your application status.

For any questions not answered above go to Alternative Authorizations for Districts.

Certification Reciprocity

Idaho is part of the NASDTEC interstate agreement. Under this agreement, individuals who hold a valid teacher’s certificate in one state can be issued a three-year, interim certification, in Idaho.

You must also have completed an educator training program from an institution approved by NCATE/TEAC/CAEP, within the last two years.

This does not mean you can simply move to Idaho and start teaching or working as a librarian. You must still apply for and be approved for certification. 

Under Section I: Application Type, indicate you are applying from out-of-state. 

This is the same application required for those seeking an Initial or first-time teacher certification. You’ll have to list all your course work or training and the places from which you received them. Official transcripts are required. They will not accept copies. 

The universities or institutions of higher learning where the course work was completed can electronically send the transcripts. They want to know how your transcripts will be sent. If, for some reason, your transcripts will not be included with your application you must send them two weeks after your application has been received to ensure the application and the transcripts are put in the same file.

The application fee is $75.00. This does not include the background check.

Include the background check form or BIC. A fingerprint card will have to be completed as well. This fee is $28.25. 

Attach a copy of your current, valid license.

Once all the necessary materials are together, send to the following address.

Mail completed application materials to:

State Department of Education

Teacher Certification

PO Box 83720

Boise, Idaho 83720-0027

For more details go to the Idaho State Department of Education webpage, Certificate For Out-of-State Applicants..

Becoming an Idaho school librarian is a chance to share your love of knowledge and technology. Showing others how to find and use the vast knowledge available can be a challenging and rewarding opportunity. Following the information above should help you start down this path.