Indiana School Librarian Certification Guide - 2022

AKA: Library Media Specialist Licensure

Last Reviewed: November 18th, 2021

School librarians are professionals who are required to fulfill responsibilities in concert with their traditional roles such as organizing and managing the library and other media facilities. As the school curriculum requires that pupils and students be educated in certain matters of media and the use of library resources, school librarians are expected to have a background in teaching. If you intend to become a school librarian, you need to examine thoroughly the certification requirements in Indiana.

Different states have different requirements for school librarians, as well as, other professionals employed within the school system. The requirements show that education professionals are suitable candidates for the positions they fill. As a school librarian, you will be expected to communicate properly and intelligently with students and your colleagues. 

Initial Librarian Certification Process

The state of Indiana has a strict school librarian certification process with requirements that must be met to the letter if an applicant will be certified. Every staff member in the schooling system is expected to be licensed appropriately to practice in Indiana. The certification process acts as a filter to prevent unqualified people from taking jobs that are in direct contact with school-aged children and are meant for qualified individuals. 

The Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) is responsible for certifying educators and other professionals that work within the school system. To work as a school librarian in Indiana, you will first need to obtain a valid “Instructional License” which is synonymous with a teaching license. You will then be required to include a content area relevant to your expertise as a library and media specialist. Including content areas in your license might require some coursework and/or testing requirements. 

The initial educator license is valid for five years after which it must be renewed. Applications for renewal, conversion, upgrade, or other changes that you desire to make to your license can be submitted 45 days or less to expiration. This allows you to leverage more time of validity. The requirements for the certification process have been spelled out by IDOE and must be followed religiously.

Education Requirements

To apply for a teaching license in Indiana, you are expected to have some basic academic qualifications that signify that you have been equipped with knowledge and skills for the job. Fundamentally, you are required to have at least a bachelor’s in a teaching-related field or have undergone a transition to teaching program if your training had nothing to do with teaching. Check here to find approved programs to transition into the teaching profession. IDOE approves of this transition process and in addition to the transition programs, here are some online/distance learning programs to take. 

A master’s in arts that confers teaching competencies on you is also a great fit if you have a bachelor’s in another field. Explore accredited master of arts programs in Library and Information Sciences.

The “Troops to Teachers” program was instituted to offer counseling and referral services to military personnel considering a career change to become teachers. Learn more about the program here.

To prevent a shortage of educators, IDOE also certifies people who have gone through teaching fellowships which will be covered in the next section. For more information about the educational requirements for certification in Indiana go here.

Experience requirement

Undergoing a teacher preparatory program is usually sufficient to give you the exposure to the profession that is required for you to meet the experience requirements. Most educator preparatory programs include a good deal of internship and supervised teaching. Hence, if you took part in one of these, it is likely that you have the required experience to teach and be a school librarian by extension.

Teaching fellowships help recent graduates from various educational backgrounds, as well as career changers to settle into the teaching profession. For example, “Teach for America” takes on exceptional recent college graduates and puts them through a two-year internship; teaching in both urban and rural public schools. This is one way to ensure that these schools are not lacking educators all year round. Learn more about the program here. The Indianapolis Teaching Fellows is another fellowship of this kind. They serve as an alternative route to becoming a licensed educator in Indiana based on educational requirements.

Testing Requirements

While most other states use the Praxis® tests in the school librarian certification process, the Indiana CORE Assessments for educator licensure are used here. Both tests are similar, practically evaluating your knowledge base on relevant topics and concepts relevant to your designation. The tests may include certain questions that do not affect your overall score but are included as evaluations for future administrations.

To qualify for the school librarian certification, you must take the computer-based school librarian test. The test is made up of 100 multiple-choice questions and lasts for 2 hours in total. The allotted time is broken down into 15 minutes for signing a nondisclosure agreement and running a CBT tutorial while the remaining 1 hour and 45 minutes is the testing time. The tests are done all year round and you can book your appointment date on a first-come, first-served basis here. Note that you can choose testing locations in Indiana and nationwide.

The testing fee is $114 which can be paid here. The qualifying score is set at 220 points. Your result will be made available on your account on the website within 10 business days following your test. However, you will receive a preliminary report immediately after the test. Check for preparation materials here and read about the testing rules and regulations here.

Background Checks

The school system is very sensitive which is why it is not surprising that the certification process in some states requires that some degree of background checks be done on every applicant. The background check will thoroughly look into your criminal history to find any questionable traits that will make your presence in the school system be seen as a threat to the safety of the pupils, students, and staff members.

Although not expressly spelled out on the official website, IDOE requires that an inquiry is done into your criminal history. More information on this can be obtained here.

Application Process

Once you have met all the requirements for the educator license, you send in an online application. The first step involves setting up an account for yourself on the Licensing Verification and Information System (LVIS). After this, you will be required to upload all your credentials. Incomplete credentials will often cause your application to be delayed or rejected.

The documents that must be submitted include your transcripts from your institution of higher learning, testing scores and certification of passing, and your verification of experience form (this can be generated here) among others. A sum of $70 will be required from you for a first-time application. $35 for the evaluation of your credentials and $35 to process your license. Note that all fees are non-refundable. For more information about the application process, contact the DOE via email at licensinghelp@doe.in.gov or phone (317) 232-9010.

Renewal Procedure

Your initial educator license is valid for five years after which it must be renewed. A renewal application must be sent using the LVIS platform 45 days or less to the date of expiration. This allows you to leverage the validity period. You must meet all the renewal requirements for your license to be renewed. Not that there is no penalty imposed on you if you do not complete your renewal requirements before expiration. The renewal processing fee is $35.

To renew your license, you must complete six hours of approved college coursework in an education course or at least a course in any area on your teaching license. These courses can be taken at the undergraduate or graduate level. However, the licensing advisor at any institution should be consulted for advice on what the available approved courses are. You can also choose to use a combination of coursework and a Professional Growth Plan (PGP). You will be expected to submit a valid CPR card from your DOE approved provider. See step-by-step instructions for the renewal process here.

Certification Reciprocity Process

Are you a certified school librarian from another state seeking to move to and practice in Indiana? This is likely a top question on your mind – the process of reciprocity. The DOE licenses individuals who had their education in other states. The DOE will first evaluate your credentials and send you a breakdown of places that your credentials are lacking in a letter called “Evaluation/Deficiency Letter”. The letter will be sent to your inbox or SPAM email. If you do not receive this email, you can check the Email Log in your LVIS account. For more information about the reciprocity process and other details about licensure contact IDOE here; licensinghelp@doe.in.gov or phone (317) 232-9010.