Kentucky School Librarian Certification Guide - 2022

AKA: School Media Librarian

Last Reviewed: August 26th, 2022

As a Kentucky school librarian, you will help shape the thinking and learning of a new generation of citizens. Introducing new technology, teaching best practices when using it, and how to maximize its productivity, will all be expected of you as a librarian.

The traditional aspects of being a librarian are expected as well. You will manage collections of books and media. Coordinating with other teachers and staff members to support and reinforce the school curriculum will also be an important part of the job. Your knowledge of and interest in technology, information and its use, and teaching are all essential to this career field. Before you can start working in the field you must be certified.

Initial Kentucky School Librarian Certification Guide

Certification is a method of ensuring school librarians, and other staff, meet the requirements to operate effectively. These requirements are necessary, so the state knows everyone has the same basic knowledge. This allows individuals working in the school system to be able to communicate and coordinate well with each other. This becomes necessary when supporting the curriculum by developing lesson plans.

It has the added benefit of setting a barrier to entry. This means that not just anyone can become a librarian, keeping the field competitive. Salaries are kept steady, and likely to increase, as a result.

The certification for which you apply depends on where you are in the learning process. If you have completed the teaching requirements but not yet finished those for library science, then you must apply for a teacher’s certificate first. After you have the Kentucky teacher’s certificate and completed the required coursework for library science you can apply for the School Media Librarian, Specialized Certificate.

Part of the certification process is a background check. – We’ll look at this in more detail later. This screening helps prevent individuals who might be a danger to others, children in particular, from being hired. So, expect to have your history, academic, criminal, and employment looked at closely.

Educational Requirements

To be a Kentucky school librarian working with students in kindergarten through 12th grade, you need a teacher’s preparatory courses and a master’s degree. The basic study has to be in teaching: learning how to teach before learning about running a library. The master’s course work is in Library Science. Search all Library and Information Science degree programs in Kentucky.

Searching for a school at which to develop yourself into a librarian may not be easy. There are many places from which to choose. It is probably best to look at schools within the state where you want to be a school librarian (or explore online options). These institutions of higher learning are more likely to have a curriculum that will meet the state requirements. Start with these points 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 list is an overview. It puts you at the starting line when seeking a place to study for your degree in library science. Search here to find all Library and Information Science degree programs in Kentucky.

Experience Requirements

Work experience is practice with the added benefit of work. When you practice what you’ve learned in the real world, you gain skills that are hard to teach. You gain skills that can easily be transferred into your job as a school librarian.

This real-world experience comes in handy when interviewing for a job. It allows you to speak from the viewpoint of having done the work. It proves that you know what you are talking about and can be productive as a school librarian. It should convince a prospective employer or school administrator that you are the right candidate for the job.

Kentucky has no experience requirements for school media librarian.

Testing Requirements

Kentucky requires you to pass the Praxis II School Media Librarian Test (5311) with a minimum score of 156

This test is given by Educational Testing Services, or ETS (ETS.org). The fee is $120.00 for the test. A practice test is available for $19.00. It will help you prepare.

Go to the ETS website for an overview of Kentucky requirements. Look for School Media Librarian under All Other Grades Categories. Click on the link to get a closer look at the test.

Background Checks

A background check is necessary to keep the workplace safe. It ensures that your coworkers aren’t a danger to others. School officials and parents can rest assured that staff members aren’t criminals and dangerous to students or each other.

Checking your criminal, academic, and employment background is all part of the Kentucky school librarian certification process. Use this application for reference only. Scroll down to page three. Here information is collected to judge your fitness to be a teacher. This information, along with your Social Security Number and contact information, will be used to conduct a background check. This information will be sent to the FBI, the Department of Kentucky State Police, or the Administrative Office of Courts. The result of this background check will determine if you are an acceptable candidate for hire.

The school district where you plan to teach, or practice will most likely require you to submit a fingerprint card. Contact the school district for more information.

If you wish to start a background check, the contact information is as follows:

Administrative Office of the Courts at AOC Records Unit 100
Millcreek Park
Frankfort, KY 40601
or by phone at 800-928-6381

The Education Professional Standards Board (EPSB) does not directly charge a fee for fingerprint checks. Expect to pay fees to the Kentucky State Police and or the FBI. Follow this link and scroll down to “What Will the Cost be for Applicants to Get Printed?” The table should give you an idea of what to expect.

Application Process

Start an application for Kentucky school librarian by making an account at EPSB. This is an online application. Paper forms are available. This account can be used during your time as a staff member in the Kentucky school system.

If you have never started an online account before look to the lower left on the webpage linked above. There is a slideshow to get you started.

A note regarding paper forms: all the information needed to mail the form to the EPSB is at the top of the form along with phone numbers. Even if you are applying electronically it might help to review the paper form as a reference.

With this in mind, gather your official transcripts and grades. Official transcripts must be mailed to the EPSB or sent from the university, or institution from which you received them, electronically.

Mail official transcripts here:

KDE Certification
300 Sower Blvd., 5th Floor
Frankfort, KY 40601.

Once received, transcripts will not be returned to applicants.

The institution of higher learning where you studied can send the transcripts through email to:

KDELicensure@education.ky.gov

Transcripts that have been printed or forwarded by an applicant will not be accepted. Go to this EPSB webpage for more information.

Kentucky charges $85.00 for reviewing and processing the application. There is a payment section in the online application.

Follow this link for more information about fees and submitting transcripts.

Alternative Librarian Certification Process

There are several alternative paths or routes to certification. The first we will discuss is based on work experience. It is called the “Exceptional Work Experience” route. Within this route, you must have a lot of work experience that can be applied in a school district. A school district will have to offer you work.

You will then apply for a Provisional Teaching Certificate. This certification has to be approved by both the school district where the candidate will be employed and the Education Professional Standards Board. This certificate will be valid for one year.

The other one is called, “Institute Alternative Route.” Using this pathway to certification includes attending institutions approved by the EPSB to get training and the required amount of time or hours. Apply for Provisional Teaching Certificate that is good for one year.

The Institute Alternative is intended for people who wish to teach but their training is in a subject other than teaching.

These are not the only alternative routes to certification. To see the entire list of alternative routes go here or here.

Educational Requirements

As the name of the alternative route to certification indicates the Exceptional Experience path revolves around experience. There are also educational requirements that must be fulfilled. An individual taking this route must have at least a bachelor’s degree and an overall grade point average of between 2.75 and 3.0 on a 4-point scale for the last 60 credit hours of coursework completed in their area of expertise. This must have been from studies completed at a regionally or nationally accredited school.

A graduate degree is also a potential starting point for this route to certification. Again, it’s necessary to have graduated with a 2.75 to 3.0 grade point average, on a 4-point scale, during the last 60 credit hours of coursework. This covers both graduate and undergraduate studies. You must have learned all this at a regionally or nationally accredited school.

If you take the Institute Alternative Route to certification you will need to have a bachelor’s degree in the area you will teach, or it must be related to that area. The grade point requirements are the same. You must have finished with an overall average of between 2.75 and 3.0 on a 4-point scale. To qualify for this certification, you need to have 30 credit hours in your field of study. This includes graduate and undergraduate work. You will be expected to be involved in an internship as part of your working and learning toward teaching.

While engaged in the internship you will also be learning at an approved institute. Here you will have to gain 240 hours of coursework or the equivalent institute credit to teach in elementary school. To work in a secondary school, you must log 180 credit hours at an approved institute.

More information is available here and here.

Experience Requirements

The Exceptional Experience path to certification is, obviously, all about experience. Though the experience may not be related to teaching it must be considered exceptional. The individual must have ten years’ worth of documented work experience in the subject area to be taught. Of course, this will be reflected or demonstrated on the application.

Going through or completing a teaching internship is an expected part of the process.

There are no experience requirements for the Institute Alternative Route.

Any experience you can get that shows what it’s like to be a Kentucky school librarian will be helpful. If you can volunteer in a school library, you will have a better idea of the day-to-day rewards and challenges of the job. You might interview school librarians to find what a typical day is like for them. Any insight you can gain will be valuable.

Testing Requirements

When testing for the Exceptional Experience Alternative Certification you will have to pass a content test. For librarians, this is most likely the Praxis II School Media Librarian Test (5311) with a minimum score of 156. This test is administered by ETS (ETS.org). They will charge you $120.00 for the test. There may be other content tests you will be responsible for passing. Check with the Education Professional Standards Board and your academic advisor to be sure.

There are more testing requirements when taking the Institute Alternative Route. You must have taken the GRE or CASE and had the following scores:

  • A minimum of 500 on the Verbal section of the exam
  • A minimum of 4 on the analytical portion of the exam
  • Passing content tests as designated by the Education Professional Standards Board

However, if you have achieved the highest degree awarded in your field of study, usually a PhD, you will be exempt from the GRE, CASE testing requirements.

Background Check

Background checks keep us safe. They allow us to be productive in the workplace without having to ask ourselves or wonder if we will be threatened. We often take this for granted. Background checks ensure a workplace that is safe for us and the students in our care.

The background check for Kentucky school librarians is part of the application process. You will be expected to provide your contact information and Social Security Number. This information will be used to conduct criminal background checks with the FBI, the Department of Kentucky State Police, or the Administrative Office of Courts.

Reference this sample application. Look under “Disclosure of Background Information.” This will prepare you for the types of questions you will likely have to answer regarding your background.

The school district where you work will probably ask you to fill out a fingerprint card. They will use this to conduct a background check.

There is no background check fee. However, you may have to pay the police or another authorized entity for doing the work of fingerprinting.

Follow this link and scroll down to “What Will the Cost be for Applicants to Get Printed?” The table should give you an idea of what to expect.

Application Process

Completing the certification application process can be done online. Start here to create an account. There is also a slideshow that acts as a quick start guide for the application.

Create an account and be prepared to fill out the application online.

Have your official transcripts scanned so you can upload them as electronic documents. Do this before you start the application. You can also have your transcripts sent from the school from which you received them. Use this email to accomplish this:

KDELicensure@education.ky.gov

Follow this link to a sample application before you start filling in boxes. Keep in mind that this is only for reference.

Official transcripts can be mailed to the Kentucky Education Professional Standards Board.

Mail official transcripts here:

KDE Certification
300 Sower Blvd., 5th Floor
Frankfort, KY 40601.

Once received, transcripts will not be returned to applicants.

Kentucky charges $85.00 for reviewing and processing the application. There is a payment section in the online application.

Follow this link for more information about fees and submitting transcripts.

Certification Renewal Procedure

To renew your existing certification or upgrade it you must have an account with the EPSB. Here you will track the current status of your certification and any renewals or upgrades you may be attempting.

To renew your teaching certificate, you must be able to show you have taught in the classroom three out of the last five years or have six semester hours of credit. The superintendent where you taught must sign the affidavit of your teaching hours or you must submit an official transcript of the six semester hours.

Send the official transcripts as you would when initially applying for certification. Scan them and send electronically, mail them or have them emailed from the institution from which you earned them.

Mail them to:

KDE Certification
300 Sower Blvd., 5th Floor
Frankfort, KY 40601

To have them emailed:

KDELicensure@education.ky.gov

Transcripts that have been printed or forwarded by an applicant will not be accepted. Go to this EPSB webpage for more information.

The renewal fee is $50.00. Check this webpage for the fee schedule.

Certification Reciprocity

Librarians and teachers from outside the state who wish to practice in Kentucky must have completed an approved course of study to qualify. The Education Professional Standard Board accepts recommendations from regionally and nationally accredited schools. Kentucky, like other states, has its requirements that they expect individuals to meet.

It is necessary to show two or more years of experience teaching at the expected grade levels. This has to be verified by the superintendent or employer where the in-class teaching occurred.

If the candidate has less than two years of teaching experience it’s necessary to pass the Praxis II content tests. Praxis tests are provided by Education Testing Services or ETS (ETS.org). The applicant may have to contact the Education Professional Standard Board to clarify which content tests are necessary. Passing all the content tests and the Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT) test for the appropriate grade range are required.

Kentucky is part of the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC) Interstate Agreement. This is a reciprocity agreement among states. It does not mean that certified teachers from another state will automatically be able to step into a classroom and start teaching in Kentucky. Each person applying for certification will be judged on their own merits.

When applying in Kentucky the interested candidate must apply for a Statement of Eligibility or SOE for a teacher. This is done through the EPSB website. Start an account at the link.

Prepare ahead to submit all your official transcripts and grades. Scan your official transcripts to upload them to the online application through the website. You can mail your official transcripts here:

KDE Certification
300 Sower Blvd., 5th Floor
Frankfort, KY 40601

Or have them emailed from the institution or school where you received the training. Use this email:

KDELicensure@education.ky.gov

You can find more information here, Candidates Trained Outside of Kentucky.

Expect to pay $85.00 for the application to be reviewed and processed.

A background check is part of the application process. When you submit your contact information and Social Security Number it will be used to check your employment and criminal background. This information will be sent to the FBI, and, the Department of Kentucky State Police, or the Administrative Office of Courts for this purpose.

Fingerprinting is usually part of the background check. This is often done by the school district that intends to employ you. The fees for this service are charged by the police department or another authorized, experienced fingerprinting entity. Click here to find out more about fingerprinting fees.

So, whether you’re coming from within Kentucky or outside the state we hope this guide will help you prepare to become a school librarian. Start early and prepare.

Prepare to lead learners on a journey of discovery. A journey that can be reached through the magic of books, technology, and information. You will be their conduit for knowledge. Knowledge provided by the resources at your fingertips as a librarian. Again, these resources will be books, technology, and media. All this will be in the service of the school curriculum. You will not do this job alone. It will be part of a coordinated effort with other teachers and staff members where you will be working.

Along the way, you may manage to help students be life-long readers and learners. To turn into citizens who will use what they were taught to think critically.