Missouri School Librarian Certification Guide - 2024

AKA: Library Media Specialist


by LibrarianCertification.com Staff

Updated: August 23rd, 2022

Licensor: Missouri DESE

Certification, or licensure, involves providing someone or something with an official document that attests to their level of achievement or status. Having certification in library services in the state of Missouri means that the individual has met all the state-mandated criteria to work as a librarian in the particular jurisdiction. Certification for school librarians, in addition for requiring competency and education level, also screens candidates for felonies that are thought to be dangerous towards children.

Certification also serves as a boon for school librarians, creating a barrier to entry for the general public to create a more competitive job market. As a result, it holds steady salaries and benefits for the school librarians.

Initial Librarian Certification Guide

The technical name for the certification being sought is “School Library Certification.” The administration in Missouri is keen to ensure that all the school librarians have met the minimum requirement set by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. The certificates must be renewed after four years, subject to completing the requirements during the four years. 

Education requirements

A librarian has to meet specific educational requirements to work in a school setting. Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has set up education requirements that one has to meet to become a librarian in the state. A certification candidate must meet at least one of the following:

  • A bachelor’s degree in Library and Information Sciences. 
  • Students who already have a teaching degree will have to take a 39-hour MLIS degree program to add to their teaching profession. 
  • The students that do not hold a teaching certificate will have to undergo 58-hour that include MLIS course work, including additional hours in teacher education preparation. One is required to at least have a bachelor’s degree to be a school librarian. 

Many school districts prefer librarians who have a Masters in Library and Information Sciences from a school that has been accredited by the American Library Association (ALA). Find all schools offering Library and Information Science degree programs in Missouri. 

Experience requirements 

There are no specific requirements that outline the level of experience required to be a certified librarian in Missouri. However, it is essential to have some experience working in a library before graduation. Experience may be obtained by working as a volunteer, library assistant, page, or even part of the final year graduate school project or an internship in a given library. The years of experience required for one to be a librarian vary from one institution to the other. 

Testing requirements 

Each school librarian certification candidate has to pass the Missouri Educator Getaway Assessment exams to be certified in the state. Candidates for certification will specifically need to pass the Missouri Content Assessments. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has put the cut score for all the Missouri Content Assessment at 220.

Many test takers have found familiarizing yourself with the Frequently Asked Questions regarding the Missouri Content Assessments helpful prior to sitting down for the exams. 

In order to find the correct test code by certification area, open the following pdf list of assessments by the program.

Some of the candidates may need to take more than one attempt to pass the tests, and that is why the one needs to check with the academic advisor to find out the most appropriate time to do the tests. Doing the exams early enough gives the person a chance to redo the exams if passing the first time proves illusive.  

Background checks 

Prior to being awarded a Missouri Library Media Specialist certification, candidates will need to submit to a criminal history background check. You will need to pre-register online through the Missouri Automated Criminal History Site (MACHS). You can review the procedures and guidelines on the Missouri Department of Education website.

The fee for conducting a background check is currently $41.75.

Application process 

The application for the public librarian certification typically requires: 

  • Basic contact information
  • Candidate’s work status
  • Educational background. 

Librarians have to submit documentation that shows their education level such as copies of their academic transcripts that show their academic qualifications. The candidates are supposed to pay a non-refundable registration fee of $20. Once the applicant has submitted the necessary documents, the state certification board then reviews the application then issues the certification. It is important to note that the certification could also be rejected if the applicant has not met the requirements. 

The application process is now completely online. To begin the process, click here.

Mail supporting documents to the following address:

Educator Certification

P.O. Box 480

Jefferson City, MO 65102

Alternative Librarian Certification Guide

The alternative librarian certification pathway is a method for school districts to fill school librarian vacancies in an expedited manner. This means that some of the typical requirements for certification may initially be waived.

Education requirements

  • A Master’s Degree in any field
  • The candidate should have a GPA of 3.0 or higher 
  • Missouri Teacher Certification 
  • Should have a teaching record with two years of active and successful teaching
  • Most recent Missouri Educator Evaluation System (MEES) standards

Experience requirements

Certified teachers with a Master’s Degree and who have been teaching for two years interested in pursuing Missouri certification as school librarians may apply for the Alternative Librarian Certification Process. The process has been designed to help the teaching profession join the librarian profession in the best way possible. The admission process is made of two steps: a selection and screening process and the structured interview process conducted by the Alternative Education Director. The first step consists of the academic criteria and other selection criteria. 

The other selection criteria include: 

  • Professional recommendations 
  • Writing sample 
  • A written record of accomplishments that include noticeable leadership skills from the Missouri standards

Testing Requirements

A select panel goes through the academic criteria, assessing the candidate’s scores informal education. The certificates, testimonials, and other documents are passed through intense scrutiny, establishing if the candidates are qualified to go through the program. The application pool is reviewed to determine if the people who applied for the program have all that it takes to succeed and become good school librarians in the future.  The fairness of the screening process is established by allowing all the panel members to assess the documents that have been provided. The professional recommendations, writing sample, and written record of accomplishments are essential because they are used in assessing the job skills, personal character, scope or responsibilities, and past performance exhibited by the candidates. 

After the selection and screening process and the potential candidates then qualify for the next step. In the second step, the candidates then have to attend a structured interview under the guidance and assessment of the Alternative Education Program Director. The screening process gives essential information about the candidate that will gauge if the person has all required to become a librarian in Missouri. The screening and assessment processes are critical because they assess the multidimensional picture of the candidate, emphasizing the past accomplishment and the potential that they have to work better in the library sector.  The structured interview is crucial because it introduces more objectivity in the selection process. Having a standardized list of questions, the necessary conclusions can therefore be made about the candidate. The candidates that successfully pass through the process are likely to be successful. 


The Alternative Librarian Certification Process will cost the candidates $5,500. The interns are expected to select one of the approved payment plans once they have been accepted into the program. The candidates also need to pay an initial non-refundable fee of $75. The registration fees have to be paid in full for the candidate to join the program. The fees may be paid in installments, but it is advisable to ensure that the amount is paid all at once. 

Certification Renewal Procedure

Qualification for the application of certification renewal

The librarian initially applies for a four-year certificate that requires annual evaluation, two years of mentoring, a professional development plan, beginning the teacher assistant program, and finishing 30 contact hours of professional development during the four certification years. Once the librarian has completed the four years of work experience and requirements, they may apply for the continuous career certification. 

The application for the certification renewal can be made online through the certification account portal. The certification account portal makes it possible for the candidate to apply for the certificate, print the certificate, view the certificate pending application, view the assessment scores, check the receipts and transcripts, and check the background and fingerprint status. The candidates also have to pay a non-refundable fee for the renewal. 

Certification Reciprocity Process 

The interstate certification reciprocity makes it easier for a licensed librarian in one state to work in another state in the same position because the certification process and requirements are identical. A state often imposes its state-specific requirements that are part of an interstate reciprocity agreement. Missouri takes part in the NASDTEC Interstate Agreement. Rep. Derek Grier sponsored HB 2046 that allows individuals with professional licenses in the other states to acquire an equal license in Missouri for some jobs. Gov. Mike Parson signed a bill in 2020 that expanded licensing reciprocity in the state. Missouri has an agreement with various states regarding certification reciprocity, including Alabama, Louisiana, North Dakota, Florida, Tennessee, Nevada, Georgia, Texas, New Hampshire, Hawaii, Utah, New Jersey, Virginia, New Mexico, and Idaho. School Librarian Certification can be reciprocated from one jurisdiction to the other. 

The licensed librarian needs to contact the IC and RC Member Board in the jurisdiction to relocate to get more information about the requirements to reciprocate credentials. The librarian then contacts the current IC & RC Member Board on how they can apply for reciprocity. They then complete the application process then gives the current board the necessary fees. The number of fees to be paid during the reciprocal process will be dependent on the state that the certified librarian comes from and the state that they want to move to in the certification reciprocal process. The current board reviews the application made then sends it to the IC and RC, which then approves it and notifies the librarian. After the notification, the IC and RC then send the application to the board of the new location. The librarian will then be notified when the process has been completed. 

You can begin the certification application online.