Nevada School Librarian Certification Guide - 2022

AKA: School Library Media Specialist

Last Reviewed: November 18th, 2021

Licensor: NV DOE

A school librarian is teaching, management, leadership, mentorship, advocacy, and IT specialist position all rolled in one. In Nevada, school librarians are responsible for managing libraries and dispensing accumulated information and knowledge. They help nurture and develop learners’ information research and analysis skills and contribute to the learning process. Here is everything you need to know about Nevada’s school librarian certification process. 

What is School Librarian Certification?

A school librarian certification proves that the recipient has met all the requirements and is qualified to work as a librarian in an educational institution. In the US, education departments award endorsements to certified teachers interested in working as school librarians. This certification process ensures that qualified, skilled, and endorsed teachers manage libraries in school settings. 

The Nevada Department of Education (NDE) oversees all certification-related matters, including school library endorsements. Although anyone can apply for a school library media endorsement, the NDE only considers applicants with valid teaching licensure. But having a teaching license alone does not guarantee certification. Applicants must meet several requirements set by the NDE. 

Why does Nevada require Certification for School Librarians?

In today’s tech-driven society, learners need access to more information to succeed in the job market. They need more from school libraries and librarians than ever before. In the old days, efficient management was enough for schools and students to exploit the benefits of school libraries as primary sources of information. But 21-century school librarians should provide more than library management and administration. 

According to AASL research, high-quality school librarians have a “direct effect on what and how much their students learn.” The role of 21st-century school librarians includes teaching, leadership, technology, information access, and more. Picking a certified educator for this position is crucial now more than ever. To achieve this goal, Nevada put in place a comprehensive school library certification program. If you’re interested in working as a Nevada school librarian, you must meet all the state’s requirements for library media endorsement. 

Initial Librarian Certification Process

Nevada’s librarian certification uses tried-and-tested evaluations to determine whether applicants can fulfill the responsibilities of a school librarian. The NDE offers two types of school librarian endorsements – School Library Media Specialist and Professional School Library Media Specialist. Each option requires a valid elementary, secondary, or special teaching license. 

Applicants must also meet education, experience, and testing requirements to receive an endorsement. A Nevada school library media specialist K-12 endorsement is added to the recipient’s teaching certificate, valid for five years. 

Education Requirement 

According to Nevada Law (NAC 391.255), applicants must have a valid teaching license to earn librarian endorsement. Both School Library Media Specialist and Professional School Library Media Specialist require a teaching license. However, professional library media endorsement has more advanced education requirements. 

There are three ways to earn a School Library Media Specialist, and each pathway has a specific educational requirement.  

Pathway 1: If you have completed a program for school library media specialists, you can apply for a School Library Media Specialist using this option. The program should be NDE-approved or accredited.

Pathway 2: Applicants with a Master’s degree in Library Science from an ALA-accredited school can use this pathway. To earn an endorsement, your MLS should specialize in school librarianship.

Pathway 3: This pathway requires completion of 21 semester hours of coursework in: 

  • School library organization and administration. 
  • Library materials cataloging and classification. 
  • Bibliography and information skills. 
  • Use and selection of educational library media.  
  • Children’s literature.  

Applicants for Professional School Library Media Specialist endorsements must meet three education requirements. First, you should have a master’s degree in any field. Second, meet all the requirements for a School Library Media Specialist (listed above). Third, complete an additional nine semester hours in IT, educational technology, or curriculum and instruction. 

Experience Requirement

Teachers and librarians must interact with students to impart knowledge. If you have never taught children or young adults, your job as a school librarian will be challenging right from the start. You need some experience to address specific situations without undermining a student’s confidence and self-esteem. The core responsibilities of school librarians include administration, organization, and selection of educational materials. These tasks are more practical than theoretical and require a few years to perfect. Experience is essential for school librarians to fulfill their responsibilities.

Nevada’s librarian certification has specific experience requirements for each type of endorsement. Applicants for School Library Media Specialist endorsement must have some experience in computer use in the library. They must also complete a supervised practicum in an elementary or secondary school. If you’re applying for Professional School Library Media Specialist, you need at least three years of experience as a librarian in state-approved or accredited schools. You’ll also satisfy this requirement if you worked as a School Library Media Specialist for three years. Your employer or school should fill out the NDE Teaching or Work Experience verification form. 

Testing Requirement

Nevada is one of a few states that don’t require testing for school librarian endorsements. In most states, applicants must pass the Praxis II Library Media test or other external tests. But the passage of the Praxis Teaching Content Test is part of Nevada’s teacher licensure. If you have a valid Nevada educator license, you won’t need to take the Praxis II test for an endorsement.  

If you are applying for School Library Media Specialist using pathway 3, you must complete 21 semester hours of course work. The NDE will select the appropriate subject test areas after evaluating your certificates and qualifications. Applicants must complete a supervised practicum to receive an endorsement. To earn Nevada’s Professional School Library Media Specialist, you must complete nine semester hours in curriculum and instruction or IT. 

Background Checks

School librarians interact and work with children and young adults within and outside the school. So, background checks are essential to ensure the safety of children. This process also enhances trust and allows parents to have peace of mind. 

Nevada law (NRS 391.033) requires the NDE to conduct criminal history background checks on all applicants for teaching or librarian positions as part of the licensure process. Applicants have to send their fingerprints with their applications to the NDE. You can submit your fingerprints electronically to the NDE via Livescan. 

  • Open an OPAL account. 
  • Submit your licensure application and pay $180 via OPAL to receive a verification email with links to Department-approved Livescan vendors. 
  • Visit approved Livescan vendors for electronic fingerprinting and submission. 

Use a vendor in Nevada for fingerprinting because the NDE does not accept out-of-state Livescan submissions. The NDE allows applicants to submit fingerprint cards for a background check. You can use this option if you don’t have access to an approved Livescan location. After submitting your application and payment, visit a police station to take your fingerprint and print it on a card. This service costs $60, payable online to that police department. 

Ensure the official taking the fingerprints signs your fingerprint card. Then, submit your signed card to the Office of Educator Licensure either in person or by mail. Note that you must complete two background checks for the Nevada Department of Education and your school district at least every five years.   

Application Process 

Nevada’s librarian certification process went paperless on July 1, 2018. You can only apply online. To begin, click this OPAL link. 

Step 1: Create an OPAL account. If you already have an OPAL account, log in with your password. You can also change the email attached to the account by selecting the Change UserName link. If you don’t have access to the attached email, send an email to license@doe.nv.gov.  

Step 2: Fill in the librarian endorsement application form. 

Step 3: Upload official documents and educational certifications. You can request your college, university, or clearinghouse to send original transcripts to transcripts@doe.nv.gov. Applicants residing around Las Vegas or Carson City can drop off their transcripts at the NDE offices. 

Step 4: Submit your fingerprints to the NDE for background checks. You can send a Livescan or fingerprint cards to: 

Nevada Department of Education
Attn: Office of Educator Licensure
2080 E. Flamingo Rd., Ste. 210
Las Vegas, NV 89119

If you completed background checks for Nevada Teacher Licensure less than five years ago, skip Step 4. Applying for a Nevada school library media endorsement costs $50.00, payable with a credit or debit card via your OPAL account. 

Certification Renewal Procedure

Nevada teaching certificates and endorsements are valid for five years. Library Media Specialist endorsements are attached to the standard or professional teaching license. The NDE requires school librarians to renew their teaching licenses up to 9 months before the expiration date. Renewing your teaching license will automatically renew the attached Library Media Specialist endorsement. 

You must meet renewal hours – 15 hours per year for standard and professional teaching licenses. Request your School District HR or supervisor to send a letter to the NDE verifying the number of in-service hours completed per year. You can use this renewal checklist to ensure you meet all the requirements. To renew your license, follow these steps: 

Step 1: Log in to your OPAL account via https://online.nvdoe.org/#/. 

Step 2: Answer all questions in the OPAL application and upload documentation and credentials attached to your professional license.  

Step 3: School librarians can drop off their transcripts at the NDE offices or request their college, university, or clearinghouse to send them to: transcripts@doe.nv.gov.  

Step 4: Nevada Law NRS 391.033 requires a criminal background check for the renewal of licenses. After paying the applicable fees through OPAL, you will receive Background and Fingerprinting instructions from the NDE. 

Renewing a Nevada teaching license costs $150 and an additional $50 for Library Media Specialist endorsement. The NDE defines an expired teaching license as a “reapply.” You will pay $180 to renew a lapsed teaching license and $50 for the endorsement. 

Certification Reciprocity Process

Nevada has reciprocity agreements with several states under the NASDTEC and the Interstate Agreement. If your out-of-state endorsement is comparable to the NDE Library Media, you may earn a Nevada endorsement. An applicant with a valid Professional Teaching License or National Board Certification can receive a Professional School Library Specialist. 

If your out-of-state teacher license is incomparable to Nevada’s Professional Teaching License, you must meet all NDE’s requirements to earn a School Library Specialist endorsement. Out-of-state certified teachers seeking a Nevada school library media endorsement can apply using this certification reciprocity process: 

Step 1: Go to https://online.nvdoe.org/#/ and create an OPAL account. 

Step 2: Fill in the self-disclosure section and the OPAL application. 

Step 3: Go to the “experience” section under the “out of state licensure” area in OPAL and upload your teaching license into the OPAL system as a PDF. The NDE evaluates reciprocal licensure based on a license-for-license basis. If you have a valid, non-provisional out-of-state teaching, you may be eligible for reciprocal licensure. 

Step 4: The NDE may request out-of-state applicants to complete additional coursework or fulfill testing requirements to earn a Nevada teaching certification and school librarian endorsement. 

Step 5: Submit proof of completion of all academic requirements for the endorsement. In this step, you should submit original transcripts issued by an accredited college or university. Request your college or university to send your transcripts to the NDE via transcripts@doe.nv.gov. You can also drop off your papers in person at the NDE Las Vegas or Carson City office. 

Step 6: Pay the applicable fees through OPAL to receive Background Check and Fingerprinting instructions. 

In most cases, the NDE awards a Non-Renewable license that allows you to teach for one year while completing the coursework. Nevada’s certification reciprocity costs $180, payable with a credit or debit card via your OPAL account. However, out-of-state teachers with direct or indirect connections to the US military are eligible for a $50 discount. 

The State of Nevada offers a time-efficient school librarian certification process. As a Nevada school librarian, you can put your skills and experience to nurture responsible future leaders. This role is satisfying and rewarding. To earn Nevada’s School Library Media Specialist endorsement, follow this step-by-step guide.