New Hampshire School Librarian Certification Guide - 2022

AKA: Library Media Specialist, Library Media Coordinator

Last Reviewed: November 18th, 2021

Becoming a New Hampshire School Librarian can allow you  to change the lives of generations of students. From fostering a love of literature at a young age to introducing kids to new technologies, librarians fill a number of educational roles that other teachers simply cannot.

In New Hampshire, school librarians are in demand but are still required to meet a variety of requirements in order to start their careers. First, applicants are expected to have a teaching license or certificate. In most cases, they will also need to have passed at least two college courses in Library Science or be able to demonstrate sufficient experience working in the field.

Though the traditional process is both comprehensive and straightforward, there are many paths to becoming a certified school librarian. Educators looking to pursue a career as a New Hampshire school librarian should read up on the following information, which outlines the state’s educational, testing, and experience requirements in detail.

The Initial Librarian Certification Process

As stated, rather than offer a specific librarian certification, New Hampshire applicants are required to obtain a Teaching License and provide documentation of experience or education in the field. That said, to avoid confusion, we will refer to the “license” and “certification” interchangeably.

Educational Requirements

In New Hampshire, there are two types of Library Media endorsements, each with different educational requirements. The first is known as a “Library Media Specialist” and entitles the licensee to work with children K-12. The State of New Hampshire requires that all applicants hold at least a Bachelor’s Degree and be able to demonstrate specific skills, competencies, and knowledge related to the position.

The second title is that of a Library Media Coordinator. This requires a Master’s Degree in Library Science or a related field. It also requires a minimum of three years experience as a Library Media Specialist, positive recommendations from supervisors, and the ability to demonstrate competencies in the field.

Search all Library and Information Science degree programs in New Hampshire.

Typically, applicants will attain their degree while also participating in a professional educator preparation program. These programs must be approved by the New Hampshire Department of Education and abound throughout New Hampshire colleges. That said, there are many independent educational organizations as well. After completing each program, prospective librarians will be recommended for a Beginner Education Certification by the program Chairperson – an endorsement that lasts for up to three years.

Though stringent to some degree, the NHDOE makes a variety of allotments for educators from both in-state and out. Out-of-State applicants will be happy to learn that they do not need to attend a New Hampshire-approved educational program providing that their program was properly accredited in their home state. However, it is worth noting that any educators with an out-of-state license that has expired by NH definitions (over three years) will have to renew through the NHDOE website.

Experience Requirements

As educators fulfill such an important societal role, it should come as no surprise that New Hampshire requires a certain amount of experience in order to receive state certification. This experience mostly comes in the form of student teaching, but other avenues can be counted depending on the situation. Thankfully, all approved professional educator preparation programs in the state are already required to provide such field experiences to their students.

In these experiences, prospective educators are asked to assume a wide range of teaching roles and other responsibilities. However, rather than be left alone, they will be closely supervised by a more experienced educator. Though the time frames associated with these experiences will vary from program to program, most will require a full semester of experience in the student’s chosen area. For prospective librarians, this usually means 15-17 weeks spent performing supervised library duties.

Such “trial periods” are crucial to both potential librarians and their employing school districts. For example, some first-time teachers end up discovering that their passions lie elsewhere (be it in another profession or in another area of education). Meanwhile, those that remain on the same path can get hands-on experience working with the latest technology and real children.

Testing Requirements

Most states require prospective teachers to undergo a number of assessments to demonstrate that their knowledge and experience is adequate enough to perform the job. New Hampshire is no different. Evaluation begins with an examination of basic skills like reading, writing, and mathematics, which is done through the administration of a Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators exam.

Depending on the applicant’s desired position, they may have to attend only one test or several. Costs range from $55 (plus location fees) to $146 per test. However, candidates who scored above the 50th percentile on their high school SAT or ACT exams may be able to skip the test altogether.

Educators must also take subject-specific Praxis exams, but this does not apply to those seeking work as a School Librarian. That said, some schools may require librarians to take the Foundations of Reading test, which is administered by Pearson Education. The associated fee for this test is $139.

See the Praxis website for more information.

Background Checks

By definition, all teaching positions put adults in close contact with children. This is why almost all states require a mandatory background check of new educators. Though this may seem invasive to some, it is very important to instill trust in the educational system and in specific schools. That said, New Hampshire itself does not require a background check when applying for certification. Only upon seeking employment with a school district will the applicant have to complete a School Employee Criminal History Records Check.

Several types of background checks may be imposed by the hiring school. The first is a federal background check, which searches through a national crime registry for convictions associated with any particular individuals. After a short waiting period, Human Resource departments can see crimes committed in any state as well as the penalties, fines, jail time, and probation assigned to the applicant.

Though each school will have its own rules as to what renders a person ineligible for employment as a librarian, generally, those who have been convicted of a felony or any crime involving children will be immediately ruled out. If you want to be a teacher but have such a crime on your record, you may wish to speak with a professional about your employment options early on in the process.

There are also state background checks, which will show all crimes committed in New Hampshire and/or the applicant’s state of origin. Again, officials are looking for any serious crimes, violent crimes, or felonies, as well as any crimes that relate to the abuse or neglect of a minor. New Hampshire also requires that fingerprints be submitted upon the initiation of a background check. Costs for these tests are generally around $20 – which usually just goes to cover processing fees.

School districts may initiate additional background checks. This may include the contacting of references, both professional and personal. The goal here is to get a feel for the potential librarian’s character, temperament, and history. It also serves to help prove that an applicant is who they say they are and has done what they say they have.

The Application Process

Attaining either of the two Librarian positions starts by gathering the proper materials. In terms of endorsements, an applicant must complete a BASA (Basic Academic Skills Assessment) and a Praxis Exam and have a digital copy of the results. They must also file a copy of their previous work record, education record, and transcripts showing proof of the Bachelor’s degree and completion of a teacher preparation program. If applying for the Library Media Coordinator position, applicants must also provide a minimum of three confidential references from persons who are in a position to vouch for their knowledge and abilities. As stated, superintendents, supervising teachers, and school administrators are typically preferred.

The next step is to visit www.education.nh.gov, which is part of New Hampshire’s Division of Educator Support and Higher Education. You will first be asked to create an account on the NHDOE system, which includes a user name and password. You will also be asked to read and agree to a Code of Ethics and Code of Conduct. After that, you can submit the proper documentation or contact a credentialing specialist for assistance.

The great thing about the NHDOE portal is that it also serves as a starting point for your job search. However, applicants can submit a paper application (downloaded from the aforementioned website) to the following address:

New Hampshire Department of Education

Division of Program Support, Bureau of Credentialing

101 Pleasant St.

Concord, NH 03301-3860

Wait times to hear back from the NHDOE vary based on the number of applications at any given time. Fortunately, the state does provide links for you to check your application status, see if there is any additional information being requested, and so on. You can also contact the Bureau of Credentialing at 603-271-2409 to speak with a state employee regarding the status of your application.

As with all other educators in the state, librarians must apply for a license renewal every three years. The NHDOE oversees this process to ensure all proper standards are met, and there is a $130 fee required at the time each application is submitted.

Alternative School Librarian Certification Process

In order to maintain a fresh supply of educators to schools across the state, New Hampshire offers several alternative teachers license options. These programs are mostly designed for those applicants who already hold Bachelor’s degrees in subjects not related to education. The four options are as follows:

Alternative 3A

Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree and have a minimum of three months teaching full-time at a private school (which typically do not require state teacher certification). All candidates are required to send a letter of intent to the NHDOE, who will respond with a customized list of additional requirements to receive certification. A portfolio of work must also be submitted before an interview is conducted with a board of examiners.

Alternative 3B

The Alternative 3B route to certification requires applicants to earn certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS). Official transcripts of all college coursework and a copy of any current licensures are to be submitted along with the application.

Alternative 4

Educators who wish to teach at a high school level in one of New Hampshire’s critical shortage areas can choose the Alternative 4 path to certification. Shortage locations change from year to year, but application typically involves an interview with the local superintendent rather than a state-level body. Candidates must complete an Individualized Professional Development Plan (IPDP) before receiving a licensure recommendation from that superintendent.  There is a $50 application fee for this option.

Alternative 5

Candidates pursuing an Alternate 5 pathway should hold a bachelor’s degree and possess at least 30 semester hours of experience in their chosen field. These hours can be part of either their post-graduate or Master’s Degree program, or be obtained through employment. However, applicants must be hired into a position by a certified educator and serve in a mentorship with that individual for one year. As with Alternative 4, a recommendation from the district superintendent is also required.

School Librarian Certificate Renewal

As previously stated, every New Hampshire teacher’s certification is good for a total of three years. Renewal is a rather straightforward process, consisting of a $130 payment (with a $50 late fee) and the completion of an online application via the New Hampshire Educator Information System (EIS). Along with each renewal application, librarians and other educators must submit a recommendation from their district’s superintendent verifying that they have made reasonable strides towards professional development in the past three years of employment.

Those applicants not employed by the New Hampshire school system who wish to renew their out-of-state teaching certificates must submit proof that they have earned 75 continuing education units over the past three years. These must consist of 30 units for each area of endorsement and 45 units related to overall educational competency. The out-of-state renewal process involves a simple online form to which the $130 payment and all relevant documentation can be attached.

School Librarian Certification Reciprocity

New Hampshire offers teachers from out-of-state and those who have completed their teacher prep programs in another state the chance to apply for New Hampshire certification. This can be done by visiting the New Hampshire Department of Education website and downloading the appropriate form. Generally, this includes following any instructions for Alternative 2.

Basically, reciprocity is designed to allow educators who hold a license in one state to earn a license in another, providing they meet the new state’s requirements. That said, only citizens of states that are members of the NASDTEC Interstate Agreement may receive reciprocity. This excludes educators who have earned their certifications in both Alaska and Iowa.  A simple fee of $50 is required at the time of application.