New Jersey School Librarian Certification Guide - 2022

AKA: School Library Media Specialists, SLMS, Associate School Library Media Specialist, ASLMS

Last Reviewed: August 23rd, 2022

Licensor: NJ DOE

Are you certified to teach in public schools in New Jersey (NJ) but want a career beyond the classroom? Consider becoming a school librarian. You’ll work the same flexible schedule as teachers, including summers off. NJ librarians earn an annual mean wage of $73,510—far above the national average librarian wage of $64,180 (Bureau of Labor Statistics - 2021).

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects employment of Librarians and Media Collections Specialists (25-4022) to grow 2.3% from 2018 to 2028, more than the average growth of all occupations in the U.S. Moreover, NJ has one of the highest employment levels of librarians in the nation.

NJ public school librarians have evolved from mere custodians of print resources to educational roles that address the needs of today’s students. According to Hainesport public school librarian Tricina Beebe, today’s librarians “may be the makerspace (a collaborative work area inside a school or library)  coordinator, the teacher collaborator, a professional development leader, a resource researcher, a grant writer, and a community outreach advocate.”

A primary responsibility of NJ public school librarians is to educate stakeholders in information literacy skills. Librarians also develop and coordinate school library media programs and resources. They deliver “instruction in the evaluation, selection, organization, distribution, creation, and utilization of school library media.” “Media” refers to print, non-print, and digital resources in addition to the technologies required for their use.

While the NJ State Board of Education designates “librarians” as “School Library Media Specialists” (SLMS) (2855), the terms are interchangeable. This article uses “librarian.”

A subordinate position—”Associate School Library Media Specialist” (ASLMS) (2845)—works “under the supervision of a certified school administrator, principal, or supervisor.” An ASLMS can qualify as a librarian by “complet(ing) a graduate degree program at a regionally accredited college or university with a specialization in school library media studies.”

Initial School Librarian Certification Process

Education Requirements

New Jersey requires public school librarians to hold a Master’s degree in Library Science (MLS or MLIS) from an accredited college or university. Candidates must also fulfill education and library science training and certification requisites as prescribed by the state’s Department of Education (NJDE). 

Certification Overview

New Jersey requires certification for all librarians seeking to work in the state’s public schools. This requirement also applies to any institution supervised by the NJDE, including charter schools and educational facilities administered by the Department of Corrections, the Department of Human Services, and the Juvenile Justice Commission. The NJ educator licensing agency is the State Board of Examiners, which oversees the Office of Certification and Induction.

Those seeking to work as public school librarians in NJ must be certified as an SLMS. Candidates have three avenues available to receive SLMS certification. They can qualify for a standard SLMS endorsement, a Certificate of Eligibility (CE) endorsement, or a Certificate of Endorsement with Advanced Standing (CEAS).

The CE is for candidates who have not fulfilled a teacher preparation program.  The CEAS is for candidates who have fulfilled a teacher preparation program. Both require a three-step process for endorsement. Upon completion of these three steps, candidates are eligible for a standard SLMS endorsement. These steps are:

  1. establish eligibility
  2. legalize employment and induction (Provisional Certificate)
  3. permanent certification (Standard Certification)

As defined by Chapter 9 of the NJ Education Code, a “regionally accredited college or university” cited below refers to an institution of higher education accredited by one of these regional accreditation associations:

  • Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools
  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges
  • Higher Learning Commission
  • Northwest Association of School and Colleges
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
  • Western Association of School and Colleges

Standard SLMS Endorsement

To become automatically eligible to receive the standard SLMS endorsement, candidates must hold either:

  • a standard NJ School Librarian or standard Educational Media Specialist (EMS) certificate
  • a standard NJ ASLMS certificate and complete a graduate degree program at a regionally accredited college or university with a specialization in school library media studies (LMS). (Note: LMS is not an MLS or MLIS degree; LMS is an area of specialization in the MLIS study program.)

Certificate of Eligibility (CE)

The CE is a credential with lifetime validity and was formally known as the “traditional route.” In addition to holding a Master’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university, candidates must prove that they satisfy one of these three alternatives to receive a CE:

  • A graduate study program approved by the NJDE as the foundation for the SLMS certificate.
  • A master’s degree in library media studies (LMS) from a regionally accredited college or university.
  • A program of graduate studies composed of at least 36 semester-hour credits in a coherent sequence of studies. See this for a list of program criteria.

We strongly recommend that candidates contact a regionally accredited 4-year college or university to register for courses incorporating this required curriculum. Candidates who believe they have fulfilled these requirements must supply official course descriptions with their application.

After receiving a CE, candidates then qualify for a standard SLMS certificate by confirming that they have satisfied these requirements:

  • Possess a provisional educational services certificate with an SLMS endorsement by obtaining employment in a position requiring the SLMS endorsement.
  • Complete a coherent college program at a regionally accredited college or university that includes at least nine semester-hour credits in educational theory, curriculum design and integration, teaching methodology, student/learning development, and behavior management.

(Here, if candidates believe that this program is included in coursework previously completed, they must request that the school’s Department Chair of their program specify the courses fulfilling the program identified above. Once candidates receive this information from their school, they are to return it for review by their examiner at certapplication@doe.nj.gov. Note that electronic transcripts must be sent directly from the candidate’s college or university.)

  • Complete a year-long, school-based residency program in a school library media center. The candidate will be supervised by either a certified school administrator, principal, or supervisor during the candidate’s provisional year. (Note: As of April 2021, residency requirements have been revised. See this for details.)
  • Complete graduate-level coursework in school library media topics not included in the completed LMS program.

Certificate of Eligibility with Advanced Standing (CEAS)

The CEAS is a credential with lifetime validity and was formally known as the “alternate route.” In addition to holding a Master’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university, candidates must prove that they satisfy one of these two alternatives to receive a CEAS:

  • A graduate course study approved by the NJDE
  • A program of graduate studies composed of at least 36 semester-hour credits in a coherent sequence of studies. See this for a list of program criteria.

Candidates seeking CEAS certification must also fulfill one of the following three options:

  • Hold a standard NJ or out-of-state instructional certificate. (A military science endorsement does not meet this requirement.)
  • Complete an NJDE-approved college teacher preparation program. Student teaching is not required.
  • Complete a coherent college program at a regionally accredited college or university that includes at least nine semester-hour credits in educational theory, curriculum design and integration, teaching methodology, student/learning development, and behavior management.

(Here, if candidates believe that this program is included in coursework previously completed, they must request that the school’s Department Chair of their program specify the courses fulfilling the program identified above. Once candidates receive this information from their school, they are to return it for review by their examiner at certapplication@doe.nj.gov. Note that electronic transcripts must be sent directly from the candidate’s college or university.)

Additionally, to qualify for the standard SLMS certificate following the issuance of a CEAS, candidates must show evidence of fulfilling the following requirements:

  • Possess a provisional educational services certificate with an SLMS endorsement by obtaining employment in a position requiring the SLMS endorsement.
  • Complete a year-long, school-based residency program in a school library media center. The candidate will be supervised by either a certified school administrator, principal, or supervisor during the candidate’s provisional year. (Note: As of April 2021, residency requirements have been revised. See this for details.)

Experience Requirements

As mentioned above, candidates with either a CE or a CEAS must fulfill a school-based residency program in a school library media center.

Testing Requirements

On June 4, 2014, the NJDE adopted a basic skills requirement for public school librarian candidates starting CE or CEAS educator programs. As of September 1, 2015, any candidate applying for a CE must meet the basic skills requirement, which shall be satisfied before beginning program coursework.

Candidates have two options:

Before June 4, 2014, if a candidate passed the Pre-Professional Skills Test (PPST/Praxis I), the NJDE will accept the following scores to satisfy the basic skills requirement. Passing scores for the PPST are Reading—175; Math—174; and Writing—173.

  • Score at or above the cut score for the year in which either the SAT, ACT, or GRE was taken. Cut scores and dates are:

SAT

DATE

MATH

READING

EVIDENCE-BASED READING & WRITING

Prior to 4/1/1995

520

480

NA

Between 4/1/1995 to 2/28/2016

540

560

NA

On or after 3/1/2016

570

NA

610 or 30 Reading Section

ACT

DATE

MATH

READING

Prior to 8/28/1989

23

20

On or after 8/28/1989

23

23

GRE

DATE

QUANTITATIVE

VERBAL

Before 8/1/2011

720

530

On or after 8/1/2011

156

155

NJDE regulations exempt candidates from taking the Praxis Core if their SAT, ACT, or GRE scores are “approximately equal to the top-third percentile for all test-takers in the year the respective test was taken.” The cut scores shown above denote approximate “top-third percentile score.”

Regardless of the test date, the NJDE accepts the highest score on each test section. Candidates must show competency in Math, Reading, and Writing on the appropriate sections of either Praxis Core, SAT, ACT, or GRE. The required cut scores (shown above) must be met on each of the assessments and/or sections used to satisfy the requirement.

Acceptable Assessment Sections by Subject

READING

WRITING

MATH

Praxis Core Reading

Praxis Core Writing

Praxis Core Math

SAT Verbal or SAT Reading

SAT Verbal or

SAT Reading & Writing

SAT Math

ACT English

ACT English

ACT Math

GRE Verbal

GRE Verbal

GRE Quantitative

CEAS candidates FYI: a CEAS educator preparation program may ascertain the evidence needed to demonstrate a candidate’s score on an exam.

CE candidates FYI: candidates are responsible for submitting official test scores to the NJDE. Official Praxis Core, SAT, ACT, and GRE scores must be reported directly to the NJDE using the Designated Institution (DI) code assigned to the NJDE. See the table below:

DI Codes for NJDE

Assessment

Code

Praxis Core Academic Skills

R7666

SAT

1881

ACT

2337

GRE

9059

While most NJ CE and CEAS candidates must pass a performance assessment for teacher certification (edTPA), apparently public school librarians are exempt from this requirement.

Background Checks

The Office of Student Protection (OSP), an agency of the NJDE, conducts criminal background checks of librarian candidates for positions in NJ public schools, private schools for students with disabilities, charter schools, and nonpublic schools. When conducting criminal background checks, the OSP acts jointly with the New Jersey State Police (NJSP) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

The OSP uses three separate types of applications to complete criminal background checks:

  • New applicant: candidates who have never worked for a school or fingerprinted by the OSP before March 2003 and are changing school districts, or originally fingerprinted as a college student or volunteer and paid a reduced fingerprinting fee, or had their criminal record expunged after a previous disqualification by the OSP.
  • Archive applicant: candidates who were fingerprinted and approved by the OSP after February 2003 and are changing school districts.
  • Transfer applicant: candidates who were fingerprinted and approved by the OSP after March 2003, fingerprinted for a substitute position, and have been employed in a substitute position continuously by a school since the first year their criminal background approval was issued, and can provide a Verification of Employment.

Candidates submit to a LiveScan fingerprinting process (a digital format technology instead of conventional ink and paper). Effective June 1, 2019, the current fee for new applicants is $66.05. The NJDE also charges a $10 administrative fee; the vendor NicUSA, which processes fingerprint data, also charges a convenience fee. New applicants must first submit their online initial application request to the OSP before scheduling an appointment with Idemia (a biometric ID products and fingerprinting software vendor).

Two separate payments are required. Initially, candidates must pay $10 online using a credit or debit card to the NJDE plus the NicUSA convenience fee. Next, candidates must pay $66.05 to Idemia. If scheduling online, candidates pay using a credit or debit card. If paying at the time of printing, candidates pay by money order. This second payment covers fees for Idemia, the NJSP, and the FBI.

Applicants are responsible for paying criminal history background check fees. However, the educational institution employer may reimburse the applicant for printing costs, including administrative fees.

For FAQs, see this.

Application Process

Candidates apply through the Teacher Certification Information System (TCIS). As part of its digital transformation, the NJDE employs an exclusively electronic certification process and no longer accepts paper documents. The NJDE Office of Certification and Induction provides a checklist for certification application; see below:

1. Pass all applicable tests.

2. Apply online in the Teacher Certification Information System (TCIS). Payment must be made by debit or credit card. Fees are non-refundable.

3. Keep a record of the TCIS tracking number. This number must be included in all documentation sent to the Office of Certification and Induction. Current certificate holders have their tracking number included in their online profile and application status check.

4. Email all required documentation to the NJDE Office of Certification and Induction at certapplication@doe.nj.gov.

Refer to the following table to identify the appropriate sender of the document type.

Certification: Forms and Documentation

Document Type

Sender

Details

Transcripts

College, University, or Clearinghouse

*Official college/university transcript(s) from all institutions attended are required.

*Degree conferral and cumulative grade point average (GPA) must be referenced from the institutions where the candidate graduated.

*Indicate the tracking number on the transcript or email subject line.

Foreign Credentials

Evaluation service

*Credentials evaluation from an approved evaluation service in the United States is required to include degree equivalency, a semester-hour equivalent of each area of college-level study, and the cumulative baccalaureate and advanced degree GPAs.

*Indicate the tracking number on the evaluation or email subject line.

Out-of-State Educator Certificates

Candidate

*Include copies of all certificates, if applicable.

*Copies of out-of-state certificates may be emailed with the candidate’s name and tracking number noted in the subject line.

Verification of Program Completion (VOPC)

Certification Officer, Department Chairperson, or Designee directly from a program

*Indicate the candidate’s name and tracking number noted in the subject line.

*The college should complete and email applicable forms.

Record of Professional Experience (ROPE)

A Principal or Human Resources Office

*The candidate may contact their Principal or Human Resources Office to complete the ROPE form and send it via email.

*The school can complete and email the ROPE form with the candidate’s name and tracking number noted in the subject line.

Additional Forms or Documents

Candidate

*All other documents (e.g. course descriptions, letters, licenses, etc.) or required forms may be completed and sent via email.

*The email must contain your name and tracking number in the subject line. The body of the email should reference the submission of the attached document(s).

*Additional forms include:

~Additional Information for the Oath of Allegiance

~Criminal Offense Information                 

~ Data Sheet for Career and Technical Education (CTE)

Source: NJDE Office of Certification and Induction

All applications expire six months following the original application date because the Oath of Allegiance must be updated if a certificate is not issued within this six-month window. If a candidate’s application expires, the candidate may then reapply for the same or additional certificates. Any balance left on file may be used as a credit (unless the application was made before July 1, 2016) for new certificates. Fees are non-refundable.

Fee Schedule

Under the NJ Administrative code, the NJDE Office of Certification and Induction established a fee schedule effective May 2015 for the issuance of CE and CEAS provisional and standard certificates. These fees are nonrefundable except as noted. Relevant fees include:

  • Issuance of the provisional and standard CE and CEAS certificate: $170
  • Each evaluation of credentials to determine eligibility to take a particular state certification examination or to obtain information concerning qualifications for certification: $70.00;
  • Each standard certificate issued without a prior provisional certificate: $95.00
  • Each substitute credential: $125.00
  • Each substitute credential: $125.00
  • Each evaluation of credentials to determine eligibility to take a particular State certification examination or to obtain information concerning qualifications for certification: $70.00
  • A one-time test score service fee for each certificate requiring a test: $20.00
  • A one-time administrative fee upon completion of a State-approved administrator residency program: $200.00
  • A one-time administrative fee upon completion of a Commissioner-approved CE educator preparation program for holders of an instructional CE: $100.00

See publicly available fee schedule.

Certification Renewal Procedure

The NJDE considers these certificates and endorsements to be permanent. Therefore, no renewal is needed.

Certification Reciprocity Process

New Jersey has full reciprocity for teaching, administrative, and support professional certification/licensure with the other 49 U.S. states and the District of Columbia (DC). New Jersey complies with the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC) Interstate Agreement.

“Full reciprocity” refers to “Educators with an out-of-jurisdiction license (receive) a similar license in the receiving jurisdiction upon successful processing of the receiving jurisdiction’s application, academic records, and criminal background check.”

As one readily sees, there’s much to unpack in the process of becoming an NJ public school librarian. For further clarification of NJ SLMS requirements and certification, please visit the NJDE Certification and Induction website and refer to applicable links.