Ohio School Librarian Certification Guide - 2024

AKA: Library Media Specialist


by LibrarianCertification.com Staff

Updated: September 11th, 2023

Licensor: Ohio DOE

In the United States, education is one of the most important things that put you on the path to success. For students across the country, libraries are the access point to knowledge in the K-12 education system. This is where the role of a school librarian comes in. As a librarian, your role is to help build the knowledge base of Ohio kids and make them the best learners they can be.

Your role also includes the traditional aspects, management of book collections, coordinating with teachers and staff members to support and reinforce school curriculum, and more. Your job is essential. It is why the certification process is vital to ensure that you meet all the requirements before assuming the role.

Initial Library Media Certification Process

The library media certification process is necessary to ensure librarians meet the basic requirements to operate in their role.

Educational Requirements

Your role as Library Media Specialist in Ohio will include working with young kids from kindergarten to 12th graders. You will need a master’s degree in library and information studies from a program by the American Library Association. If you already have the basic education requirement, you are on the fast route to becoming a school librarian in the state of Ohio.

However, if you do not currently have the educational requirements completed, we suggest you study for your master’s program in Library and Information Science in the state of Ohio. The curriculum of a Library and Information Science program is designed to help you become a Library Media Specialist who can effectively serve PK-12 students.  

Experience Requirement

It is vital to have work experience in almost any job. For the future school librarian, you can get this work experience while completing your education requirements. It is a great advantage to have the opportunity to learn in the real world. You can also volunteer in some mini-libraries and acquire what you might not get from reading a book.

However, it is essential to note that Ohio expects the library specialist certification applicant to have a teaching license in Ohio. Even if you already have a teaching license in other states, you must meet the state of Ohio requirements. You can check Ohio’s education licensing website for information on getting a teaching license.

Testing Requirement

The testing requirement for the School Library Media Specialist is straightforward. You can find all the information you need on the Ohio Assessments for Educator website. The testing requirement is a computer-based test of 150 multiple-choice questions, which lasts for 3 hours 15 minutes.

There are many test centers where you can take the test. Visit their official website for more information. The test costs a total of $105. There are both free and paid materials you can use to prepare for the test. You can get 120-days access for practice assessment and scores for $29.95.  You can also get six months of access to a study guide for $22.50. You are expected to score at least 220 to pass the exam.

Background Check

Are you probably asking yourself why the need for a background check? You would be surprised what agencies can find out when they do a background check. A background check is necessary to keep the workspace safe for everybody. Since you will be working with kindergarteners to 12th graders, parents and school officials must be confident that their kids and schools are safe.

The first step is to log in to your OH|ID account to view your background check information under “My Background Checks” from your CORE (Connected Ohio Records for Educators) Dashboard. If it is not there, then you need to do your background check or contact the BCI office if you already did one.

To perform your background check, you will need to use WebCheck to complete it. First, check with your local school district or your region’s Educational Service Center. If none of them use WebCheck, you will need to visit your local law enforcement agency or use the Attorney General’s website to find a convenient location.

You are not allowed to send your result yourself. You need to send a request for your result to be directly sent to the Ohio Department of Education. You are expected to complete both BCI and FBI background checks electronically through WebCheck. You can find a list of WebCheck locations here. For information about the cost of background checks, contact the WebCheck facility for that information. If you have more questions on the background check, read through the Ohio Department Of Education FAQs.

Application Process

The application for a certified school librarian in the state of Ohio is straightforward. To obtain a new license, each applicant will use an application through the Ohio Department of Education’s Connected Ohio Records for Educators System (CORE). To become a library media specialist, you must have a teaching license in Ohio. You can follow the process above to get one.

To get the initial license, access your OH|ID account. Click on Educator Licensure and Records (CORE), complete the application and submit it. There is a CORE user manual you can follow to fill in the application.

Contact Information:

25 South Front St., Mail Stop 504
Columbus, OH 43215-4183
(Toll-free) 877-644-6338
(P) 614-466-3593
(F) 614-752-8406

Certification Renewal Procedure

All educators are expected to use the Connected Ohio Records for Educators (CORE) system exclusively to renew their licenses or certificates. It means that the entire process is online.

If this applies to you, the online procedure presents secure access to update your demographic date and pay licensure fees using your credit card or electronic check. If your background check is no longer valid, be sure to perform another one. Essentially, background checks last for only 365 days. If you are renewing your license, it would probably be obsolete.

Coursework needed for the license renewal must be completed at an accredited college or university. Whichever university you choose, ensure you check for their accreditation before enrolling. The application instruction is almost the same for initial licensing.

Certification Reciprocity

There is also a chance for librarians outside the state to come practice if they complete the application process. Reciprocity is probably the only difference in the application process from other states. Ohio uses the Interstate Agreement with 40 states and the District of Columbia in the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education & Certification (NASDEC). However, the Ohio Education Department expects you to meet the requirements for teaching licensure as well. More information on this can be found on the interstate website.

The role of a school librarian is critical in the educational development of a state and the nation at large. It is why there is a rigorous approach to the certification process. On the other hand, you will be helping leaders of tomorrow discover their life’s journey through their engagement with you and information in the library. You will also be indirectly involved in developing the school curriculum to build students’ foundation of knowledge. This role requires a lot of care from the governing body who coordinates the certification process.