Texas School Librarian Certification Guide - 2022

AKA: School Librarian License

Last Reviewed: August 23rd, 2022

Licensor: TEA

A school librarian in the state of Texas is responsible for managing the library, ensuring that guests and frequent users get the assistance they need. School librarians may come from virtually any academic background. However, excellent organizational, computer operation, communication, and reading skills are vital to this role.  The many responsibilities of school librarians include collecting, organizing, and managing books, newspapers, journals, e-learning documents, and other learning materials.

What is School Librarian Certification?

The Texas State Board for Educator Certification is the government body responsible for overseeing all certification-related matters. This includes certification regulations for teachers and librarians. One of the mandatory certifications for professionals in Texas is the School Librarian Certification.

A school librarian certification is an academic qualification for librarians interested in working in a school environment. It proves that the recipient has completed the required coursework, passed the assessments, and is deemed proficient in the discipline. With this certificate, you may be considered for employment in the school librarian role. However, there are other requirements and processes in the application you would go through.

We will explain how to get the librarian certification and the certification renewal further. Likewise, we will explain the process of certification reciprocity for those from outside Texas. First, we will start with the reasons it is mandatory to have a School Librarian Certification.

Why do you need School Librarian Certification?

For any school library position, various requirements make a candidate eligible. In the United States, a Master’s degree program in library science (MLS or MLIS) and a School Librarian Certification are mandatory. Furthermore, institutions prefer that candidates get their degree from an institution accredited by the American Library Association (ALA).

The goal of having a school librarian certification is to work in an educational institution as a school librarian. Thus, you should keep an eye on the requirement for this role.

To work as a school librarian, you must meet the following requirements:

  • At least two years of work experience as a kindergarten-12th grade teacher in a public or accredited private school
  • A master’s degree in library science or any related discipline
  • Must have completed an ALA-accredited or state-approved program (for instance, the State Board for Educator Certification) in library science or its related discipline.
  • Passed the Texas state TExES School Librarian Certification exam.

Initial Librarian Certification Process

The librarian licensure is a non-negotiable requirement for any school librarian role in Texas. Having this certification gives the school management the confidence that their library facility is safe. More importantly, the certificate shows that the new hires are ideal professionals to assist students in their academic pursuits. The ideal certification required to work as a librarian in a Texan institution is the School Librarian Certification. The American Library Association (ALA) is the premier accreditor of library science-based certifications and institutions. They are operational in over thirty-two U.S. states, including Texas for Masters and Ph.D. certifications.

Texas is home to many established institutions offering the School Librarian Certification for graduate programs. In most certificate awarding institutions in Texas, you can only use the School Librarian Certification within the state. That implies that anywhere outside of Texas does not recognize the certification.

Education Requirements

Education is an essential aspect in being considered for a place in the School Librarian Certification program. In Texas, the education requirements mirror that of other states with only a few alterations.

The least academic qualification for this program is Bachelor’s degree and a graduate program in School Librarian Certification in Texas. You would need to select a major (for example, Library Science) and indicate your interest in getting the certification. Upon enrollment, you would likely begin taking courses in School Librarianship or Use and Production of Instructional Materials. Find all Library and Information Science degree programs in Texas.

While researching the ideal institution for you, look for those offering flexible schedules and enrollment procedures. Likewise, some institutions in Texas provide financial assistance to their applicants upon enrollment. Find out the ones that support students in applying for graduate scholarships and other financial aid.

Experience Requirements

Candidates for the school librarian certification program are encouraged to possess the qualities of professional school librarians. From organizing hard copy textbooks to managing electronic files to understanding technology, a candidate of school librarian certification must have the vital knowledge to assist students. This includes the experience required for the role.

Firstly, school librarians work with children and young adults. Thus, they must have not less than two years of experience in a teaching role. This must be in a public school or a government-approved private school. Also, candidates of the school librarian certification ought to have experience with managing library facilities, including electronic files and gadgets.

It is advised for interested candidates to first apply for these jobs and gain the required knowledge. Then, they would be equipped to complete the School Librarian Certification program.

Testing Requirements

To be awarded the school librarian certification, you must pass a series of assessments. The testing requirements vary from institution to institution. However, most institutions require candidates to have at least a B-grade in all courses included in the certification. These courses have a decent fusion of teaching and expert library management methods.

Additionally, Texas requires a specific examination for school librarian certification candidates. This exam is offered through the TExES organization. The examination is called School Librarian EC-12 and you must score a minimum of 150 to pass.

Background Checks

For virtually every professional role in the state of Texas, background checks are mandatory. Background checks are essential for professionals, including teachers and librarians, working with minors to ensure their safety.

Every approved school in the state of Texas runs a fingerprint-based background check. Through this check, they upload the information of all new employees to the Educator Certification Online System (ECOS). Each new hire would have to pay $40.25 for the ECOS fingerprint-based background check. However, this fee is to facilitate the national criminal history background check spearheaded by the Texas Education Agency (TEA), DPS, and the FBI.

The fingerprint screening will be conducted, including the scanning, which would cost the employee an additional $10.00. This must be completed before the candidate resumes work. Please note that the fees go directly to ECOS. The process takes between 5 and 7 business days before TEA gets the results from ECOS.

The additional information the candidate presents will be assessed to make sure that they are valid. Some of the information that would be verified include:

  • The full name
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Current mailing address
  • Social security number
  • Zipcode

Not only will these details be collected, but they will also be checked thoroughly. Thus, each candidate must provide valid, recent, and accurate information. If there are any expired I.D.s, make sure to renew them as soon as possible. Also, if there are any recent legal changes to the documents, the candidate should inform the authority beforehand.

Application Process

The application process for a school librarian role in Texas varies slightly from other states in the U.S. An applicant would need to open a TEAL and ECOS account. These platforms have educator portals where school librarians can process and manage their information. Subsequent information and credential management tasks will be performed using these platforms.

To apply for a school librarian role in Texas, applicants should follow this process or possess the following:

  • A Master’s degree in Library Science or other disciplines.
  • Classroom teaching experience of at least two years.
  • Must pass the Texas Examinations of Educator Standards or Praxis II Media Content Test
  • Alternatively, a passing score from  Arizona, Colorado, Massachusetts, Illinois, Michigan, New Mexico, or Oklahoma.
  • To apply for certification, or to add a new certification, create an account or login to your existing Texas Education Agency Login (TEAL) account.

In Texas, the application process for educators and librarians outside the state slightly differs from those within Texas. Besides the application process above, out-of-state applicants should note the following:

  • A review of credentials is mandatory. On the success of the evaluation, they could be issued a one-year certificate.
  • They can receive an expedited review of credentials. This is for educators with standard credentials, active-duty military personnel and spouses, and military veterans.
  • Those eligible are not required for an added expedited request.
  • A transcript of their credentials would be required from their degree-awarding institutions.
  • The transcript can only be sent by the institution. Transcripts sent by the candidate will be treated as spam

Certification Renewal Procedure

A school librarian certification is only valid for five years, after which it expires. At this stage, the status of your certificate will automatically be set to inactive. After its expiration, you may opt for a Continuing professional education (CPE). CPE is the standard procedure to renew any formal certification in Texas state.

The primary requirement for renewing your School Librarian Certification is to have a standard educator’s certificate. Also, you must have both the ECOS and the TEAL accounts with your correct details in them. You may find instructions for opening an educator’s account here.

The candidate usually receives a notification via email not less than six weeks before their certification expires. However, due to technical challenges, not all candidates receive notice of expiration.

The application process

To renew your School Librarian Certification, you need to apply online. First, be sure to have ECOS and TEAL accounts through which you can log in. Next, follow this procedure:

  • Log in to your educator’s account here
  • Access your ECOS account by clicking View My Educator Certification Account
  • Check the left side of the portal and click on Applications
  • Under Applications, select Renew a Standard Certificate
  • Pay the online renewal application fee and submit your application

To renew your school librarian certification, you must complete between 150 and 200 CPE hours. For more information on this and the entire certificate renewal process, you may email this link or visit this CPE page.

The fees vary for renewing your School Librarian Certification. However, it increases when you delay in renewing the certificate. For early renewal, the fee is $22, which will be paid during the renewal application. Late renewal incurs an additional sum of between $10 and $20. For late renewals between the first six months after expiry, it costs $32. Meanwhile, you would have to pay $42 for your renewal after the first six months of expiry.

Reactivation of the certificate’s status also costs $42. However, if there is a “Reinstatement” after resolving a child support issue or student loan repayment, the renewal fee becomes $50.

Certification Reciprocity Process

The state of Texas accepts out-of-state certified librarians and educators. Texas is part of the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Educator and Certification (NASDTEC) Interstate Agreement. In other words, Texas permits standard certificate holders from other states to legally work there.

Provided a candidate has a standard certificate, they would have to apply to review their credentials in Texas. First, they must have both ECOS and TEAL educator’s accounts to complete the application process. Next, they must do the following:

  • Log in to the educator’s portal using the Google Chrome browser
  • Follow the application instructions, then submit the request
  • Submit copies of your certificates and request the transfer of your transcripts from your out-of-state institution. Your institution should send the transcripts via email here.

Out-of-Country Requirements

Texas State also accepts out-of-country standard credentials. For standard certificates obtained outside the U.S., follow these instructions:

  • You must submit your standard certificates
  • Request for the transfer of your transcripts from the colleges you were awarded the degree
  • Submit proof of oral and written English language proficiency

Please note that you are only allowed to send transcripts through one means. For instance, if you send your documents electronically, don’t ask your institution to send others by mail.

It takes about two weeks for an applicant to receive a notification of the document’s submission. An email notification will be sent to applicants once the review of documents is complete. This means that the details of your application and document review will be visible to you on your educator’s page. Open the My Documents page to find details.

While awaiting the review of your credentials, you may apply for a temporary certificate. This is a one-year certificate that allows you to apply for school librarian jobs. However, the certification is for those whose credentials have been successfully reviewed. While you are given a temporary certificate, you must complete one or both of the following:

  • Submit the relevant documents that exempt you from taking an out-of-state test to establish your School Librarian Certification
  • Take the out-of-state tests required to establish your School Librarian Certification

Library science-related professions are perfect for brilliant people. Working in a school library offers more job satisfaction to librarians as it would impact the lives of children. However, the School Librarian Certification is the ideal path to achieving this goal.

Fortunately, the state of Texas is open to school librarians within and outside Texas to get employment. Also, if you are not a current U.S. resident, Texas permits an out-of-country review of certifications. So, there is an opportunity for every willing candidate in Texas.

Take the next brave step. Follow the requirements. Gain the knowledge and experience for this profession. Your expertise will help students become better readers, learners, teachers, and leaders. You will be making an impact in the lives of the younger generation in no distant time.