Virginia School Librarian Certification Guide - 2024

AKA: Library Media PreK-12 Endorsement, School Library Media Endorsement

by Staff

Updated: August 23rd, 2022

Licensor: VA DOE

Those with a school librarian certification (also referred to as school library mediaspecialists or certified school librarians) are specially trained to work with children in a school setting. Those who pursue an MLIS with this special endorsement also are required to take a number of education courses, or acquire an additional teaching certificate in addition to a degree with an endorsement. This specialty in teaching is what distinguishes school librarians from, say, a children’s librarian. Though both of their careers include working with children, for school librarians, their position requires knowledge of teaching principles as well since their work is centered less around leisure activities that you’d encounter in a public library.

Some areas school librarians focus on are as follows:

  • Children’s academic progress
  • Increasing general literacy goals as children and young adults are learning to read and build comprehension
  • Giving students the tools that will improve their academic performance and ultimately prepare them for a workforce or higher education

Initial School Librarian Certification Guide

The school library certification, or library media endorsement, received in Virginia does not  have an expiration or renewal date. However, those already with a Virginia teaching license should pursue renewal of their teaching license every five years, as it is typically required.

Education Requirements

A school librarian is required to complete a masters degree program in school library media through an accredited college or university or 24 semester hours of post-baccalaureate college coursework in the following areas:

  • Teaching for learning
  • Literacy and reading
  • Information and knowledge
  • Advocacy and leadership
  • Program management and administration

Experience Requirements

A supervised school library media practicum is typically something provided through your school library media degree program, as it is also a requirement for the School Library Media endorsement. However, one year of full-time experience as a school librarian in a public or accredited nonpublic school will be accepted instead of the practicum.

Testing Requirements

There are no subject specific examination requirements for the school library media endorsement, as of August 2021.

However, since many of these collegiate education programs require teaching licensure, students will have to take the Praxis I, hosted by The Educational Testing Service (ETS), to enter a teaching certification program which includes testing reading, writing, and mathematical skills according the the Virginia Department of Education (DOE). 

Additional Praxis subject area testing is required if seeking employment in a specific subject area. There is also additional Praxis testing if an individual is looking for endorsement in reading speciality, braille proficiency, or administration/supervision. The Praxis test including reading, writing, and math as a combination are required to pay a fee of $150, or $90 per individual testing  of either reading, writing, or math. Subject area testing varies anywhere from $90 – $200+ in fees.

Background Checks

The Virginia DOE does not explicitly state that a full background check is required for application, though applicants for teaching licensure are subject to eight background questions. Many of the employers, including school districts or private schools require  full background checks as employees.

Application Process

If not already a teacher, graduates of SLMS programs should apply for teaching licensure since it is required for public school employment as a school librarian. The application can be found on the DOE website in the Application for an Initial Virginia  License guide and needs to be submitted by mail or in person alongside a check for a $100 in-state fee/$150 out-of-state fee to the Department of Teacher Education and Licensure in Richmond.

If you are already a teacher and are adding an endorsement, you will need to download the same application and also download the instructions for adding an endorsement: located on the same webpage. 

Mail your application to:

Office of Licensure
Virginia Department of Education
P.O. Box 2120
Richmond, VA. 23218-2120

Certification Renewal Procedure

Endorsement as a SLMS in Virginia does not require renewal, however, a teaching license does need renewal. In order to renew that teaching license that would be used to work as a SLMS, the school librarian endorsement is required (e.g. if you were transitioning from an English teaching position to a school librarian position). In the Virginia Department of Education Licensure Renewal Manual, there is mention of license being renewed contingent upon continued endorsement, but this only applies to teachers renewing their license in school counseling, Virginia history, or State and Local Government. Public school teachers (and school librarians) are initially granted teaching licenses that are valid for five years and require renewal at the initial 5 year mark. After the 5 year renewal, licensees receive a 10 year teaching license.

To renew a teaching license in Virginia, there are a number of requirements, but the process is generally as follows. Each teaching professional in the state is required to hold a teaching license for public schools. It’s worth noting that teachers in private or religious schools are not subject to the same licensure requirements, but they are often required by the private school CEO or agency. Public school teachers (and school librarians) are initially granted licensure that is valid for five years. During this time, licensees are required to complete professional goals totaling 180 points.

Points are awarded to licensees from statutory requirements from eight options including, but not limited to, attending a professional conference, publishing and article or book, etc. Projects or events completed in each area are worth a certain number of points per occurrence. Licensees are also required to take required training such as Child Abuse and Neglect Recognition and Intervention Training and Emergency First Aid, CPR and AED Training or Certification. For those with an initial 5 year license, 180 points are acquired over the course of that 5 year period. After the 5 year renewal, licensees receive a 10 year license that requires 270 professional points for an additional renewal. The same statutory requirements apply. Licensees are also required to regularly maintain professional standards including, but not limited to, developing curriculum and maintaining knowledge of educational concepts and principles.

Each person licensed is appointed a counselor that retrieves documentation and proof of completion for each professional activity throughout the year and meets with the licensed person once a year to touch base with the counselor. At the end of the renewal period, the counselor ensures that the applicant for renewal has satisfied all requirements necessary to continue licensure. If not, the applicant will be denied and they would submit a request to contest to the counselor for further consideration. The applicant would submit renewal paperwork including an to their hiring agency with a check to a designated BOE representative. Upon completion of all requirements, submission of renewal paperwork, and a check, the applicant will be granted continued licensure.

Applications for renewal can be found within the Virginia Licensure Renewal Manual and are associated with a $50 renewal fee.

Certification Reciprocity Process

Virginia’s DOE recognizes out-of-state teaching licenses that are valid as well as degrees with or without endorsements that were acquired from regionally or state accredited institutions. To be granted with a Virginia teaching license, any out-of-state teacher with comparable endorsements and a valid teaching license, any student who graduated in good standing from an education preparation program with an endorsement, or any other professional with endorsement seeking employment in the public school system, must submit an application for teaching licensure within the state of Virginia.

All of these applicants are subject to praxis testing requirements if not already fulfilled in another state. Anyone who wishes to apply for a license must submit a complete packet to  the Virginia DOE which includes an application and official student transcripts. When applying as any of the aforementioned individual cases, an initial 5 year license is issued which would then subsequently be followed by 10 year renewable licenses.

You can find an application on the Virginia DOE website.