Wyoming School Librarian Certification Guide - 2022

AKA: Library Media Specialist Licensure

Last Reviewed: November 18th, 2021

Licensor: WY PTSB

To build an intellectually sound and productive mind that can function properly in our complex world, developing skills to learn how to educate oneself is paramount. Children’s minds are also very impressionable. Primary and secondary school are periods when children should be building healthy habits such as critical thinking and fact-checking. The library and librarian provide resources for developing such skills. 

With the above in mind, the services of a skilled, qualified, and licensed school librarian must not be found wanting. Managing library operations is just one of the tasks that you will be expected to handle as a school librarian. You will also be required to teach library and media courses to students. This is why most states in the U.S. require school librarians to have a teaching license as well as a library media specialist endorsement.

Certification ensures that jobs are preserved for individuals who have done their due diligence to fulfill all the requirements. You must acquaint yourself with the requirements for the school librarian certification in Wyoming if you intend to practice. The ability to learn on time, as well as communicate seamlessly with the other staff members in the furtherance of the vision and mission of the school are skills the certification process tries to distill within future school librarians in Wyoming. 

Initial School Librarian Certification Process

To maintain a high quality of education the Professional Teaching Standards Board (PTSB) of Wyoming has a certification process in place for all prospective staff members in schools. This is also the case in all states in the U.S. However, the requirements vary slightly from state to state. As a new applicant in Wyoming, you will first need to acquire the “Initial License” which is valid for five years after which it must be renewed.

The application process usually involves you filling the application form and uploading some of your credentials. You are also required to mail some to the PTSB office. The application process for educators’ licensure in Wyoming is unique, hence you must observe every tiny detail.

Educational Requirements

Since the initial license is essentially an educator license, the primary educational requirement required is a bachelor’s or higher degree in a teaching-related program. This program must have been completed in a regionally or nationally approved institution of higher education. Your education program must lead to the award of a degree in education that is relevant to your intended specialty. The PTSB expects that this requisite training will confer on you the skills to handle the duties of a school librarian.

You are also expected to be conversant with the US and Wyoming constitutions. This requirement can be met by taking an approved course or writing a test. You can take any of the following courses offered in Wyoming colleges and universities; US History to 1865 (HIST 1211), US History from 1865 (HIST 1221), Wyoming History (HIST 1251), American & Wyoming Government (POLS 1000), and Business, Law, & Government (ECON 1200). You are expected to pass with a grade of “C” or higher. For more information about these requirements check the Wyoming PTSB website.

Experience Requirements

When it comes to teaching, there is always a clear difference between an experienced and an inexperienced teacher. The government of Wyoming is committed to maintaining a high quality of education which is why they expect applicants for educator licensure to have some experience. Educator preparation programs offered in the College of Education of colleges and universities usually include some degree of exposure to real-life practice through supervised teaching and/or internships.

The minimum length of teaching experience required is usually one year which can be gotten through an internship. Experience helps you put the concepts you have learned in your degree program to practice. It enables you to fine-tune your technique and methods. Teaching experience is necessary for you as you will be teaching pupils and students about library and media concepts.

Testing Requirements

The Wyoming PTSB uses ETS® Praxis® tests to prove that you have the requisite knowledge and skills to be an educator in the state. You are required to pass two tests. The first test is the Praxis Principles of Learning and Teaching. There are five kinds of this test namely; Early Childhood, Grades K-6, Grades 5-9, PreK-12, and Grades 7-12 (course codes are 5621, 5622, 562Ꝫ, 5624, and 5625). Each of these cost $156 and last for 2 hours. WVDE requires that you take the Grades K-6, Grades 5-9, or Grades 7-12. Essentially, you only need to take the one that applies to you with respect to your prospective designation. The qualifying scores are 160 points (for K-6 and 5-9), and 157 points (for 7-12).

The second test is more specific and it is called the Library Media Specialist test (5311) which lasts for 2 hours and costs $130. This test is necessary for your endorsement as a school librarian and the passing score is 162. These tests are necessary if you are a first-time applicant, or if you have completed testing requirements in another state apart from Praxis. If you choose the examination route for your demonstration of the knowledge of the US and Wyoming Constitution, you can opt for a digital version of the test to be sent to you at home or you can write it at the school district administration office. Study up on the US Constitution here and the Wyoming Constitution here.

Background Checks

The sensitivity of the school system makes it necessary for a background check to be done on anybody that will work within it. Background checks include an inquiry into your employment, financial, and criminal history. This will bring out any information needed to see if you are a threat to the pupils, students, or staff. 

The background checks are run with fingerprint cards. You will be required to fill in your details on both cards and get your fingerprint captured at a prescribed agency. To obtain a fingerprint packet send an email to wyoptsb@wyo.gov with the subject “FINGERPRINT CARD REQUEST”. You must include your Name, Phone Number, and Mailing Address.

Once you have filled the cards appropriately (with black ink), you will submit the fingerprint cards by mail (not email, scanned copy, or fax). Your fingerprint cards must not be squeezed, folded, stapled, or mutilated. Any compromise to the appearance might result in you having to fill new ones. A $50 processing fee will be collected for this process. After submission, the fingerprint cards are sent to the Department of Criminal Investigation which will send a report on the background check to the PTSB. Learn more about the fingerprinting and background check process here.

Application Process

To begin the application process, you must download an application form for the initial license. This form has three sections namely SECTION I – APPLICANT INFORMATION, SECTION II – LICENSING AND LEGAL INFORMATION, and SECTION III – INDIVIDUAL APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS. All fields must be filled correctly and preferably in black ink. Next, you will be required to fill in your fingerprint cards.

You must complete the requirements for demonstration of knowledge of the US and Wyoming constitution by coursework or test. Proof of the results or completion of the courses must be tendered. For your initial license, you are required to pay a $150 fee for an in-state license ($200 for out-of-state). Your license processing fee is not to be paid until you receive an invoice for online payment. 

Finally, put together all your credentials in a single packet. These will be mailed together with your application form to;

Professional Teaching Standards Board
2001 Capitol Ave.
Emerson Bidg. Room 128
Cheyenne, WY 82001

While the other documents in the packet can also be sent via email (wyoptsb@wyo.gov) or fax (307-777-8718), the fingerprint cards must be mailed. For a detailed breakdown of the application process go here. For a summary of application requirements, go here. Once you have filed your application, you can follow it up by creating an account on Wyoming PTSB website.

Renewal Procedure

The initial license is valid for five years and must then be renewed. Wyoming educators are mandated to complete professional development/ renewal credits that enable them to renew their licenses. The conditions for renewal are displayed on the reverse side of your license. However, for most educator-type licenses, you only need five renewal credits for your renewal. The renewal credits may be obtained from PTSB approved workshops, approved college courses in your content area from accredited colleges, or from pursuing National Board Certification. For more information about these go here.

Your application for license renewal must be submitted before your current one expires. If you miss the date, you will be applying for a reinstatement instead. PTSB encourages you to apply for renewal on time to avoid delay. They begin receiving applications six months before the date of expiration on your license. Download a license renewal form here and fill in the required details appropriately. The processing fee for a renewal is $200. Note that all fees paid concerning license processing are non-refundable.

Certification Reciprocity Process

If you have a valid license from another state and are considering moving to Wyoming to practice, you want to know if there is a reciprocity provision. Yes, there is! To be considered, you must have for 3 out of the last 6 years. In addition to a document attesting to this, you will also need to show proof of knowledge of the US and Wyoming constitutions and perform a fingerprint-based background check.

You must also fulfill the testing requirements as stated above unless you have already done this or have done the equivalent of such tests in the state you were previously licensed. Finally, you must submit a complete application packet including a valid education license from your former state of licensure. For any questions you may have about this, send an email to wyoptsb@wyo.gov or call 307-777-7291.