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School Library Emergency Certification

Emergency Certification

Emergency certification allows a school district that is looking to hire a school librarian but cannot find an already-certified appropriate candidate, to hire someone who has completed at least some of the coursework. The district then requests that the state issue the person "emergency certification," which allows the district to hire a person. The candidate can then complete required coursework while working on the job. The questions and answers below may help students gain greater understanding of the emergency certification process.

Who makes the request for emergency certification?

The N.J.A.C. is ambiguous about who makes the request for emergency certification. In practice the DOE does not allow an individual to make a request; only a school district can request it on a candidate's behalf.

How do I qualify for emergency certification?

If the school district is hiring at the Associate School Library Media Specialist level, an applicant must have a bachelor's degree and have completed at least six credits in school library media. If the school district is hiring at the School Library Media Specialist level, a candidate must have a bachelor's degree and have completed at least 12 credits in school library media. Once you are emergency certified you must take at least six credits per year until all coursework for the certification is complete. Generally hires have up to three years to complete the required coursework.

How do I apply for emergency certification?

An individual candidate cannot apply for emergency certification for him/herself. A school district's board of education must apply to the county superintendent for it on behalf of the candidate. (See the N.J.A.C. - 6A:9-6.3 Emergency Certificate, page 71.) Note that the district has to show that they have been unable to hire a suitable certified candidate for the position in order to make this request.

Does that mean if a candidate has a MI the person is eligible for emergency certification?

Candidates with a MI are eligible for a Certificate of Eligibility and should file for it, rather than having a district apply for emergency certification on the candidate’s behalf.

Will students have to complete the field experience requirement from their academic program if working a year or more with emergency certification?

Yes. The state requires that students complete a field experience course even if working in a library under emergency certification. Note that most academic programs will work with candidates to integrate work situations into the field experience.

What happens after emergency certification?

Once coursework is complete students are eligible for a Certificate of Eligibility (CE)/Certificate of Eligibility with Advanced Standing (CEAS) and then provisional certification. (The “FAQ” section of the School Library Certification Process has more details about the CE/CEAS.) The emergency certification does not make you eligible to skip the provisional period.