School Library Media Specialist (SLMS) Certification

Introduction and Requirements

Navigating the road to certification can be a bit confusing. We aim to provide you with all the relevant information about New Jersey certification and how to apply for certification. The process will differ depending on your circumstances, such as your education, current certifications and goals.

At Rutgers, School Library Media Specialist certification (SLMS) is offered through the Master of Information program and the School Librarianship concentration (ranked #1 nationally). Our state-approved, ALA-accredited degree program consists of 36 credits (12 classes) and three non-credit courses (501, 502, and 503) that you must complete within three years. The school library plan of study has been approved by the New Jersey Department of Education for state certification as a School Library Media Specialist.

In New Jersey, there are two ways of gaining certification to work in a school media center:

  • School Library Media Specialist certification (SLMS)
  • Associate School Library Media Specialist certification (ASLMS)*

*Rutgers SC&I no longer offers the ASLMS certification program.

According to the NJ Code (NJAC 6A:9B-14.14), a School Library Media Specialist must possess a master’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university and have completed one of the following requirements*:

  • A Department-approved graduate program that specifically prepares the candidate for the certificate*; or
  • A master’s degree in library media studies from a regionally accredited college*; or
  • A program of graduate studies consisting of at least 36 semester-hour credits in a coherent sequence of studies*

To fulfill the education requirement**, you must:

  • Be a standard certified teacher (in any subject);
  • Have completed a teacher preparation program; or
  • Complete a cohesive plan of study of at least 9 credits that covers the education content areas mandated by the state.

**Note: The Rutgers MI Program School Librarianship concentration current sequence of courses (revised for students beginning in Summer 2019) fulfills this education requirement.

If You Completed Your Master of Information (MI) At Rutgers

Prior to the September 2019 update: With their MI degree, students qualify for a Certificate of Eligibility (CE) as a School Library Media Specialist in New Jersey. Once students complete a MI degree program with the School Librarianship concentration and also fulfill the education requirement mandated by the New Jersey Department of Education, each qualifies for a Certificate of Eligibility with Advanced Standing (CEAS) as a School Library Media Specialist in New Jersey.

Following the September 2019 update: With their MI degree completed, which includes completion of the School Librarianship concentration, students qualify for a Certificate of Eligibility (CEAS) as a School Library Media Specialist in New Jersey. Additional education requirement courses are not needed.

Students should download the application materials indicated below and follow the instructions regarding what needs to be sent to Student Services. We will submit applications and credentials directly to the New Jersey Department of Education on a student’s behalf.

If You Completed Your MLS/MLIS/MI Degree Elsewhere

Any student who holds an MLS/MLIS/MI degree and focused on an area other than School Library Media studies during their program of study, will need to complete additional coursework to meet the state requirements for School Library Media Specialist. Unfortunately, Rutgers cannot review a student’s academic program to determine which courses may need to be taken, but the NJDOE can. Please send all evaluation questions, along with a cover letter explaining your situation, a copy of your MI transcript, and a copy of the course descriptions from the MI program you completed, to licensing.requests@doe.state.nj.us. Once your evaluation is received, please submit a non-degree application with all necessary paperwork needed by the admission deadline. Applications are reviewed after each application deadline. Once reviewed, you will be notified of an admission decision, including the required coursework needed.

Upon Completion of MI Program and/or Determined Classes Needed

If applying for the CE: submit items 1-3 listed below.

If applying for the CEAS: submit items 1-4 listed below. 

  1. Complete the Certification application. Please be sure to complete side two of the application; signing the “oath” and notarization is also required. Even if a student already is a certified teacher, this section MUST be completed. Although the application says NJ certificate holders are exempt, students are urged in order to avoid complications and delays to be certain this section is complete with a signature, date and notarized oath.
  2. ​Please click on the link below to complete the required payment of $170.00. Payment may be made using Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover or a bank account:  https://ce-catalog.rutgers.edu/coursedisplay.cfm?schID=79845
  3. Include official transcript showing degree completion. Please note, following your final semester, it can take several weeks before degrees are updated on student transcripts.  Request your Rutgers transcript online. At this time, we recommend e transcripts to be used (send to a.machiaverna@rutgers.edu). 
  4. If students have fulfilled the education requirement (prior to the Rutgers MI September 2019 curriculum update), ONE of the following will need to be mailed:
    • ONE DOCUMENT: a copy of the standard teaching certificate
    • ONE DOCUMENT: proof that a student has completed a NJ State-approved college teacher preparation program with or without student teaching. The Verification of Program Completion form is preferred.
    • THREE DOCUMENTS:
      • An official transcript from the institution where education course work was completed.
      • A letter of support from that institution vouching for the coherent plan of study the student has completed. If a student completed the education courses through our office, please let us know so that we can make that verification.
      • Verification of Program Completion form.

*Additionally, because we are vouching for students and the MI program, the certification process typically moves quicker than if students were to apply for certification on their own. It can take between two and ten weeks to receive the certification once a student’s application and credentials have been submitted to the MI program, depending on volume at the Department of Education. Students who have been waiting more than10 weeks should contact Student Services so we may follow up with the Department of Education. Please download the application materials indicated below and follow the instructions regarding what needs to be sent to our office.

​Please reach out to Allison Machiaverna prior to mailing your documents. Once confirmed, all documents can be mailed to:

Allison Machiaverna
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
School of Communication and Information
The Office of Student Services – Room 214
4 Huntington Street
New Brunswick, NJ 08901-1071

Non-Degree Application

For potential students who are interested in taking courses as a non-degree student, the Master of Information program limits non-degree status to students who fit the following criteria:

  1. Rutgers MI graduates who did not complete the School Librarianship concentration and/or the education component while completing a MI degree. **Students graduating or recently graduated, please contact Allison Machiaverna, Graduate Student Counselor, before submitting a non-degree application.**
  2. Degreed librarians who wish to make a career change to school libraries. If a student holds a MI degree and focused on an area other than school library media studies during a program of study, the student will need to complete additional coursework to meet the state requirements for School Library Media Specialist. Rutgers cannot review a student’s academic program, from another institution, to determine which courses may need to be taken. Please send all evaluation questions, along with a cover letter explaining the student’s situation, a copy of a MI transcript, and a copy of the course descriptions from that MI program, to the NJDOE at licensing.requests@doe.state.nj.us

Please note, following the admission cycle deadline, your certification evaluation from the New Jersey State Department of Education will be reviewed by the Admissions Committee. If it's determined that you will require four or more courses in order to meet the School Library Media certification, you will not be eligible for the non degree, professional credit program. Four or more courses exceeds the maximum number of courses allowed in the non-degree, professional credit program. If you remain interested, we will update your records in the application portal to reflect your consideration to the Master of Information program. You would be classified as a MI applicant. Be advised that your MI application may require additional documentation. 

Non-Degree Application Process

  • Complete the Graduate Application by the application deadline:
    • Select "Non-Degree Application" as Application Type
    • When reaching "Index of Graduate Programs", select "Professional Credit Programs"
    • Select "SC&I Professional Development" as Program Name
  • Application requirements include:
    • Official MI transcripts with student’s name, institution's name, and date of degree conferred
    • The State of New Jersey Department of Education evaluation to determine SLMS CE/CEAS eligibility (uploaded as a supporting document)
    • $70 Non-refundable Application Fee (requested immediately after the application is submitted)

Applications must be complete with all the above requirements by the deadline to be considered for admission:

  • September Admission: August 1 
  • January Admission: December 1 
  • May Admission: April 15 

Following the application deadline, completed applications will be reviewed. Applicants will be informed of a decision via mail. Applicants can also check their admission status online.  Once admitted as a non-degree student, students may register for courses but will need to request special permission numbers from the Office of Student Services.