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 #2 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

***New certification applications will not be accepted until June 1, 2022. We appreciate your patience and understanding, as the NJDOE is currently implementing a new application process. Updates will be made to our website once they are provided.***

**Please contact Allison Machiaverna to confirm successful completion of certification requirements at a.machiaverna@rutgers.edu or 848-932-8742 prior to submitting your documents. Documents will only be accepted via email.

Please read below to review the actions required to apply for your CE or CEAS.

1. Complete the Certification application. Please be sure to fully complete the NJDOE Certification Application, including side two. U.S. citizens must review the options offered under the "Oath of Allegiance" and complete the appropriate choice.  

2. An official e-transcript directly from the institution, confirming degree completion is required. Please note at Rutgers University, it can take up to several weeks before degrees are updated on student transcripts, following your final semester, to reflect degree completion.  Request your Rutgers transcript online. Please request e-transcripts be sent directly to Andrea Sacco, at andrea.sacco@rutgers.edu.

3. If students have fulfilled the education requirement (outside of Rutgers or prior to the Rutgers MI September 2019 curriculum update), ONE of the following ​is required.

  •  a copy of the standard teaching certificate OR
  •  proof that a student has completed an NJ State-approved college teacher preparation program with or without student teaching. The Verification of Program Completion form is preferred, OR
  • All THREE DOCUMENTS below:
    • An official e-transcript from the institution where education coursework was completed, directly sent to Andrea Sacco at andrea.sacco@rutgers.edu AND
    • A letter of support from the institution vouching for the coherent plan of study the student has completed. If a student completed the education courses through our office, please advise Allison Machiaverna at a.machiaverna@rutgers.edu AND
    • Verification of Program Completion form.

*Additionally, because The Office of Student Services at the School of Communication and Information is confirming successful completion of the MI program for students, the certification process typically moves quicker than if students were to apply for certification on their own through the New Jersey Department of Education. It can take two to six weeks to receive the certification once a student’s application and credentials have been submitted to The Office of Student Services, depending on volume at the New Jersey Department of Education. Students who have been waiting more than six weeks should contact Student Services so we may follow up with the Department of Education. 

4.  ​Please click on the link below to complete the NJDOE required payment of $170.00. Payment ​must be made using Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover or a bank account: https://ce-catalog.rutgers.edu/coursedisplay.cfm?schID=79845

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.