K-12 School Librarianship

Certification-K12-School-Librarianship_PIf you are interested in working as a library media specialist in K-12 schools, the University of Illinois Graduate School of Library and Information Science (GSLIS) offers a program that allows you to meet the requirements for the Master of Science in Library and Information Science (MS/LIS), while also pursuing the courses and training needed for licensure as a "Library Information Specialist" in the state of Illinois. The MS/LIS is accredited by the American Library Association (ALA) and is continuously ranked one of the best in the field. The requirements for school licensure were approved by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) in 2001 and are in compliance with the most current Content Area Standards for Educators. Please note: The Illinois State Board of Education can and may change the rules for teacher licensure and endorsement at any time. Candidates are responsible for meeting the rules that are in place at the time the application for licensure or endorsement is submitted.

Depending on your background and what credentials you have already earned, there are several different paths toward library licensure. The prerequisites for and outcomes of these different paths are outlined in the following table.


If you do not have a teaching license...

MS/K-12 LIS Licensure Program

If you  have an Illinois* teaching license...

Earn LIS Endorsement as either...

an MS student

a nondegree student

Admission Requirements


  • 40 hours of required LIS courses
  • 4 Education Courses (current program)                 1 Special Education Course (revised program)
  • 40 hours of LIS courses, including 24 hours of recommended courses for the endorsement
  • 24 hours of recommended LIS courses (LIS 403, 404, 445, 504, 505, 506, 507 OR 590 CBL, 516)


  • 100-hour practicum
  • 16 weeks of student teaching
  • None required, but practicum is strongly recommended
  • Not available


  • Basic Skills Test or Test of Academic Proficiency or ACT plus Writing** or SAT** (required for admission)
  • Pass the LIS Content Area Test
  • Pass the LIS Content Area Test
  • Pass the LIS Content Area Test

Number of
Semesters Needed
(summers counted
as a semester)

  • Full-time: 5-8 semesters
  • Part-time: Must be completed within 5 years
  • Full-time: 3-4 semesters
  • Part-time: Must be completed within 5 years
  • Full-time: 2-3 semesters
  • Part-time: 3-6 semesters


  • LIS courses offered on-campus and via Leep
  • Some Education courses offered online; others may be completed at another university with prior approval
  • Courses offered on-campus and via Leep
  • Courses offered on-campus and via Leep


  • Earn an MS in Library and Information Science
  • Earn a Professional Educator License (PEL) with a Special (K-12) LIS Endorsement

*If you hold an out-of-state teaching license, contact your local Regional Office of Education (ROE) for information on how to obtain an Illinois teaching license. For information about each state's school library licensure requirements, go to the School Library Monthly website.

**As of February 2013 ISBE approved rules that allow prospective candidates to use their ACT or SAT score in lieu of passing the Test of Academic Proficiency (TAP). However, the official ACT score report cannot be more than ten years old at the time of application to ISBE for licensure. Applicants wishing to use their ACT or SAT scores in lieu of the TAP must create an ELIS account and have their scores sent directly to ISBE.  See the CoTE for testing requirements.  Required scores are: a composite score of 22 on the ACT Plus Writing and minimum combined English/Writing score of 19 ( if taken before September 1, 2015); a composite score of 22 on the ACT and minimum writing score of 16 (if taken after September 1, 2015); or a composite score of 1030 on the SAT for critical reading and math with a minimum writing score of 450.

***The Middle Grades endorsement is required to work in a library in a building containing grades 5-8.  Until December 2017, these courses may be taken on-campus at Illinois or through the Middle Grades Endorsement Online program offered by the College of Education. Candidates may also satisfy the middle grades endorsement through coursework taken at another university. See the ISBE website for pre-approved middle grade courses available at other Illinois and out-of-state universities.