School Library Certification & Distance Education FAQs

Is this the same as school library media specialist?
Yes, school library media specialist, instructional library media specialist, teacher librarian are all titles for the same position in the school teaching staff.
Can I get certified as an Library Media Specialist through SOIS Distance Education?
There are two ways you can use our courses for certification:

  1. Use our courses to fulfill obligations in a program you have established in your state through a certifying body.
  2. Complete the Wisconsin certification program through UWM SOIS and apply for recognition of this certificate in your state.
How do I find out what my state requires for certification?
Consult your state’s department of education webpage or consult an advisor in a nearby school of education. Do not rely on information from a practicing school librarian. Certification programs are being revised all over the country and you need current and accurate information. This website lists state by state requirements:
My state would certify me with a UWM endorsement. What does that mean?
Usually, this endorsement means you have completed all the requirements for certification in Wisconsin.
So, what are the main features of Wisconsin certification for Library Media Specialist?
  1. You need to be a licensed classroom teacher or be eligible for licensure by the time you wish to complete the Practicum requirement.
  2. You need to follow a master’s program of coursework (see website or catalog).
  3. You need to complete a 200 hour practicum, split between elementary and secondary levels.
  4. You need to create an electronic portfolio demonstrating your competency in the seven standards for Library Media Specialist.
I have a teaching license in my state. Is that sufficient?
Yes, for your state. If you were to come to Wisconsin, you would have to apply for an in-state license.
I don’t have a teaching license. Will my work with SOIS lead to one?
No. These are two completely separate programs. In effect, Wisconsin and nearly every other state (see state by state requirements) considers Library Media Certification an add-on to an existing teaching license.
Does Wisconsin require the Praxis exam?
No, not for this license.
If my state requires Praxis, do I need to take it?
Probably. This is a question for your own state’s licensing body.
Would I have to do a practicum?
Yes, 200 hours of supervised practicum, working alongside a professional library media specialist is a requirement. If you are employed on an Emergency 1902 license, your practicum hours may be reduced. In all cases, Wisconsin students will receive a site visit (in person or via Skype or other videoconferencing) during practicum. Out of state certification candidates will be supervised through the Practicum D2L site, phone, email, and videoconferencing.
Do I need to come to UWM?
No, there is no residency requirement.
Are all courses leading to certification available online?
If I want to enter your program and work toward Wisconsin certification, what do I need to do?
In addition to your Graduate School application and SOIS Grad application, you will need to apply to the school library certification program. This application need not be submitted until you are accepted into the MLIS program or as a non-degree candidate(MLIS Admission Requirements found here>>).
I already have an MLIS. Can I take courses toward certification through SOIS?
Yes. You need to apply as a non-degree graduate student, stating certification as a reason for your application.
Now I really have questions! Who can I talk to?
Mary Wepking, School Library Media Coordinator, will be happy to field your questions. Please email her at