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Washington Librarian Certification FAQ

  1. I have been certified as a librarian in another state. Is this sufficient for my obtaining certification in Washington?
  2. I have a degree from a foreign university. Is my degree equivalent to the American Library Association accredited library program degree?
  3. I am interested in working as a school media specialist in Washington. Do I have to have Librarian Certification to do this?
  4. I am interested in pursuing a master's degree in Library science. Who offers this degree?
  5. I have over X years experience working as a professional librarian, but no graduate level coursework or degree. Will my work experience qualify me for certification?
  6. I have a master's degree in a related field and ample professional experience in libraries. Will I qualify for librarian certification?
  7. I will be graduating with my ALA accredited MLS next month. May I apply for certification before my graduation date so that I may begin applying for jobs immediately (before graduation)?

I have been certified as a librarian in another state. Is this sufficient for my obtaining certification in Washington?
No. Washington does not have reciprocity with other states certifying librarians. (WAC 300-12-020)
I have a degree from a foreign university. Is my degree equivalent to the American Library Association accredited library program degree?
Possibly. ALA recognizes certain countries as having “formal” accreditation processes. An individual who has received his/her degree from an institution in one of these countries is considered acceptable for employment in the United States. You will find information on equivalent foreign degrees at the ALA website, along with information on two independent agencies in the U.S. which evaluate international credentials.
I am interested in working as a school media specialist in Washington. Do I have to have Librarian Certification to do this?
The Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) establishes the qualification guidelines for school media specialists in Washington. The State Library is not involved in this process.
I am interested in pursuing a master’s degree in Library science. Who offers this degree?
The American Library Association has a list of accredited MLS programs on their website. The University of Washington is the only school that offers ALA accredited programs in this state, but other schools do have distance learning opportunities available. The ALA website also has information on distance programs.
I have over X years experience working as a professional librarian, but no graduate level coursework or degree. Will my work experience qualify me for certification?
No, WAC 300-12-015 clearly states that “In no case may work experience substitute for education.”
I have a master’s degree in a related field and ample professional experience in libraries. Will I qualify for librarian certification?
Situations such as this are evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Applicants falling into this category would follow the instructions under “Applicants without an ALA accredited library program degree” given on the main Librarian Certification page. If you meet the minimum requirements described there, you may submit a portfolio for review along with your application and processing fee.
I will be graduating with my ALA accredited MLS next month. May I apply for certification before my graduation date so that I may begin applying for jobs immediately (before graduation)?
Applications may be submitted 4 weeks prior to graduation and will be held until we receive an official transcript verifying that you have earned your degree. Verification timelines for recent graduates are largely dictated by how long it takes your school to provide the official transcript. If you wish to apply for jobs prior to or immediately after graduation and have not yet received your certification, we suggest adding “in process” or “pending” to your applications. If you have submitted an application for employement, an employer may contact us directly to verify this.
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