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In South Carolina, school librarians must gain certification from the South Carolina State Department of Education. Historically, South Carolina librarian received librarian-teacher certificates. An increased need for librarians to have skills in online and electronic research materials led to the replacement of this certification with the media specialist designation. To qualify for a media specialist certificate in South Carolina, prospective educators must meet a series of requirements.
All candidates for certification as media specialists in South Carolina must possess a minimum of a master's degree. The state also requires candidates to complete a state-approved specialist preparation education program prior to gaining the credential. One school, the University of South Carolina at Columbia, offers a master's program that also fulfills the preparation program requirement. Candidates who have a master's degree from a library science or media technology program from outside the state may complete a postgraduate certificate program at the university.
All candidates for media specialist certification must pass a series of examinations. These tests, Praxis II, are offered through Educational Testing Services. Both exams are multiple-choice and offered both in computer-based and pencil-and-paper forms. Candidates first take an examination that deals with the teaching profession, including how to develop curriculum and manage a classroom. The second test relates directly to library science and media technology. The test consists of 120 questions and lasts up to two hours.
The South Carolina State Department of Education requires all candidates for library media specialist certification to undergo a criminal background check, which the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division conduct in tandem. To begin the background check, candidates must undergo professional fingerprinting either by visiting a LiveScan testing center in the state or local police department. Applicants must pay a fee for the fingerprinting, which was $54.25 as of February 2011.
Media specialist applicants who already have a librarian or media specialist license or certificate from another state may qualify for South Carolina certification through reciprocity. Through this program, candidates are exempt from completing the South Carolina educator preparation program. Depending on their state's requirements, out-of-state librarians may also receive an exemption for the Praxis II testing. Reciprocal certification candidates must undergo a criminal background check and send proof of their licensing and previous education to the South Carolina State Department of Education.
- South Carolina State Department of Education: Certification Handbook
- South Carolina State Department of Education: Approved Educator Preparation
- South Carolina State Department of Education: Required Examinations
- Educational Testing Service: Library Media Specialist Examination
- South Carolina State Department of Education: Fingerprinting
- South Carolina State Department of Education: Steps to Certification
Faith Davies has been writing professionally since 1996, contributing to various websites. She holds an LAH insurance license in the state of Pennsylvania and has experience as a bank branch manager and lending officer. Davies graduated cum laude from the University of Pittsburgh with a Bachelor of Arts in art history.