FAQs

General | MS/K-12 | Current Teachers/ISBE Endorsements | CAS/K-12

General Questions:

  1. How can I become an Illinois school librarian?
  2. I am interested in applying to the K-12 LIS Licensure Program, but I understand there are some tests that I'll have to take. What are they, when do I take them, and how do I find out where and when they are offered?
  3. Are there any study preparation resources available for the TAP and other tests?

MS/K-12 LIS Licensure Program Questions

  1. What are the course requirements for the MS/K-12 LIS Licensure Program?
  2. In addition to coursework, what do I have to do to complete the K-12 Library Information Specialist Licensure Program?
  3. I would like to be able to work in a school library media center in Illinois, but I do not have a teaching license. Can I obtain my teaching license through a program?
  4. I am a MS/LIS student, and I do not have an Illinois teaching license. How do I apply to the K-12 program?
  5. I am a MS/LIS student and plan to graduate soon. I recently decided I would like to apply to the K-12 LIS Licensure Program, is it too late?
  6. I am a current MS student and am considering the CAS/K-12 LIS Licensure Program, what are the course requirements?
  7. I have questions regarding preparation for school librarianship that are not answered here. Where can I go for further information?

Current Teachers/Endorsement Questions

  1. I would like to be able to work in a school library media center in Illinois, and I have a teaching license from the State of Illinois. Can I obtain my LIS Endorsement through a program?
  2. What are the course requirements for the LIS Endorsement?
  3. I would like to be able to work in a school in Illinois, and I have a teaching license from the State of Illinois. Can I obtain my Technology Specialist Endorsement?
  4. What are the course requirements for the TS Endorsement?
  5. I have a current Illinois Professional Educator License (PEL) with an Elementary Education Endorsement. I am working toward a Library Information Specialist or Technology Specialist Endorsement and plan to work in a school that includes 5, 6, 7, and/or 8th graders. What else do I need?
  6. I would like to be able to work in a school library media center in Illinois, and I have a teaching license from another state. How do I obtain an LIS or TS Endorsement to work in Illinois schools?
  7. I have a current teaching license but it is not from Illinois. Can I become licensed in my state by completing the MS/LIS program?
  8. I have a current Illinois Professional Educator License (PEL) with either an Early Childhood or Elementary Education Endorsement and would like to obtain a K-12 Library Information Specialist or Technology Specialist Endorsement. Is this possible?
  9. I have a current Illinois Professional Educator License (PEL) with a Secondary Education Endorsement and would like to obtain a K-12 Library Information Specialist Endorsement. Is this possible?
  10. I have a current Illinois Special (K-12) Endorsement on my Professional Educator License (PEL) and would like to obtain a Special (K-12) LIS or TS Endorsement. Is this possible?
  11. I want to take courses for the LIS or TS Endorsement but not apply to the MS/LIS program. How can I do this?
  12. Which courses are usually open to continuing education students?
  13. How and when can I register for courses as a continuing education student?
  14. After I have completed 24 hours of LIS or TS coursework and passed the appropriate content area test, how do I apply for the endorsement?
  15. I have questions regarding preparation for school librarianship that are not answered here. Where can I go for further information?

CAS/K-12 LIS Licensure Program Questions

  1. What is the Certificate of Advanced Study (CAS)?
  2. Who may apply to the CAS program?
  3. How do I apply to the CAS program?
  4. What courses are required for the CAS?
  5. What are some examples of the CAS Project?
  6. Whom can I contact for more information about the CAS?

General Questions:

1. How can I become an Illinois school librarian?

School librarians must be licensed teachers. Depending on your background and what credentials you have, there are several different programs of study leading to library licensure. For more information about which path you should take, please see: /academics/programs/k12

1. Library Information Specialist Endorsement: Permits the holder of a current Illinois classroom teaching license to work at either the elementary or secondary level, depending on the level of their classroom teaching endorsement on their Professional Educator License (PEL). The iSchool offers LIS courses both on-campus and online. (The Middle Grades endorsement is also required to work as a librarian in a building including grades 5-8.)

2. Library Information Specialist Licensure: Students must be accepted as a master’s degree student before applying to the K-12 LIS Licensure Program. This dual program enables students to obtain a MS/LIS and a Special (K-12) Library Information Specialist Endorsement on a Professional Educator License (PEL). The iSchool offers LIS courses both on-campus and online.

3. Library Information Specialist Licensure for students who already have a MS in LIS: The program that leads to school library licensure is the combined CAS/K-12 LIS Licensure Program. This dual program enables students to obtain a Certificate of Advanced Study in LIS and a Special (K-12) Library Information Specialist Endorsement on a Professional Educator License (PEL). We offer LIS courses both on-campus and online.

2. I am interested in applying to the K-12 program, but I understand there are some tests that I'll have to take. What are they, when do I take them, and how do I find out where and when they are offered?

In order to be admitted to the K-12 LIS Licensure program, you must first pass the Test of Academic Proficiency #400, which has replaced the Illinois Basic Skills test. As of February 2013, ISBE approved rules that allow prospective candidates to use one of the following assessments in lieu of the TAP. Tests of basic skills scores are valid indefinitely.

  • Illinois Basic Skills Test 096 or 300
  • ACT Plus Writing (with a composite ELA/Writing score of 22 and minimum Writing score of 19 if taken before September 2015)
  • ACT Plus Writing (with a composite score of 22 and a minimum Writing score of 16 if taken September 2015 or later)
  • SAT (with a score of 1030 or higher in critical reading + math and minimum writing score of 450)

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. The handout "TAP or ACT/SAT?" will help you decide which test to take. For more information please contact the K-12 Program Coordinator.

Before you do your student teaching, you must pass the Illinois Library Information Specialist Content-Area test #175. Information on test dates, locations, fees and study guides is available at the Illinois Licensure Testing System website.

3. Are there any study preparation resources available for the TAP and other tests?

Yes, there are many resources available to help you prepare for the TAP and other tests. One place you can go for help and to refresh your math skills is KHAN Academy.  KHAN Academy is a free, online resource that provides students with interactive challenges, assessments, and videos. Another way you can prepare for the TAP is on the ILTS website. They provide a free study guide, videos and tutorials, and a TAP test framework. There is also a book, ILTS Test of Academic Proficiency (TAP) w/Online Tests that is a complete guide to taking the TAP.  Purchasing this book also give you access to the online practice tests. This book can be purchased through REA.com or on Amazon. If you are interested in a math tutor, please contact the K-12 Program Coordinator for more information.

Return to top

MS/K-12 LIS Licensure Program Questions:

1. What are the course requirements for the MS/K-12 LIS Licensure Program?

See the MS/K-12 course requirements for Library Information Specialist Licensure:
/academics/degrees/k12/msk12/course-summary-new

2. In addition to coursework, what do I have to do to complete the K-12 Library Information Specialist Licensure Program?

After completion of the required LIS and Education coursework including a 100-hour practicum, candidates register for a semester of student teaching. This includes two placements: one in an elementary and one in a secondary school library media center under the supervision of licensed librarians. Also required is a passing score on a standardized content area test. For more information about program requirements: /academics/programs/k12/msk12/checklist

3. I would like to be able to work in a school library media center in Illinois, but I do not have a teaching license. Can I obtain my teaching license through a program?

Yes, the combined MS/K-12 LIS Licensure Program is designed to equip students with both a Master of Science in library and information science and a Special (K-12) LIS Endorsement on an Illinois Professional Educator License (PEL). The program requires 40 hours of required LIS coursework, 1 education course, a 100-hour practicum, 16 weeks of student teaching, and a passing score on the LIS Content Area test. A passing score on the Test of Academic Proficiency #400, which has replaced the Illinois Basic Skills test, is required for admission into the program. 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). Tests of basic skills scores are valid indefinitely. 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:

  • ACT Plus Writing (with a composite ELA/Writing score of 22 and minimum Writing score of 19 if taken before September 2015)
  • ACT Plus Writing (with a composite score of 22 and a minimum Writing score of 16 if taken September 2015 or later)
  • SAT (with a score of 1030 or higher in critical reading + math and minimum writing score of 450)

The Illinois Licensure Testing System administers all of the tests. More information about the combined MS/K-12 LIS Licensure Program can be found at: /academics/programs/k12/msk12

4. I am a MS/LIS student, and I do not have an Illinois teaching license. How do I apply to the K-12 program?

Current MS/LIS students may apply to the K-12 program after completing 8 LIS hours. To apply you must pass the Test of Academic Proficiency #400, which has replaced the Basic Skills test. 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 the program AND 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: 

  • ACT Plus Writing (with a composite ELA/Writing score of 22 and minimum Writing score of 19 if taken before September 2015)
  • ACT Plus Writing (with a composite score of 22 and a minimum Writing score of 16 if taken September 2015 or later)
  • SAT (with a score of 1030 or higher in critical reading + math and minimum writing score of 450)

You must also submit the K-12 Application form along with the required essays. Students should see the Admissions section of our website for specific application requirements, deadlines, and forms: /admissions/requirements/k12

5. I am a MS/LIS student and plan to graduate soon. I recently decided I would like to apply to the K-12 LIS Licensure Program; is it too late?

You may want to consider applying to the CAS/K-12 LIS Licensure Program. The first step in this process is to schedule a meeting with the K-12 Program Coordinator to discuss your options. You must be a degree-seeking student (either MS/LIS or CAS) to apply to the licensure program.

6. I am a current MS/LIS student and am considering the CAS/K-12 LIS Licensure Program, what are the course requirements?

See the CAS/K-12 course requirements for Library Information Specialist Licensure:

Some of your MS/LIS courses may meet the program requirements. Upon admission to the K-12 program, the University of Illinois Council on Teacher Education (CoTE) will evaluate your college/university transcripts. Remaining coursework will be based on the evaluation.

7. I have questions regarding preparation for school librarianship that are not answered here. Where can I go for further information?

Email ischool-advising [at] illinois.edu

Return to Top

Current Teachers/Endorsement Questions:

1. I would like to be able to work in a school library media center in Illinois, and I have a teaching license from the State of Illinois. Can I obtain my LIS Endorsement through a program?

Yes, you have two options:

1. You can take the 24 hours of recommended LIS courses as a nondegree student. For more information: /academics/programs/k12/endorsements

2. You can apply to the MS/LIS program and complete the 24 hours of recommended LIS courses for your endorsement as part of the 40 hour total for the MS degree. For more information about the MS/LIS program: /academics/programs/k12/endorsement-courses 

2. What are the course requirements for the LIS Endorsement?

If you are an MS/LIS student, see recommended courses for the MS/LIS Endorsement:
/academics/programs/k12/endorsement-courses

If you are a nondegree student, see recommended courses for the LIS Endorsement:

/academics/programs/k12/endorsements

3. I would like to be able to work in a school in Illinois, and I have a teaching license from the State of Illinois. Can I take courses for the Technology Specialist Endorsement?

Yes, you have two options:

1. You can take the 24 hours of ISBE-approved TS courses as a nondegree student. For more information: /academics/programs/k12/endorsements

2. You can apply to the MS/LIS program and complete the 24 hours of recommended TS courses for your endorsement as part of the 40 hour total for the MS degree. For more information about the MS/LIS program: /academics/programs/k12/endorsement-courses 

4. What are the course requirements for the TS Endorsement?

If you are an MS/LIS student, see recommended courses for the MS/TS Endorsement:
/academics/programs/k12/endorsement-courses

If you are a nondegree student, see recommended courses for the TS Endorsement:

/academics/programs/k12/endorsements

5. I have a current Illinois Professional Educator License (PEL) with an Elementary Education Endorsement. I am working toward an Library Information Specialist or Technology Specialist Endorsement and plan to work in a school that includes 5, 6, 7, and/or 8th graders. What else do I need?

You will also need 6 hours of middle grades coursework. These courses may be taken on-campus or online through the Middle Grades Endorsement Online program offered by the College of Education at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. However, the ISBE website lists all pre-approved middle grade courses that are available at other Illinois and out-of-state universities.

PLEASE NOTE: The requirement that currently allows licensed Illinois teachers to add a content area endorsement for teaching a subject at the middle grades level, will be changing as of January 31, 2018. If you want to add a middle grades endorsement to your Illinois license as described above, take 6 hours of middle grades courses and the appropriate content area test as soon as possible, and no later than December 1, 2017 because the endorsement must be granted BY January 31, 2018.

6. I would like to be able to work in a school library media center in Illinois, and I have a teaching license from another state. How do I obtain an LIS or TS Endorsement to work in Illinois schools?

You should apply for an Illinois teaching license from the Illinois State Board of Education, then follow the requirements for adding the LIS or TS Endorsement on your license. For information about applying for an Illinois license, contact an Illinois Regional Office of Education (ROE). To locate your regional office, see the Directory of Regional Offices: http://www.isbe.state.il.us/regionaloffices/pdf/roedirectory.pdf

Information for out-of-state applicants can be found at: http://www.isbe.state.il.us/licensure/html/prospective_outofstate.htm

7. I have a current teaching license but it is not from Illinois. Can I become licensed in my state by completing the MS/LIS program?

The information about the LIS or TS endorsement that is on our web site is specific to the state of Illinois requirements for Illinois licensed teachers. We advise out-of-state teachers to contact their state boards of education to find out what the requirements are for working as a school library media specialist. Information about each state’s requirements and/or reciprocity can be found on the School Library Monthly’s website: https://web.archive.org/web/20150318065814/http://www.schoollibrarymonth...

If our courses meet your state’s requirements for licensure, you are able to take LIS or TS courses offered online as either a nondegree student or by applying to the MS program. For more information about taking courses online, please visit:
/academics/leep

8. I have a current Illinois Professional Educator License (PEL) with an Elementary Education Endorsement and would like to obtain a K-12 Library Information Specialist or Technology Specialist endorsement. Is this possible?

No, the Illinois State Board of Education does not have a provision for teachers holding Early Childhood or Elementary Education Endorsements on their Professional Educator License (PEL) to obtain a K-12 endorsement. For the LIS endorsement, the only option is to apply to the K-12 LIS Licensure Program as a degree-seeking student. Licensure candidates will have to meet all of the requirements of the program, which include a 100-hour practicum and at least one 8-week student teaching placement in a school library.

9. I have a current Illinois Professional Educator License (PEL) with a Secondary Education Endorsement and would like to obtain a K-12 Library Information Specialist or Technology Specialist Endorsement. Is this possible?

No, the Illinois State Board of Education does not have a provision for teachers holding Secondary Endorsements on their Professional Educator License (PEL) to obtain a K-12 endorsement. For the LIS endorsement, the only option is to apply to the K-12 LIS Licensure Program as a degree-seeking student. Licensure candidates will have to meet all of the requirements of the program, which include a 100-hour practicum and at least one student teaching placemen in a school library.

10. I have a current Illinois Professional Educator License (PEL) with a Special (K-12) Endorsement and would like to obtain a Special (K-12) LIS or TS Endorsement. Is this possible?

Yes, the three LIS or TS Endorsements (primary, middle, and secondary) can be added to the Professional Educator License (PEL) after completion of  requirements for each endorsement.

11. I want to take courses for the LIS or TS Endorsement but not apply to the MS/LIS program. How can I do this?

You can take courses as a nondegree student towards the LIS or TS Endorsement. Available courses are those, both on campus and online, that have seats open for nondegree students. The list of courses varies from semester to semester based on course offerings and enrollment by degree-seeking students. Only 12 credit hours taken as a nondegree student can be applied to the MS/LIS degree, if you should decide to apply for the program.

12. Which courses are usually open to continuing education students?

The list of courses open for nondegree students varies from semester to semester but typically includes courses that are accepted by ISBE towards the endorsements. The list of available courses is published on the web site after degree seeking students have registered, and we know which classes have open seats. Please check the Continuing Education page for information.

13. How and when can I register for courses as a continuing education student?

Prior to registering for a course, you will need to complete a “Request to Enroll" form on the Continuing Education page. If your request is approved, you will receive instructions on how to register. If we cannot accommodate your reques for a specific course, you will be notified and presented with other options. Registration dates vary by semester but typically you can register about two months before the beginning of the next semester. For more information, please contact klucht [at] illinois.edu (Karla Lucht).

14. After I have completed 24 hours of LIS or TS coursework and passed the appropriate content area test, how do I apply for the endorsement?

Applicants should email Brenda Clevenger, CoTE Assistant Director and Certification Officer (bmclvngr [at] illinois.edu) with a request to add an endorsement to their PEL. Since there are three endorsements (primary, middle grades, secondary), applicants must be specific as to which endorsement(s) they want to add. If an applicant is applying for a middle grades endorsement, they must also have completed 6 hours of approved middle grades coursework. After Ms. Clevenger adds the endorsement, applicants will receive an email directing them to go online to ISBE's Educator Licensure Information System (ELIS) to "claim" the endorsement(s) and pay the application fee of $50.00/endorsement.

PLEASE NOTE: The requirement that currently allows licensed Illinois teachers to add a content area endorsement for teaching a subject at the middle grades level, will be changing as of January 31, 2018. If you want to add a middle grades endorsement to your Illinois license as described above, take 6 hours of middle grades courses and the appropriate content area test as soon as possible, and no later than December 1, 2017 because the endorsement must be granted BY January 31, 2018.

15. I have questions regarding preparation for school librarianship that are not answered here. Where can I go for further information?Email ischool-advising [at] illinois.edu

Return to top

CAS/K-12 LIS Licensure Program Questions:

1. What is the Certificate of Advanced Study (CAS)?

The CAS is open to individuals who hold an MS in library and information science and wish to pursue an additional formal program of study. Librarians, information scientists, and others in information management enroll in the program to refresh and update their skills, gain greater specialization or redirect their careers from one area of the field to another. Individuals who enroll in the CAS/K-12 LIS Licensure Program do so to earn the Special (K-12) LIS Endorsement on their Professional Educator License (PEL) or to complete the requirements for their initial PEL, which will permit them to work as a school librarian in an elementary, middle, or secondary school in Illinois. 

2. Who may apply to the CAS program?

To be eligible to apply for admission to the CAS program, an individual must have completed a master’s degree in library and information science with a minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0-point scale. A minimum GPA of 3.0 is also required in the last 60 semester hours of the applicant’s undergraduate degree program. 

3. How do I apply to the CAS program?

Prospective students who are not current MS/LIS students or alumni apply to the CAS program using the Graduate College’s Web-based Electronic Application. Deadlines for submission of application materials are March 15 for summer entry, June 15 for fall entry, and November 15 for spring entry. Prospective CAS students who are currently enrolled in the MS/LIS program or who are iSchool alumni, should follow the directions for application to the program at: /admissions/requirements/k12.

Those applying to the combined CAS/K-12 Licensure program must also submit the K-12 LIS Licensure Program Application and an official score report demonstrating a passing score on the Test of Academic Proficiency #400, which has replaced the Illinois Basic Skills Test, administered by the Illinois Licensure Testing System. 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 the program AND 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:

  • ACT Plus Writing (with a composite ELA/Writing score of 22 and minimum Writing score of 19 if taken before September 2015)
  • ACT Plus Writing (with a composite score of 22 and a minimum Writing score of 16 if taken September 2015 or later)
  • SAT (with a score of 1030 or higher in critical reading + math and minimum writing score of 450)

More information about applying to the K-12 LIS Licensure Program, including specific deadlines can be found at: /admissions/requirements/k12

4. What courses are required for the CAS?

The CAS is a 40-semester-hour program of study that is individually tailored to meet the student’s professional and educational needs and goals. The student plans a sequence of 32 semester-hours of coursework with input from the student’s faculty advisor. The final 8 hours of credit is devoted to the CAS project, a substantive investigation of a problem in librarianship, which is concluded by a public presentation to the student’s CAS committee.

Students enrolled in the combined CAS/K-12 LIS Licensure Program follow a more prescribed sequence of courses, including an 100 hour practicum and 16 weeks of student teaching in two different settings, to ensure that all requirements leading to licensure are completed. In addition to coursework, passing scores on the LIS Content Test, administered by the Illinois Licensure Testing System, are required for licensure.

5. What are some examples of the CAS Project?

The CAS project is a substantive investigation of a problem in librarianship or information science that is developed by the student in consultation with his/her advisor and concluded by a public presentation to the student's CAS committee. Examples of the CAS project for licensure students are the definition of an action research project, an extensive reflection on best practice evidence as required by National Board Certification candidates or the development of a comprehensive library information science curriculum. For examples of CAS projects please see: /academics/programs/k12/cas-k12#courseload 

6. Whom can I contact for more information about the CAS?

For more information about the CAS with a focus in school librarianship or the CAS/K-12 LIS Licensure program, please contact the K-12 Program Coordinator. Additional information is also available online at: /academics/programs/k12/cas-k12

Return to top