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Top 10 Library Assistant Certifications

This article provides an overview of the most popular library assistant certifications and their benefits.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 17 min read

Certifications for a library assistant are important in the job market as they demonstrate a commitment to the profession and provide evidence of skills, knowledge, and experience. Employers may require certifications from library assistants in order to ensure that their employees are properly trained and qualified for the job. Certifications can also help library assistants stand out amongst other applicants by demonstrating a dedication to their career and providing evidence of experience. This can give them an edge when applying for positions or negotiating better salaries. Additionally, certifications may show employers that the individual has kept up with changes in the field, such as new technologies or best practices, which can be invaluable to any organization.

The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the most beneficial certifications for Library Assistants and explain how these can help advance their careers.

What are Library Assistant Certifications?

Library assistant certification is a professional credential that recognizes the knowledge and skills of library assistants. This certification demonstrates an individual’s proficiency in providing assistance to library patrons, managing library materials, and performing administrative tasks. It can help library assistants stand out from other applicants when seeking employment opportunities and increase their chances of advancement within their current positions. Additionally, it may also qualify them for higher pay or a promotion.

Certification usually involves passing an exam that tests knowledge of the principles and practices of library operations as well as general customer service skills. The test covers topics such as cataloging and classification systems, circulation policies, reference services, information literacy, technology applications, and more. In addition to taking the exam, some certifications may require library assistants to complete additional training or continuing education requirements in order to maintain their credential.

For those currently employed as a library assistant or considering pursuing this career path, obtaining certification can be beneficial in many ways. It can provide a competitive edge over other job candidates as well as demonstrate commitment to the profession by showing dedication to professional development and growth. Additionally, it serves as validation of one’s competency in providing quality customer service while working with diverse populations in a public setting.

Pro Tip: Before pursuing library assistant certification, research the requirements for the specific program you are considering to ensure that it meets your professional goals. Many programs have specific skill requirements or require a certain number of hours of work experience in a library setting.

Related: What does a Library Assistant do?

Top 10 Library Assistant Certifications

Here’s our list of the best certifications available to Library Assistants today.

1. Certified Library Assistant (CLA)

A Certified Library Assistant (CLA) is a professional designation that recognizes the knowledge and skills of library assistants. It is awarded by the American Library Association (ALA) to those who have demonstrated proficiency in areas such as library operations, customer service, cataloging, circulation, and reference services.

It typically takes between one and two years to complete the requirements for certification. The first step is to become an ALA-accredited library assistant. This involves completing an accredited program or taking a minimum of 12 credit hours of coursework in library science from an accredited college or university. Once this requirement has been met, applicants must pass a written examination administered by the ALA.

The cost of becoming certified varies depending on the institution offering the certification program. In general, it can range from $200 to $500. Additionally, there are fees associated with taking the exam and maintaining certification once it has been obtained.

Once certified, individuals may be eligible for higher pay and more opportunities for advancement within their organization. They will also have access to exclusive networking events and other benefits sponsored by the ALA.

2. Certified Academic Library Associate (CALA)

Certified Academic Library Associate (CALA) is a professional certification program developed by the American Library Association (ALA). It is designed to recognize library professionals who have demonstrated knowledge and proficiency in the areas of academic library services, resources, and operations. The certification requires successful completion of a comprehensive examination that tests a candidate’s knowledge of library services, resources, and operations.

The CALA certification program is open to any individual who has at least two years of full-time experience working in an academic library setting. Candidates must also demonstrate proficiency in the areas of collection development, reference services, technical services, and instruction.

The CALA exam consists of 100 multiple-choice questions that cover topics such as library collections and services; information literacy; technology; research methods; management; and marketing. The exam takes approximately four hours to complete.

To apply for the CALA exam, candidates must submit an application form along with supporting documents such as transcripts or proof of work experience. The application fee is $150 for ALA members or $175 for non-members. Once approved, candidates may register for an available testing date within one year from the time their application was approved.

Successful completion of the CALA exam results in a one-year certification that must be renewed annually through continuing education activities or retaking the exam every three years.

3. Certified Public Library Associate (CPLA)

Certified Public Library Associate (CPLA) is a certification program offered by the American Library Association (ALA). It is designed to recognize and promote professional excellence among library staff. The CPLA certification demonstrates that an individual has achieved a level of knowledge and skill in public library service, which is recognized as the highest standard of practice.

The CPLA program consists of four core areas: customer service, technology, collection development, and management. To earn the CPLA credential, individuals must complete all four core areas and pass an examination.

It typically takes two to three years to complete the requirements for the CPLA certification. During this time, individuals must complete at least 24 hours of continuing education in each of the four core areas. They must also demonstrate their knowledge through a series of written assignments and/or oral presentations. Once all requirements have been met, individuals can apply to take the CPLA exam.

The cost for taking the CPLA exam varies depending on where you take it; however, it typically ranges from $150-$250 USD. Additionally, there may be additional fees associated with completing continuing education courses or other required activities.

In order to maintain their certification status, individuals must participate in ongoing professional development activities every three years in order to stay current with trends in public library service.

4. Certified School Library Media Specialist (CSLMS)

A Certified School Library Media Specialist (CSLMS) is a professional credential that recognizes individuals who have achieved the highest level of expertise in school library media services. It is awarded by the American Association of School Librarians (AASL). To become certified, an individual must demonstrate knowledge and skills in library media services, including information literacy, technology integration, and collaboration with teachers and administrators.

It typically takes two years to complete the certification process. The first year involves completing a minimum of 18 semester hours of coursework in library media studies from an accredited institution. The second year requires passing a written exam that covers topics such as collection development, information literacy, technology integration, and collaboration with teachers and administrators.

To get certified, individuals must submit an application to AASL along with transcripts from their completed coursework. They must also pass the written exam and pay an application fee of $50 for AASL members or $100 for non-members. Once all requirements are met, applicants will receive their CSLMS certificate from AASL.

The cost of obtaining the CSLMS certification depends on several factors such as tuition fees for courses taken at an accredited institution and any additional materials needed to prepare for the exam.

5. ALA Certification in Library Support Staff Qualifications (CLSSQ)

ALA Certification in Library Support Staff Qualifications (CLSSQ) is a certification program offered by the American Library Association (ALA). It is designed to recognize and reward library support staff who demonstrate a high level of knowledge and skills in their field. The program helps library support staff stay current with trends, technologies, and best practices to better serve their patrons and employers.

The CLSSQ program consists of two parts: an online assessment and an online course. The online assessment tests knowledge in areas such as library operations, technology, customer service, and information literacy. The online course covers topics such as budgeting, collection development, cataloging and classification systems, reference services, and more.

It typically takes 4-6 months to complete the CLSSQ program depending on how much time you are able to devote to it. To get started you will need to register for the program on the ALA website. Once registered you can begin taking the online assessment at your own pace. After completing the assessment you will move onto the online course which can be completed at your own pace as well.

The cost of the CLSSQ program varies depending on whether or not you are an ALA member. For non-members, it costs $150 for both parts of the program; for members it costs $125 for both parts of the program.

6. American Library Association-Allied Professional Association (ALA-APA) Certificate of Merit in Library Support Staff Services

The American Library Association-Allied Professional Association (ALA-APA) Certificate of Merit in Library Support Staff Services is a professional certification program designed to recognize library support staff who demonstrate excellence in their field. The certificate is awarded to individuals who have demonstrated a high level of knowledge and skill in the areas of library operations, customer service, and technology.

To receive the ALA-APA Certificate of Merit, individuals must complete an application process that includes submitting proof of education and experience, references from employers or colleagues, and a written essay describing their contributions to library services. The application process typically takes two to three months to complete.

The cost for the ALA-APA Certificate of Merit varies depending on the type of application submitted. For applicants with fewer than five years’ experience in the library field, there is no fee; however, applicants with more than five years’ experience are required to pay a $100 fee. Applicants may also be required to pay additional fees for transcripts or other documents needed for their applications.

7. National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) Certification for School Library Media Specialists

National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) Certification for School Library Media Specialists is a certification program that recognizes the professional preparation and performance of school library media specialists. It is designed to ensure that school library media specialists are well-prepared to meet the needs of students in today’s diverse learning environments.

In order to receive NCATE certification, school library media specialists must complete an approved program at an accredited college or university. The program must include coursework in areas such as: library science, information literacy, technology integration, instructional strategies, and research skills. In addition, they must pass a comprehensive exam administered by NCATE.

The process of obtaining NCATE certification typically takes two years or more depending on the individual's academic background and experience level. During this time, individuals must complete their approved program of study and pass the NCATE exam.

The cost of obtaining NCATE certification varies depending on the institution offering the program and other associated fees such as application fees and exam costs. Generally speaking, it can range from several hundred dollars up to several thousand dollars.

8. National Institute for Technology and Liberal Education (NITLE) Certification for Academic Librarians

National Institute for Technology and Liberal Education (NITLE) Certification for Academic Librarians is a professional development program designed to provide librarians with the knowledge and skills necessary to effectively serve their academic communities. The certification is offered in both online and in-person formats, and provides librarians with an opportunity to gain expertise in areas such as library management, information literacy, digital scholarship, research methods, data curation, and more.

The NITLE Certification program consists of three levels: Level I is a basic introduction to the field; Level II focuses on developing competencies in specific areas; and Level III is an advanced level of study. Each level requires completion of a series of courses that focus on different aspects of library work. In general, it takes approximately two years to complete all three levels.

To get certified by NITLE, librarians must complete all required courses within the designated timeframe. They must also submit a portfolio demonstrating their mastery of the material covered in each course. Once they have completed all requirements, librarians will receive their NITLE certification from the Institute.

The cost of the NITLE Certification program varies depending on the number of courses taken and the type of format chosen (online or in-person). Generally speaking, it costs between $1,000-$2,000 USD for each level.

9. Microsoft Office Specialist: Word, Excel, PowerPoint

Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) is a certification program developed by Microsoft to validate an individual’s skills in the three core Microsoft Office applications: Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. The MOS certification is designed to demonstrate proficiency in these programs and can be used as a measure of competence when applying for jobs or seeking promotions.

The MOS certification exam consists of 50-60 multiple choice questions and takes approximately 90 minutes to complete. To pass the exam, you must answer at least 70% of the questions correctly.

To get certified, you must register with Certiport, an official testing center for MOS exams. You will then have to purchase the exam voucher from Certiport, which costs $150 USD per exam. Once you have purchased the voucher, you can schedule your exam at any time that is convenient for you.

After taking the exam, your results will be available immediately and you will receive your certificate within 2-3 weeks if you passed the exam. The certificate is valid for two years after which you may need to retake the exam in order to maintain your certification status.

10. Adobe Acrobat Professional

Adobe Acrobat Professional is a powerful software application used to create, edit, and sign PDF documents. It is the most widely used PDF editor in the world and is trusted by millions of users around the globe. With Adobe Acrobat Professional, you can easily create, edit, and convert PDF files into other formats such as Microsoft Word or Excel. You can also add annotations, comments, and signatures to your documents.

It typically takes a few minutes to download Adobe Acrobat Professional from the official website. Once downloaded, you will need to follow the on-screen instructions to install it on your computer. After installation is complete, you can launch the program and start creating or editing your PDFs.

Adobe Acrobat Professional is available for purchase from Adobe’s website at a one-time cost of $449 USD (as of June 2020). This cost includes access to all features within the program as well as technical support for one year after purchase. Additionally, Adobe offers discounted rates for students and teachers.

Do You Really Need a Library Assistant Certificate?

Yes, you do need a library assistant certificate if you want to work in a library. A library assistant certificate is proof that you have the necessary skills and knowledge to perform the job correctly. It also shows potential employers that you are committed to your work and have taken steps to further your education in this field.

Having a library assistant certificate can be beneficial for both the employer and employee. For employers, it ensures that they are hiring someone with the appropriate qualifications and experience for the job. This can help them save time and money by avoiding having to train someone without prior experience in this field.

For employees, it demonstrates their commitment to their profession and allows them to stand out from other applicants when applying for jobs. The certificate also provides an opportunity for career advancement as many libraries require their staff members to continue their education in order to stay current with new technologies or changes in information management systems.

Overall, having a library assistant certificate is a great way to demonstrate your dedication and expertise in this field so that you can be more successful in obtaining employment opportunities.

Related: Library Assistant Resume Examples

FAQs About Library Assistant Certifications

1. What is a library assistant certification?

Answer: Library assistant certification is a credential that demonstrates an individual has the knowledge and skills to work as a library assistant. It's typically awarded by professional organizations or educational institutions after successful completion of an exam or program.

2. What qualifications do I need to become certified as a library assistant?

Answer: The specific qualifications vary depending on the organization offering the certification. Generally, applicants must have some prior experience in a library setting and pass an examination covering topics such as cataloging, circulation procedures, customer service, and other related topics.

3. How long does it take to become certified as a library assistant?

Answer: The amount of time required to complete the certification process varies depending on the organization offering the certification and the applicant's prior experience. Generally, it can take anywhere from several weeks to several months to complete all requirements for library assistant certification.

4. How much does it cost to become certified as a library assistant?

Answer: Costs vary depending on the organization offering the certification but typically range from $50-$200 USD for application fees plus additional fees for any required exams or courses.

5. Are there any online programs available for becoming certified as a library assistant?

Answer: Yes, many organizations offer online programs or courses that can help prepare individuals for the exam needed to become certified as a library assistant.