Degrees for Media Specialists

Media specialists promote literacy and learning, often in libraries or schools. Bachelor's and master's degrees in library science and related fields cover managing library collections, administration, and technology issues relevant to libraries. Read on to find out more about the field, online degree options and the employment outlook. Schools offering Animation degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What is a Media Specialist?

A media specialist plays an educational role in providing library patrons and public and private school students with multimedia informational resources. As a media specialist, you'll organize collections of written and technological resources, such as books, computers, CDs and DVDs. A media specialist's role is often that of a librarian, technologist and educator combined.

To become a media specialist, you'll usually need to hold at least a bachelor's or master's degree. Bachelor's degree programs are offered in library and information science and education with a library science specialization. Master's degree programs are available in library science and information science. These programs will give you the leadership and organizational knowledge needed to oversee a media collection.

Degree Levels Bachelor's, master's
Common Courses Media for children, library administration, media collection management, instructional design
Online Options Master's programs available with online classes and in-person field study
Median Salary (2016)$42,557 (for media specialists)*
  • Source: PayScale.com

What Will I Learn?

Bachelor's and master's degree programs in the library and information science field offer interdisciplinary curriculums that combine technology, management, research and education courses. You may be allowed to specialize in a certain media subject such as digital library archives or school library media. You can sometimes concurrently earn your teaching certification by taking educational courses throughout your program. Common media topics that you'll examine during both a bachelor's and master's degree program include:

  • Media collection management
  • Children's media
  • Information resources
  • Project management
  • Information technology
  • Library administration
  • Instructional design using multimedia

Degree programs often include a fieldwork component, during which you can work under a media specialist at a school or community library. Master's degree programs often encourage you to apply to an internship during the second half of the program and report on your progress to your class. Some master's degree programs might end in the completion of a thesis where you explore a set of media-related research questions.

Can I Earn a Degree Online?

Master's degree programs in library and information science are available online. Programs combine library cataloguing knowledge with multimedia studies. You'll still need to conduct a field study during your program, but all classes and tests generally can be completed online.

Online programs require you to have a sound card, current antivirus program, speakers and a headset. Programs also recommend having a high-speed Internet connection, and you might need a specific type of Web browser.

What Is the Job Outlook?

To become a media specialist, you might want to earn your librarian certification. Certification varies widely by state, but the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that you usually must hold a bachelor's degree in a library science-related subject and pass an examination (www.bls.gov). Some states require you also have a graduate degree in the library science field. You also might need your teaching certification; however, you don't need to hold prior teaching experience, according to the BLS.

The BLS reported that librarians with multimedia and information science knowledge were in more demand because of the growing use of technological devices at libraries. According to the BLS, librarians earned a mean salary of $58,930 as of May 2015. PayScale.com stated that media specialists earned salaries ranging from about $30,696-$62,446 as of January 2016. School library media specialists earned approximately $26,976-$78,688 as of January 2016, according to PayScale.com.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

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