How Do I Become an Educational Media Specialist?

Research what it takes to become an educational media specialist. Learn more about education requirements and licensure, job duties, salary and job outlook to find out if this career is for you. Schools offering Instructional Design degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Does an Educational Media Specialist Do?

Educational media specialists typically work for schools to provide students and teachers with a variety of multimedia. They strive to incorporate audio-visual materials, such as video, photography, and digital video files, into classrooms to engage students and benefit learning. Their responsibilities include but are not limited to setting up, maintaining, and installing equipment, coordinating activities, and designing instruction. They must be skilled in communication, electronics, and training. The table below outlines the general requirements for this career.

Degree Required Master's degree is common, though some states accept a bachelor's degree
Field of Study Master's in library science, education, library science or educational media
Licensure Many states require teaching certification for librarians
Key Responsibilities Keep multimedia resources up-to-date, record and file materials, instruct students in how to utilize traditional and new information resources
Average Salary (2015)* $48,220 for audio-visual and multimedia collections specialists
Job Outlook (2014-2024)* 8% for audio-visual and multimedia collections specialists

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Educational and Certification Requirements Are There?

You typically need to have a master's degree to seek a position as an educational media specialist. This position is a type of librarian and, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), some states require librarians who work in schools to have a master's degree ( In some states, however, you may only need a bachelor's degree.

A master's degree in library science is a common education path to becoming a librarian, but librarians working in schools may consider completing a master's degree program in education with an emphasis in library science or educational media. If you already hold a master's degree, you may choose to complete a graduate certificate program in educational media. Educational media programs cover the different types of media used in a school library, education methods, curriculum design and management information systems.

In addition to education, many states require licensing or certification for school librarians; the BLS reported that more than half of states require you to have a teacher's license or certification. Some states offer specific certification or licensing for school librarians using educational media.

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, for example, requires you to hold a library media license to work as an educational media specialist in Wisconsin ( The state offers four licensing options based upon your education, experience and intended job duties. Prospective educational media specialists in the state of New Jersey, however, need to hold a school library media specialist certificate, according to the state's website ( This certificate is required to work with children ranging from preschool to grade 12.

What Job Duties Might I Have?

Educational media is technology used in various school settings. This may include software programs, computers and the Internet. An educational media specialist uses technology in a library to assist and teach students. In this position, you may also help teachers gather media to use in their classroom or make suggestions of how to incorporate technology into their curriculum.

In addition to working with media and technology equipment, you may also carry out traditional librarian duties, such as organizing and shelving books, securing new books for the library, helping patrons locate materials and checking out materials for patrons. You may also manage the computer system, conduct classes or handle administrative duties.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Careers that have similar requirements and duties to those of educational media specialists include librarians, teachers, and sound engineering technicians. Librarians must have a master's degree as they help people conduct research and locate information in a number of different educational settings. Classroom teachers need a bachelor's degree as they instruct students in the classroom on a number of different topics and disciplines. Finally, sound engineering technicians need a postsecondary nondegree award or certificate. They work with producers and other industry professionals to achieve a specific sound for a production.

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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