Library Technician Career, Salary and Education Facts

Get information on the education and training required to become a library technician. See what the typical job duties are, get information on earnings potential, and learn ways you could advance in your career. Schools offering Archival Studies degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

Library technicians typically hold a certificate, diploma or associate degree. They work in a variety of locations, including public libraries, government agencies, public schools, colleges and universities, museums or specialized libraries. Some earn bachelor's or master's degrees in library science and go on to work as librarians.

Degree Options Library Technician Associate of Applied Science, certificate or diploma; library technician programs available at community and technical colleges
Median Salary (2017)* $33,690 (all library technicians)
Future Career Options Librarian, supervisor of library operations, library assistant

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Education Do I Need to Become a Library Technician?

You can qualify for a library technician position with a certificate, diploma or associates degree from a library technician program offered through several community and technical colleges. Certificate programs usually last less than a year and provide the fastest route to entry into the workforce. An associate degree program takes two years, but generally includes an internship in the curriculum. Common course topics include:

  • Cataloging
  • Material circulation
  • Budgeting
  • Acquisitions
  • Customer service

Can I Take Courses Online?

Online programs are available for both certificate and associate degree programs, but you'll likely need to complete an internship in person to gain the required hands-on experience. The American Library Association (ALA) provides recognized educational standards, and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that earning a degree from an accredited program could prove helpful when seeking employment. In addition, keep in mind that if you wish to work in a school setting, you might have to meet the state's education standards for teaching assistants.

What Could I Earn?

According to the BLS, library technicians earned a median salary of $33,690 per year, as of May, 2017. Additionally, your location and industry make a difference in your potential earnings. The BLS stated that library technicians who worked for scientific research firms averaged $61,430 per year. Library technicians who worked in social advocacy organizations averaged $55,180 per year. Those employed in the Washington D.C. area also made more than the national average, taking home $50,300 per year.

What Duties Will I Have?

As a library technician, you could find employment in a variety of locations, including:

  • Public libraries
  • Government agencies
  • Public schools
  • Colleges and universities
  • Museums
  • Specialized libraries

Wherever you're employed, you are required to work under the supervision of a librarian. You could coordinate reading and outreach programs or acquire new materials, such as books, films or CDs. You'll likely interact with patrons by checking out books and helping them locate materials.

Your job responsibilities will vary depending on where you work. If you are employed at a museum or academic library, you could need specific knowledge to help researchers gather data and materials. If you're employed at a school or university, you'll usually help students conduct research and find books for school projects.

How Can I Continue My Education?

After earning your library technician education, you might consider enrolling in a bachelor's degree program in library science or library informatics. After graduation, you could qualify for jobs that emphasize organizing information, such as an archivist, library assistant or editor. If you include some teaching education, you could also become a librarian in a school library. You might need to earn a teaching or librarian license if your state requires it.

If you want to become a librarian in most public libraries, you'll have to earn a Master of Library Science (MLS) degree. In this two-year program, you'll learn about library management and how to organize book collections. Some states also regulate the librarian profession, and you could need to obtain a state certification.

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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