Master's Degrees for Aspiring Librarians
There are several master's degree program options that can prepare you to become a librarian, and most programs include courses on information research, information technology and library organization. Find out more about degree programs, prerequisites, online programs and what you can do with your degree by reading on.
What Master's Degree Programs Are Available for Aspiring Librarians?
As a prospective librarian, you have a number of relevant graduate degree programs to choose from, such as the Master of Library and Information Science, Master of Arts (M.A.) in Education with a library media emphasis, or M.A. in Library Science. The coursework varies throughout these programs; however, core courses generally focus on researching and accessing information, library organization, information technology and library management. Possible concentration areas include public libraries, school libraries, academic libraries, children's library services, archival administration, information management and reference services.
|Degree Programs||Master of Arts (M.A.) in Library Science, Master of Library and Information Science and M.A. in Education with library media emphasis|
|Career Areas||Secondary or postsecondary schools, archival administration, public libraries and reference services|
|Prerequisites||Bachelor's degree and computer competency|
|Online Options||Programs available online; access to certain technology and computer programs required|
|Median Salary (2018)||$59,050* (for librarians)|
|Job Outlook (2016-26)||9% growth* (for all librarians)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
What Can I Do With This Degree?
Librarians may work in several different places. If you work at a public library, you may select books and other media to enhance the library's collection for a range of users, as well as keep up-to-date on library technology. School librarians who work in elementary and high schools help students with various projects, including conducting research, working on book reports and selecting books for a class project. They are usually required to have a valid teaching certificate in the state in which they work. If academic libraries are your area of interest, you may also find employment at a college or university library, teaching students research skills and assisting them in locating necessary materials.
There are also jobs in children's services at public libraries, where librarians assist children and young adults with accessing media, in addition to organizing programs like story time and summer reading initiatives. If you're interested in archival administration, you can expect to classify, catalog and manage the archives and records of a library. Because of the growth of information technology and Web-based library programs, careers in information management are also available to create and maintain accessible and attractive websites, databases and other pieces of technology. With a career in reference services, you use research skills and knowledge in collection development to ensure your patrons have the most reliable reference materials available to them.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted that the librarian profession will grow 9% between 2016 and 2026 (www.bls.gov). The average annual salary in 2018 for librarians was $59,050, as reported by the BLS. If you're considering a career as a librarian at an elementary or secondary school, the BLS also reported that the average annual salary for this career in the same year was $60,780. Colleges and universities librarians earned an average of $64,130, while librarians working for the local government made $53,060.
Are There Prerequisites?
In order to pursue a master's degree in this field, you first must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university. Because librarians work with the latest technology, there may also be computer competency requirements to demonstrate that you have the essential computer skills for this program. Necessary skills may include knowing how to use standard programs, navigate the Internet, post messages on message boards, utilize e-mail appropriately and access online catalogs. You must also have access to the required technology so that you're able to complete your library science coursework.
Can I Earn It Online?
Online master's degree programs in library and information science are also available. An online format can be beneficial if you're balancing several other personal and work responsibilities. There are technology requirements to ensure that you're able to use the necessary programs to complete the program. The coursework and diploma are usually the same, regardless of whether the program was completed online or on campus.