Online Degree Programs for Media Specialists
Media specialists perform the traditional duties of a librarian and the educational tasks of a technologically savvy 21st-century teacher. Read on to learn what online degrees are available, what classes you'll take once enrolled and career-related information
What Are the Educational Requirements of Media Specialists?
To become media specialists, also known as library media specialists, you need to earn a master's degree in library science, information science, educational technology or a related area. These are generally conferred as Master of Science (M.S.) degrees and sometimes include school librarian or related certifications. You could earn your master's degree fully online, without ever having to report to campus.
|Required Courses||Library science information systems, school library operations, researching library technologies, electronic media management, library information technology in curriculum planning|
|Course Delivery||Lectures, assignments, exams and other activities conducted via online learning platforms|
|Continuing Education||Post-master's degrees and certification programs also available online|
|Major Roles of Media Specialists||Assist teachers and students in optimizing the use of multimedia facilities and educational technology to improve teaching and learning experiences; may also work for companies or the government|
|Median Salary (2020)*||$60,820 (for librarians)|
|Job Outlook (2019-2029)*||5% growth (for librarians)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
What Will I Learn in a Library Science Master's Degree Program?
In an online master's degree program in library science, you'll learn about the traditional and technological elements of performing supervisory work in a library. Required courses in many programs tend to emphasize school library operations and technologies. However, completion of a library information science master's degree program generally prepares you to be a media specialist at a library of any sort.
If your program includes a school library specialization or certification, you will need to complete additional credit hours, including a hands-on practicum or work-study in a library.
Mandatory courses are essential in learning all areas of information systems relevant to library science. You'll learn how to use this knowledge to formulate interactive educational curricula and to streamline traditional areas of library science, such as cataloguing. You'll become proficient in the research, selection and organization of media materials. Topics covered in required courses may include the following:
- Library science information systems
- School library operations
- Researching library technologies
- Electronic media management
- Youth and adolescent literature
- Library information technology in curriculum planning
- Information systems analysis and improvements
- Technological trends for school librarians
- Electronic cataloguing, indexing and abstracting
How Do Online Programs Work?
As a student in an online library information science program, you'll attend all your classes virtually. You will access lectures, complete assignments and exams, submit your accomplished coursework, as well as communicate with your teachers, fellow students and your academic advisor via online learning platforms like Blackboard Vista or WebCT. You'll take the same courses you would in an on-campus program, and receive the same degree when you graduate.
Are School Library Certification or Concentration Programs Available Online?
A career as a school library media specialist entails further education. You'll need to earn a school librarian certification, which is often available as an add-on to a library information science master's degree program. In some cases, this certification is also available as a separate graduate-level program. Some schools offer other related graduate-level designations, such as library information science or media specialist. All of these programs are available online.
Certifications generally take 1-2 years beyond a master's degree program to complete. A teaching certification is required to become a school librarian.
These programs cover many of the same topics as a library science program, but with an additional focus on school library technology. Required coursework emphasizes the use of educational technology in curriculum planning, particularly in helping teachers integrate new technologies in their instructions. Your courses will cover topics like school library administration, library cataloguing, instructional collaboration, school library advocacy and technological resources for students.
What Are the Job Duties of Media Specialists?
Media specialists select, coordinate and supervise the use of all audio and visual media in the library and in individual classrooms. They teach students how to use multimedia equipment and other educational technology tools to facilitate research and learning. They also help teachers devise media-based lessons to complement classroom instruction. As a media specialist, you need to stay on top of the latest technological advances, so you can help create an environment with more information-literate and technologically savvy 21st century teachers and learners.
Other Type of Media Specialists
The job title of 'media specialist' may also refer to a public relations specialist. This type of media specialist often has graduate-level training in PR and works for a business or organization rather than in the education field.