What Salary Will I Earn with a Library Science Degree?
Find out about the types of jobs you could pursue in library science. Read on to learn more about career options along with salary and licensure information.
What Are Career Options in Library Science?
Library science programs at the master's level will prepare you to work as a librarian in schools, colleges, law firms, public libraries, medical facilities and other settings. If you obtain a doctoral degree, you could take on higher level administrative positions in large libraries. As a librarian, you will assist individuals in conducting research and finding information. Your specific duties may vary depending on the specific type of library that you work for. For example, a librarian in a children's library will have different responsible than one working in a medical library. Learn more about turning a library science degree into a career as a librarian in the table below:
|Degree Required||Master's degree at minimum;|
Doctoral degree for advanced positions
|Education Field of Study||Library Science|
|Key Responsibilities||Check books in and out of the library|
Participate in the collection, acquisition, organizing, cataloging, circulating and upkeep of library materials
Help library patrons find materials they are seeking
|Licensure/Certification||Some states require certification|
Some states may require school librarians to obtain a teaching credential
|Job Growth (2018-2028)||6%*|
|Mean Salary (2018)||$61,530*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that librarians earned a mean yearly salary of $61,530 in 2018 (www.bls.gov). Those in the top ten percent earned over $93,050 per year, while the lowest ten percent earned under $34,630 per year. The federal executive branch, other financial investment activities, and the aerospace products and parts manufacturing industry were the highest paying industries for librarians in 2018. Job growth from 2014 to 2024 is projected to be 6%, a rate that is as fast as the average.
Before you can pursue a master's degree in library science, you must first obtain a 4-year bachelor's degree. While any subject is acceptable for your bachelor's degree program, the American Library Association accredits library science curricula in several universities around the country. Obtaining your master's degree will require an additional year of study. You might also acquire a doctoral degree if you would like to take on an administrative role in a sizable public library or teach in a university setting.
Your master's degree program will consist of courses such as resource development and bibliographic organization, information technology, classification and cataloging, media utilization and production, children's materials and services, library user instruction and information retrieval. Completion of a thesis is often a requirement. Doctorate programs will focus on areas of study such as theory and research methods, research issues in library science, ethics and information policy, and academic library science career preparation. You must also submit a dissertation on a research project to acquire your Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree.
In general, your librarian duties may include gathering and organizing manuscripts, articles, periodicals, books and pamphlets or assisting visitors by researching library databases, reference materials and the Internet to help locate unusual information. If you go to work in a large information center, you might have an area of specialization such as bibliography or cataloging. In a smaller library, you could oversee all library functions and supervise other library personnel.
Additional duties may include ordering print and audiovisual resources with the aid of catalogs and book reviews, teaching visitors how to use library computer systems to gain access to information, and establishing library policies and guidelines. As a school librarian, you might teach students how to locate information for assignments and provide educators with teaching tools and materials.
If you'd like to work in a local library or public school, be aware that in some states you must pass a professional library certification examination. Certain states also require school librarians to acquire a teacher certification in lieu of a master's degree, but teaching experience may not be necessary. In other states, certifications may be volitional.
Special librarians may work in law, business or medical librarianship. If you want to specialize, you can pursue a post-graduate degree in the subject, in addition to your library science degree. Plan to enroll in continuing education programs in order to remain informed about new technologies and information systems.
What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?
Depending on your interests, you may also want to pursue a career as a archivist, curator, or conservator. These professionals generally also have a master's degree and have different duties depending on their specific role. As an archivist, you would work to preserve documents and records that have historic value. Curators often work for museums or galleries and organize collections of artwork and artifacts. Like archivists, conservators focus on conservation and preservation of important pieces, though they may specialize in objects other than documents, including paintings, textiles, artifacts and even architectural specimens.