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Educational Media Specialist: Job Description and Requirements

Educational media specialists are enlisted in schools to provide multimedia equipment in the classroom. Outside of helping teachers and students with multimedia equipment, their responsibilities include ordering, acquiring and maintaining that equipment for the school at which they work.

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Educational Media Specialist Job Description

Educational media specialists are teachers whose focus is on bringing multimedia into the classroom. They make classes and presentations more interesting for students by diversifying learning resources.

Educational media specialists often work within the multimedia section of a school's library and go to classrooms as they are needed. Once there, they work alongside the teacher who has asked for the equipment. The specialist may do some additional teaching on the subject using the equipment as well.

These education professionals are also responsible for maintaining a school's catalog of audiovisual material, such as film, photographs, CDs, DVDs and digital video and audio files. Maintenance responsibilities may also include changing light bulbs, changing batteries and cleaning monitors used in the classroom.

Before each school year begins, the educational media specialist will order the correct electronic materials according to teachers' needs and the school's budget.

Education Requirements

Many educational media specialists begin their careers as teachers and move into this profession with additional education and volunteer or part-time work. To work as a teacher, one must earn his or her bachelor's degree in education. This involves student teaching at least one semester during the student's junior or senior year. Student teaching often takes place at a school near the student's college or university.

Courses in an education program consist of human development, trends in teaching and learning, school curriculum, communicating interactively in the classroom and teaching in a multicultural classroom. Once graduated, the potential teacher must become licensed through a state-issued exam.

Some schools may require a professional librarian or education media specialist certificate to qualify for a job. This program includes courses and subjects in information and resources services, library media and advanced materials for children.

A student seeking a career as an educational media specialist may earn a master's degree in educational media or instructional technology. An educational media degree program consists of graduate education seminars, instructional practices for education technology, training and development of technology skills, Web design and troubleshooting as it pertains to using technology in education.

Career Requirements

The Princeton Review recommends that teachers interested in educational media volunteer at local libraries and media centers to hone their skills. Part-time work with audiovisual production companies is also recommended.

Educational media specialists must be able to take a two-pronged approach to their job. First, they must understand how to be a teacher and relate to the students they're helping through the use of audiovisual equipment. Second, these professionals must keep up with the latest technologies, trends and products within the educational audiovisual world. This may include regularly reading trade magazines, studying specialty websites and attending local conferences.

Salary and Employment Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) doesn't specifically list employment outlook for educational media specialists. Instead, the BLS groups them with librarians, who were expected to see a seven percent increase in employment from 2012-2022. According to the BLS in May 2013, the median salary for audio-visual and multimedia collections specialists, which includes educational media specialists, was $44,360.

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