Educational Media Jobs: Career Options and Requirements

Sep 19, 2019

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become an educational media specialist. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties, and certification to find out if this is the career for you.

Most states require educational media specialists to have a master's degree in library science. Some states also require educational media specialists to have their teaching certification.

Essential Information

Educational media specialists use technology and other types of multimedia in school libraries to help students and teachers conduct research, make decisions, and complete assignments. These specialists may perform many of the same tasks as librarians, and they have the option of specializing in either primary or secondary schools. Certain states also have requirements for moving into supervisory positions within their school or district.

Required Education Master's degree in library science
Other Requirements Teaching certification often required for librarians
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* 6% for all librarians
Average Salary (2018)* $61,530 for all librarians

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics


Based on median age estimates for the current workforce, the market for librarians is expected to expand in anticipation of high retirement rates. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expected a six percent increase in employment for librarians between 2018 and 2028 ( The average librarian job paid $61,530 in 2018, while elementary and high school librarians earned a mean annual salary of $63,720. The mean annual wage for audio-visual collection specialists was $52,270, the BLS reported.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, as of the 2011-12 school year, 79,000 out of 85,500 traditional schools had a library media center. About 30% of those lacked a full-time educational media specialist, because the specialist either was employed only part-time or served multiple schools in the district.

Educational Media Job Requirements

Most jobs require a master's degree in library and information studies from a program accredited by the American Library Association and National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education, of which there are forty in the United States. Many schools offer educational media as a side program to a teaching degree, but it is also offered as a major unto itself. Students learn about reference and information services, K-12 literature, book repair and the usage of computer applications in-class.

They also require state teacher certification. Acquisition of a teaching license requires the specialist to maintain a portfolio of teaching work and pass a written exam. Some education degrees also offer library certification programs. Some states, such as New Hampshire, require master's degrees only for supervisory positions.

Most master's degree programs require applicants to pass the PRAXIS II Library Media Specialist exam, which covers program administration, collection development, information access and delivery, learning and teaching, professional development, leadership and advocacy. This test ensures that students can select media resources for the center, use standard resources such as MARC and be familiar with literature as well as educational media technologies such as local area networks and interlibrary resource sharing methods and platforms.

As more information is accessed on computers or from videos or DVDs, the role of a school librarian has expanded to include many forms of media. Many schools now have educational media specialists, who are responsible for completing many of the same tasks librarians did. They assist teachers and students with locating relevant material and researching topics for school assignments.

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