Both certificate and associate's degree programs in library technician expose students to the technologies and cataloging systems employed by libraries. Associate's programs may provide internship opportunities at the end of the program for hands-on experience. Certificate programs generally last one year, while associate's degrees are two-year programs. A high school diploma or GED is required for admission.
Library Technician Certificate
A library technician certificate program acquaints students with the technologies used in libraries and other organizations to organize, retrieve and manage information sources. Classes impart fundamental skills in classifying and cataloging books, periodicals and electronic records. In addition to training people new to the field, certificate programs can also provide working library professionals with a continuing education option.
Closely related subject matter, such as computer fundamentals, might be part of some library technician certificate programs, but course content will otherwise stay close to the primary topic. Typical library technician courses may include:
- Information resources
- Collection development
- Cataloging and classification
- Electronic databases
- Internet fundamentals for librarians
Library Technician Associate's Degree
A library technician associate's degree program trains students in common library processes and procedures, and develops their base of technical skill in information storage, retrieval and management. Coursework addresses inventory control, circulation systems, and cataloging and classification systems.
Students gain knowledge through a combination of classroom instruction, independent study and internships. These programs typically include general education or liberal arts courses in communications, mathematics and social science. Courses specific to the degree topic may include:
- Children's library services
- Library programming
- Library database concepts
- Records management
- Library services
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that from 2019 to 2029, the employment of library technicians will decrease by 4%. This growth is the result of library technicians being able to complete tasks using library technologies that higher-paid librarians used to perform. Library technicians earned a median salary of $37,010 as of May 2020.
Continuing Education Information
Certificate credits are often transferable to an associate's degree program. Many community colleges offer both certificates and associate's degrees in the field.
People who earn an associate's degree and want to become librarians need to earn a master's degree in library sciences. However, earning a master's degree first entails earning a bachelor's degree. Many schools have transfer programs that enable a student to apply their credits toward a bachelor's degree, either in library and information sciences or a related subject.
Library technician training is commonly available at both the certificate and associate's degree levels. Students may participate in classroom sessions and hands-on experiences related to library organization and resources.