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Media Specialist: Duties, Salary, Outlook and Requirements

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

Media specialists need a bachelor's degree in education, library sciences or a related field that includes training with media equipment, such as computers, cameras and recording devices. Media specialists may work with this type of equipment in schools and may be responsible for teaching people or students to use this type of equipment. They may also be employed in museums or other venues where they are responsible for setting up this equipment for use.

Essential Information

Media specialists work with all types of audio-visual equipment in schools, libraries, and businesses. Depending on the setting, they teach others how to use various multimedia and recording equipment for presentations, classroom lectures, or meetings. They are also responsible for setting up equipment. Media specialists may also acquire and catalog material and maintain equipment and software. Most media specialists have bachelor's degrees.

Required Education Bachelor's degree in education or library sciences with a focus on media
Required Skills Proficiency with audio-visual equipment, such as cameras, computers, and recorders
Job Growth (2014-2024)* 8% for all audio-visual and multimedia collections specialists
Median Salary (2015)* $45,890 for all audio-visual and multimedia collections specialists

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Duties of a Media Specialist

A media specialist coordinates audio-visual equipment and materials. They inventory and maintain supplies and equipment. They set up and operate requested software and machines, such as Power Point presentations, DVD players, and film projectors. They also update and maintain a library of available material including films, tapes, photos, slides, and software. Many media specialists work in elementary or secondary schools. Other industries that hire media specialists include high schools, colleges, public and private libraries, government agencies, medical facilities, and private companies.

Media specialists also advise users on what types of equipment to use depending on the lesson, presentation, or event, as well as how to use that equipment. For example, a media specialists who works in a school orders specific programs or materials requested by teachers to coordinate with lesson plans. They are also responsible for previewing and organizing the available materials into databases.

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Salary Information for Media Specialists

According the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in May 2015, audio-visual and multimedia collections specialists, including media specialists, made a median annual wage of $45,890. The middle half of specialists earned salaries in 2015 ranging from $34,020 to $60,520. Average salaries for media specialists working within education support services, state governments, elementary and secondary schools, and colleges, universities and professional schools earned more than workers in other fields (www.bls.gov).

Job Outlook for Media Specialists

The BLS projected a growth of 8% in media specialist jobs from 2014 to 2024.

Requirements to Become a Media Specialist

Media specialists need to have extensive knowledge of media equipment, such as cameras, computers, and recorders. They also need to have excellent communication skills, as they must coordinate with other staff to plan and execute presentations and lessons.

Most employers require a bachelor's degree for this position. Degrees in education include coursework focusing on incorporating media into lessons. Degrees in library sciences also include current media specialist technologies in the coursework. Some schools offer media specialist degree programs at the graduate level. Vocational schools offer courses that cover the job skills of a media specialist.

Media specialists supervise the setup, operation and maintenance of audio-visual equipment for various industries. A bachelor's degree in a related major is needed. A stable job growth is projected from 2014 to 2024, and these professionals earned a median annual salary exceeding $45,000 in 2015.


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