Master's degree programs resulting in a media specialist degree are available in an online format, though some in-person practical experiences may be required. These programs are typically designed for working teachers and school librarians, and applicants need to hold undergraduate degrees in library science or education. Other majors may include library media or library media specialist degrees.
All states require licensure or certification for teachers and school librarians in public schools. Regulations vary by state; check with state-specific regulations when choosing an educational program.
Master's Degree Programs for Media Specialists
Media specialist programs typically build upon the skills of a librarian or educator by teaching him or her to provide instructional support through information technology. Those enrolling in an online media specialist master's program typically possess a bachelor's degree in education or library science. These curricula are sometimes referred to as library media specialist or library media programs.
Program Information and Requirements
These Web-delivered programs typically encompass the same number of courses as any graduate education curriculum, ranging from less than 30 to over 40 credit hours of study. Despite being offered online, most of these master's programs follow curricular guidelines set forth by the American Library Association (ALA), local Departments of Education or the American Association of School Librarians (AASL). Some online programs may require a locally arranged practicum or similar field experience for graduation.
List of Common Media Specialist Courses
The curricula for media specialists combine traditional library skills with lessons in cutting-edge technology and educational support strategies. Additional courses in pedagogical theory may be required for those without a background in education.
Introductory Information Technology
This introductory course gives students an overview of the latest technologies and methods being employed in library media centers. Student will receive theoretical and hands-on instruction in educational technology, practicing the use of certain software programs and Web systems on their home computers.
Information Services and Sources
Emphasizing Internet technologies, this course teaches student how to locate and identify reference sources in different formats. Student will learn about bibliographic techniques, reference management and search strategies for media centers, as well as how to teach effective research skills.
Media Center Management
Media specialists must learn the principles of administering a school media center. Such courses cover the development of policy, standards examinations, staffing and other considerations necessary for the function of a school media center.
Organization and Control of Media
Such courses in the organization and dispersal of media focus on more traditional methods of cataloging and classification. Aspiring media specialists without a library background may need to spend extracurricular time with a local library, studying its organizational techniques.
Library media specialists generally work in public education institutions. Workers often transition into this field from a role as a teacher or another education-related career. Although salaries for school library media specialists vary based on location and experience, a PayScale.com survey determined annual pay to range from $33,000 to $75,000 as of September 2019.
Certification and Continuing Education
School library media specialists need to attain certification from their state Department of Education. Requirements may vary between states, but typically candidates must hold a master's degree, submit transcripts of coursework and pass the national PRAXIS examinations for library media specialists. These multiple-choice exams evaluate candidates' knowledge in areas such as library collection development, information delivery and library media program administration.
Online master's degree programs for media specialists prepare students to work as library media specialists with courses in media center management, organization of media and more. Graduates will need the proper state-required certification to work in schools.