Although bachelor's and doctoral degrees in library and information science are available, many librarians hold at least a master's degree. Licensure is typically required for librarians in public schools and some public libraries. Each state sets unique certification requirements for librarians working in public school and local libraries. A master's degree, teaching certification and/or passing score on an examination may be required.
Some programs offers specializations in areas like technology or archives. Schools may offer some online programs in this field as well. Prerequisites for library science degrees vary depending on the level of degree sought. For a bachelor's degree, a high school diploma is required. Master's degrees require a bachelor's degree in any subject.
Bachelor's Degree in Library Science
Some private and public universities and colleges offer bachelor's degree programs in library science as a Bachelor of Science in Library Science, Library Media, Library Informatics or a similar discipline. Some programs may require the applicant to have an associate's degree or college coursework before applying.
Concepts such as accessing information, computer applications and organizational skills are introduced in these programs to prepare graduates for work at the entry-level in public, private, and academic libraries. The undergraduate coursework emphasizes basic skills needed to select, organize, retrieve and maintain physical and electronic resources and materials. Common courses include:
- Internet programming basics
- School library administration
- Student behavior management
- Critical reading
- Reference resources
Master's Degree in Library Science
A master's degree program in library science and information is the most common degree program and typically offered as a Master of Science in many colleges and universities. Master's degree programs in library science cover topics related to managing and maintaining libraries, intellectual property, technology, and preserving historic texts. Subjects typically offered include:
- Research methods
- Library systems
- Library management
- Information organization
- Library technology systems
- Information retrieval
Doctoral Degree in Library and Information Science
Doctoral degrees in library and information science emphasize the theoretical components of the discipline, combining traditional classroom instruction with advanced research on a specialized topic. Students with a relevant master's degree may apply to doctoral programs to further prepare for advanced careers in research, academia or archiving. Some typical courses are:
- Research methods
- Library science research issues
- Information ethics
- Teaching practice
- Library and information science theory development
Popular Career Choices
Graduates with a bachelor's degree in library science may qualify for some entry level positions such as:
- Library assistant
- Museum technician
- Market researcher
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in 2015, some top paying industries hiring librarians include the following:
- Federal executive branch
- Aerospace product and parts manufacturing
- Financial investment
- Architectural, engineering and related services
- Legal services
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
Librarian positions are expected to increase 2%, slower than average, between 2014 and 2024 (www.bls.gov). Limited government funds have influenced the slow job growth rate for librarians. The BLS stated that increased availability of electronic information may increase the demand for librarians in research and special libraries. In May 2015, librarians earned an annual median salary of $56,880, as reported by the BLS.
There are multiple levels of degrees for library science--each of which will prepare you for a career as a librarian. The undergraduate and graduate programs will give you the skills needed to perform basic and advanced duties of a librarian.