Individuals who are interested in careers as media specialists or library media specialists can choose bachelor's or master's degree programs as a way of preparing themselves for the profession. However, it should be noted that few programs actually go by that title; more common degree titles include a Bachelor of Arts in Library Information Management, a Bachelor of Science in Education with a media specialist emphasis or Master of Library Science with a library media specialist emphasis.
Bachelor's programs in this field are typically four years in length and prepare students for entry-level jobs, like those of library assistants or electronic resource managers. A master's degree is required for most librarian positions, and librarians who work in public schools need to obtain state certification as well. In addition, students may need to complete an internship of practicum in a school library. Online coursework is available through some institutions.
Media Specialist Bachelor's Degree Program
A Bachelor of Science in Education with a media specialist concentration is one popular related degree program; another choice is the Bachelor of Arts in Library Information Management program. Program participants can study library and information technology, educational resources, technology management and related topics. Most media specialist bachelor's degree programs may be completed in four years.
The curriculum of a media specialist bachelor's degree program features a large dose of liberal arts and humanities courses that are designed to provide the student with sufficient knowledge in a range of academic subjects. Core media specialist course titles are included below.
- Library administration
- Database management
- Literature for adolescents
- Electronic information management
- Information resource assessment
- Fundamentals of information systems
Media Specialist Master's Degree Programs
Media specialist master's degree programs are designed to prepare degree candidates to assume library media specialist positions in K-12 schools. Students explore and examine the pedagogical tools necessary for developing and implementing learning and resource activities that encourage intellectual freedom and informational literacy. A large amount of class time is devoted to mastering the various media forms and formats that allow students and teachers to access information. Most media specialist master's degree programs may be completed in two years.
The curriculum of a media specialist master's degree program is designed to introduce students to a wide range of educational and informational media. Sample core course titles are included below.
- Collection development and management
- Improving information literacy
- Management of knowledge organizations
- Cataloging and classification
- Evaluating research methods
Popular Career Options
While a media specialist master's degree may be the entry-level degree needed to teach in a public school system, there remain many employment opportunities for those in possession of a media specialist bachelor's degree. Media specialist graduates are needed in the boardroom as well as in the classroom.
- Information technology officer
- Corporate multimedia consultant
- Electronic resource manager
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median salary for librarians and library media specialists was $56,880 as of May 2015. Employment opportunities will grow by just 2 % over 2014-2024 (www.bls.gov).
The entry-level degree for nearly all school librarians and media specialists is the master's degree. With this in mind, most media specialist bachelor's degree programs are designed so that the degree candidate can continue his or her studies in pursuit of a media specialist master's degree. Degree-holding candidates who are interested in library media specialist positions must examine the teacher certification requirements for the states in which they seek employment. Most states require applicants to complete teaching certification or competency exams before they can become employed in public schools.
Aspiring media specialists can pursue education at the bachelor's and master's levels, with the ladder usually being required for those looking to become a librarian, with school librarians needing to attain certification. Other careers in this field include information technology officer, corporate multimedia consultant, and electronic resource manager.