An online master’s degree in library science is an important step toward a career working with people, books, periodicals and other physical and digital media. Although many think of a librarian as someone who just helps patrons find books, there is much more to the job. A graduate-level degree in library science trains you to understand complex technology and use your skills to help others conduct their research. You can create a career working in a variety of settings, including primary or secondary schools, universities, museums, or public library systems.
With a degree in library science, you might find work in a public library or one specific to a particular area like heath, government, history, music and the arts, or technology. Some librarians teach the public about the materials or collections they work with. Other librarians get to work with interesting historic materials. Possible avenues of specialization include library management, law librarianship, information architecture, children’s collections, and data science. Each type of library has different needs and demands, so it’s not uncommon for library science students to choose specialties as they pursue their master’s degree.
What Is an Online Master’s in Library Science (No GRE Required)?
Many library science programs don’t require applicants to take the GRE for admission, so you can be admitted to the school or program you want to attend based on factors other than a test score—including your essays, recommendations, work experience, resume, and more. In a master’s program with no GRE required, you don’t need to spend time studying for a standardized test. You can do your entire program from home or consider a hybrid program that takes place both on a campus and virtually.
An undergraduate degree specifically in library science isn’t required in order to enter a graduate program in library science, but many colleges and universities look for candidates with undergraduate degrees that complement a career in librarianship. For example, a B.S. in chemistry would be suitable for a candidate who is interested in working in the library of a biomedical research laboratory. Likewise, a B.A. in English or education would be suitable undergraduate degrees for those interested in working in public libraries.
Be aware that some universities use terms like “information studies” or “library information studies” instead of “library science” to describe the degree. You should also note that an additional certification, such as a teaching certificate from your state, might also be required for librarian positions in secondary schools.
How Much Does an Online Master’s in Library Science Degree Cost?
An online master’s in library science requires your acceptance into an accredited university program. Ideally, your program will be accredited by the American Library Association (ALA), a non-profit group that monitors and supports the academic discipline of information studies.
The cost of the degree varies from school to school based on the number of credits required, the school’s reputation, the area of the world the school is in, and more. Depending on your school choice. you might expect to pay between $7000 – $12000 per year for a full-time course load, which is usually about three or four classes each term. When planning for your online master’s in library science, budget for the number of credits required to graduate.
Online programs are very popular and can be as expensive as in-person learning because of the resources they require a university to provide. You’ll see that online programs offer special features like video lectures, electronic textbooks, and live chats with instructors or teaching assistants. These features can raise the cost of your tuition.
Average Salary for an Online Master’s in Library Science
With a master’s in library science, you might work in a wide variety of settings and can apply for roles such as library media specialist, archivist, or teacher of library science (or “library teachers” within schools). Many of these jobs are meaningful and come with a huge amount of responsibility. However, what you get paid will depend on what kind of organization you’re working for, as well as how involved your job is and how many responsibilities you have — or whether you’re managing other employees or not.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, librarians and library media specialists earn $60,820 per year as their median salary. According to Payscale, a private source of salary information, the salary for librarians ranges from $31,000 to $72,000 annually. The salary will also depend on your employer and whether you are working for a private or public institution. Alternatively, your salary might differ if you take on a managerial or teacher role at your job. Colleges and universities typically pay slightly higher salaries than K-12 institutions, while government libraries pay somewhat less.
The ALA reports that librarian salaries are different from state to state. In 2019, the region with the highest mean annual earnings for full-time librarians was Washington, DC. This is likely because the nation’s capital is home to the Library of Congress and many other high-level research and legal libraries. Other areas with higher-than-average librarian salaries in 2019 were California, Maryland, Washington, and Connecticut. On the lower end of the salary scale were West Virginia, South Dakota, Mississippi, Utah, and Kansas.
No matter where you live, it’s important to adjust your salary expectations according to the amount of experience you have. When starting out in your career, expect to start at the base rate (or even slightly lower) and work your way up into the higher range as you gain professional expertise. If you plan to work part-time, you might have a low hourly rate and not receive the benefits package of a full-time employee.
What Is the Job Outlook for Online Master’s in Library Science Holders?
Library science graduates can anticipate a higher-than-average job growth up until 2029. TheU.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that there will be 5% more jobs in the field in 2029 than are currently available. If you graduate with your degree in library sciences in the next several years, there’s a good chance that there will be a job waiting for you.
This demand is related to the public’s continuing and increasing need for skilled professionals who understand all forms of media and can organize electronic resources in an expert fashion. While librarians have traditionally mastered analog systems like the Dewey-Decimal system, librarians today also acquire a deep wealth of technological information so they know how to work various online databases and libraries, as well as all of the machines and computers available for use in the library. These types of technological skills are valuable to society in many contexts, boosting the job forecast. Because there are so many types of jobs that you can hold in library science, as well as a variety of institutions you can work for once you’ve earned your master’s degree, it’s important to focus on the kind of organization you want to work for (in terms of the material you’ll work with), the library visitors you’ll help, the colleagues you’ll have, and the salary you expect to earn.
The popularity of remote learning and homeschooling is another reason why librarians are increasingly needed. Since homeschooled children lack an institutional base, the public library often becomes a primary resource for educational materials and support.
If you get your degree in library science, you may hold one of the following jobs:
- Media collections specialist
- Elementary school teacher
- Middle school teacher
- High school teacher
- Post-secondary teacher
- Museum studies or museum worker
- Youth services
- Cataloging or metadata
- Digital preservation
- And many, many more.
Courses in Online Master’s in Library Science No GRE Degree Programs
Students who earn an online master’s in library science take classes in library and information studies, education, curation and museum studies, community services and organizing, information technology, and more. When applying to online master’s programs in library science, you’ll be assessed on your professional goals, experience, writing samples, recommendations, and past transcripts. Once admitted into a program in library science, you can expect to take many of the following courses while in school:
- Information organization
- Library studies
- Information studies
- Information technology
- Introduction to sources and services
- Management of libraries
- Literacy programs
- College and university libraries
- Archives and manuscripts
- Genealogical sources and services
- Marketing and advocacy for information organizations
- Public libraries
- Knowledge management
- Metadata for information professionals
- Library services for children and young adults
- Literature for young adults
- Collection development
- Database modeling and design
- Social justice in information professions
- Human growth and development
- Case conceptualization
- Thesis courses
- And many, many more.
FAQs on Online Master’s in Library Science
- A master’s degree in library science takes most people between one to two years.
- Many universities and collections offer online programs that don’t require the GRE.
- Some schools offer part-time plans of study for those who must take longer to earn their degree.
- Hybrid programs that combine remote and in-person learning are available.
- Accelerated programs are available, but might require night and weekend study and a substantive time commitment.
- There are a wide variety of settings to work in or positions to hold with a library science degree.
- The field of library science is growing, so there are an increasing number of jobs in all sectors.
- Jobs are either people-oriented or focused on organization and materials, so suit both introverts and extroverts.
- Many librarians find work that focuses on topics they are passionate about, so job satisfaction can be very high.
- Librarians can expect their salaries to increase once they gain experience.
- The cost of the program can vary based on how many credits you need, if it is ALA certified, and what kinds of specialties it includes.
- Online students have additional costs besides tuition such as a reliable internet connection and computer equipment such as web cameras.
- Library science students may incur program-related costs for activities like field trips, transcriptions, and special projects.
Scholarships for library science programs are listed at the ALA.
|University Name||Program’s Name||GRE Required?|
|Long Island University||Master of Science – Library and Information Science||Not Required|
|New York University||Dual Degree (MA/MS) – Costume Studies and Library Science||Not Required|
|University of Arizona||Master of Arts – Library and Information Science||Not Required|
|University of Iowa||Master of Arts – Library and Information Science||Not Required|
|University of Kentucky||Master of Library Science||Not Required|
|University of Washington||Master of Library and Information Science||GRE Scores are Optional|
|University of Wisconsin||Master of Arts – Library and Information Science||Not Required|
|Wayne State University||Master of Library and Information Science||Not Required|