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Best Online Library Science Master’s Degree Programs, Jobs, and Salaries

Ziyanda Maseko - May 17, 2022


If you want to make being a bookworm your career, you might be interested in taking an online Master’s Degree in Library Science. You’ll learn interdisciplinary topics like information science, archival studies, and data curation, and the best online library science master’s degrees will help you find high-paying work in various fields, including in tech.

To help you get started in your career in librarianship or tech, we’ve compiled a list of the top online library science master’s degrees and detailed each school’s online program. You’ll also find a list of library science master’s degree jobs you can expect to get after graduation and their expected salaries and job growth.

Where Can I Get a Library Science Master’s Degree Online?

You can get a library science master’s degree online at top schools such as Drexel University, Syracuse University, and the University of Denver. Let’s talk about how to get admitted into one of these programs.

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What Schools Offer the Best Library Science Master’s Degrees?

  • University of Denver
  • Drexel University
  • Louisiana State University
  • Syracuse University
  • University of Rhode Island

What Are the Admission Requirements for an Online Library Science Master’s Degree?

The admission requirements for an online library science master’s degree vary between each institution, but most include a 3.0 minimum GPA from a bachelor’s degree . This four-year degree must have been obtained from a regionally-accredited institution in the United States or equivalent.

Other common requirements prospective students must meet include an updated resume, a written statement of purpose for pursuing a master’s degree, and letters of recommendation from previous professors or professionals you’ve worked with. A GRE or GMAT score is often required, though it is becoming increasingly optional.

Online Library Science Master’s Degree Admission Requirements

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Minimum 3.0 GPA
  • Professional resume
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Written statement of purpose
  • GRE or GMAT test scores

How to Get a Library Science Master’s Degree Online

You get a library science master’s degree online by fulfilling all of the graduation requirements, which include maintaining the school’s minimum GPA, acquiring the minimum number of credits, taking all core classes, and completing a final project. The final project could be in the form of a senior capstone project, thesis, portfolio, or professional internship.

Library Science Degree Requirements

  • 30 to 45 credits
  • 12 to 17 credits in core courses
  • 15 to 21 credits in electives
  • Senior capstone, thesis, portfolio, or internship
  • Maintain minimum GPA
  • Take lower-level classes in information organization, methods of research, and information resources
  • Take upper-level classes in collection development, archival theory, and academic librarianship

Best Online Library Science Master’s Degree Programs and Schools: Overview

School Program Accreditation
Appalachian State University Master of Library Science Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
Clarion University Master of Science in Information and Library Science Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Drexel University Master’s in Library & Information Sciences Middle States Commission on Higher Education
East Carolina University Master of Library Science Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Louisiana State University Master of Library and Information Science Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Syracuse University Library and Information Science Master’s Degree Middle States Commission on Higher Education
University of Arizona Master’s in Library and Information Science Higher Learning Commission
University at Buffalo Master of Science in Information and Library Science Middle States Commission on Higher Education
University of Denver Master of Library and Information Science Higher Learning Commission
University of Rhode Island Master of library and Information Studies New England Commission of Higher Education

Best Schools for Library Science: Top Online Library Science Master’s Degree Programs

The best schools for online library science master’s degree programs are accredited institutions that are respected in the field of library science. Below we’ll take an in-depth look at the curriculum and admission requirements of each of these schools and their programs.

1

Appalachian State University

Boone, NC

Founded in 1899, Appalachian State University offers over 150 bachelor’s degrees and over 80 graduate programs between online and in-person learning for its 20,023 students. According to US News & World Report, the North Carolina-based university is the sixth-highest ranked school on the Regional Universities South list and is ranked second for best undergraduate teaching school and best school for veterans.

Master of Library Science

Core coursework in this Master of Library Science will cover topics on information services and sources, technology tools for academic libraries, methods of research, and critical issues in media and literature. Graduate students will need to complete either an internship or practicum or take the Applications of Librarianship Standards class at the end of their degree.

No thesis or proficiency test is required for graduation, but you’re required to receive proof of candidacy from the department showing your readiness for the job market or a doctoral program.

Master of Library Science Overview

  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Tuition: $304/credit (in state); $1,138/credit (out of state)
  • Required Credits: 36 credits
  • Program Length: 4 semesters at 9 credits per semester
  • Learning Format: 100% online
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 73%

Master of Library Science Admission Requirements

  • GPA: 3.0
  • Standardized Tests: GRE or MAT can be waived for those with GPA above 3.4 or 3.0 with five-plus years of working experience in a library
  • Application Fee: $65
  • Minimum Education: Undergraduate degree
  • Other Requirements: Resume, three references

Applying to Appalachian State University

  1. Complete a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university
  2. Complete the online application and pay the $65 application fee
  3. Send official transcripts for any completed degrees
  4. File your resume
  5. Submit three professional references

2

Clarion University

Clarion, PA

Clarion University is ranked 39th on US News & World Report’s list of best public schools and boasts 28 national accreditations. The Pennsylvanian university, founded in 1876, offers over 175 programs across its enrollment of 4,465 students.

M.S.L.S. Information and Library Science

In this Master of Science in Information and Library Science program at Clarion University , online students learn from core courses including library integrated technology, information organization, and informational services and sources. Students will also complete three semester hours in a management course, three semester hours in an internship or research program, and a three-credit capstone experience.

Students will choose a concentration in either User and Reference Services, or Archival and Local Studies, or you can get your M.S.L.S in School Library Media. After graduation, you can optionally complete a post-master’s certificate of advanced studies to expand your professional skills.

M.S.L.S. Information and Library Science Overview

  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Tuition: $516/credit (in state); $557/credit (out of state)
  • Required Credits: 36 credits
  • Program Length: 2 semesters at 15 credits per semester or 4 semesters at 9 credits per semester
  • Learning Format: 100% online
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 53%

M.S.L.S. Information and Library Science Admission Requirements

  • GPA: 3.0
  • Standardized Tests: Not required for this program
  • Application Fee: $40
  • Minimum Education: Bachelor’s degree
  • Other Requirements: Resume

Applying to Clarion University

  1. Complete the online application
  2. Pay the $40 application fee
  3. Provide bachelor’s degree transcripts
  4. Send in transcripts from graduate-level work, if any
  5. Submit your current resume

3

Drexel University

Philadelphia, PA

Drexel University was founded in 1891 and today offers more than 120 graduate and professional programs and has a total enrollment of 23,589 students across all degrees. This private research university is ranked among the Top 40 Comprehensive Research Universities in the United States by the Department of Education in its 2022 College Scorecard.

Master's in Library & Information Sciences

Drexel University's online MLIS degree is heavily focused on providing students a technological background, with classes on digital library technologies, resource descriptions and metadata, information ethics, and data and information. While some doubt the utility of library studies, Drexel cites the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ nine percent expected job growth for library and information science through 2030 as proof of the demand for professionals in the field.

With your degree from Drexel, you can expect to land jobs as library technicians, assistants, or archivists. But with this online program's tech-focus, you can also find work as a software developer, information research and computer scientist, or information systems and computer manager.

Master's in Library & Information Sciences Overview

  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education American Library Association (ALA)
  • Tuition: $1,342/credit
  • Required Credits: 45 credits
  • Program Length: 1 - 2 years
  • Learning Format: 100% online
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 71%

Master's in Library & Information Sciences Admission Requirements

  • GPA: 3.00
  • Standardized Tests: Not required
  • Application Fee: None for online programs
  • Minimum Education: A four-year bachelor's degree in any major from a regionally accredited institution in the United States or equivalent
  • Other Requirements: Letter of recommendation, resume, personal essay stating the purpose of pursuing your education

Applying to Drexel University

  1. Submit application form
  2. Provide official transcripts from all universities or colleges and other post-secondary educational institutions attended
  3. Submit your letter of recommendation
  4. Submit your statement of purpose essay
  5. Provide a resume

4

East Carolina University

Greenville, NC

Founded in 1909, East Carolina University has kept up with the times, and now has more than 100 online degrees. This university focuses on utilizing the latest developments in technology across academic disciplines. Library Science is ECU’s College of Education’s largest program and generates the most school-library media-coordinator graduates out of any school in the state.

Master of Library Science

If you plan on becoming a librarian at a community college, university, or K-12 school, East Carolina’s ALA-accredited program might be the right fit for you. You can choose between three concentration areas, including academic, school, and public libraries. Tailored to fit unconventional students, this program offers asynchronous coursework for those with difficult schedules. Students also have the option to participate in an internship or study abroad program.

Master of Library Science Overview

  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and American Library Association (ALA)
  • Tuition: $263/credit (in state); $994/credit (out of state)
  • Required Credits: 39 credits
  • Program Length: 4 semesters at around 9 credits per semester
  • Learning Format: 100% online
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 65%

Master of Library Science Admission Requirements

  • GPA: 2.7
  • Standardized Tests: None
  • Application Fee: $75
  • Minimum Education: Bachelor’s degree
  • Other Requirements: Three letters of recommendation, 500-word admission essay

Applying to East Carolina University

  1. Complete the online application form
  2. Pay the application fee
  3. Provide your official transcripts for all the institutes you’ve attended
  4. Submit three letters of recommendation
  5. Write a 500-word admission essay

5

Louisiana State University

Baton Rouge, LA

Louisiana State University was founded in 1860 and has a total of 34,285 students enrolled in more than 330 programs across its 14 schools and colleges. The university is known for its wide variety of academic disciplines, including a college of agriculture, law, health sciences, mass communications, and veterinary medicine.

Master of Library and Information Science

As a part-time student or full-time student, you can opt to study one or more focus areas for your degree, such as Academic or Public Librarianship, Cultural Heritage Resource Management, Digital Content Management, Youth Services Librarianship, Archival Studies, and Records and Information Management.

For your online courses, you’ll complete 18 hours in core classes such as collection development for children, information resources, and archival theory, and 18 hours in elective courses. With this degree, you’ll be ready for a career in various types of librarianship, digital content, information management, or archival studies.

Master of Library and Information Science Overview

  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Tuition: $485/credit
  • Required Credits: 36 credits
  • Program Length: 4 semesters at 9 credits per semester
  • Learning Format: 100% online
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 70%

Master of Library and Information Science Admission Requirements

  • GPA: 2.75 for probationary admission; 3.0 for unconditional admission
  • Standardized Tests: GRE or GMAT or equivalent, unless have GPA above 3.0
  • Application Fee: $50; $70 for international students
  • Minimum Education: Bachelor's degree
  • Other Requirements: Resume, three references

Applying to Louisiana State University

  1. Apply through the graduate school
  2. List three references to later fill out the school’s online form
  3. Attach your resume
  4. Submit your academic transcript
  5. Write a statement of purpose of at least 1,000 words

6

Syracuse University

Syracuse, NY

Syracuse University is a research university ranked 59th on US News & World Report’s list of best universities in the nation. The school was founded in 1870 and has a total enrollment of 21,322 students enrolled in one of its 200 undergraduate majors, 200 plus advanced degrees,  or 69 online programs.

Library and Information Science Master's Degree

Consider studying at Syracuse University if you want to someday become a school, law, or medical librarian, data officer, web developer, UX researcher, or records manager. In this program, you can choose between two different degree paths, either getting the Certificate of Advanced Study or pursuing one of the professional pathways.

You can get a certificate in either enterprise technology leadership, security management, data science, or enterprise technology leadership. Professional pathways include specialties such as children and youth services, digital information systems, data curation, user services, information research and analytics, or community engagement. A school media version of the degree is also available which qualifies you to work as a library media specialist.

Library and Information Science Master's Degree Overview

  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Tuition: $1,734/credit
  • Required Credits: 36 credits
  • Program Length: 4 semesters at 9 credits per semester
  • Learning Format: 100% online

Library and Information Science Master's Degree Admission Requirements

  • GPA: 3.0
  • Standardized Tests: Not required, but optional
  • Application Fee: $75 normal deadline; $45 before early priority deadline
  • Minimum Education: Bachelor’s degree
  • Other Requirements: Resume, two letters of recommendation, personal statement
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 83%

Applying to Syracuse University

  1. Complete an online application
  2. Pay the application fee
  3. Submit your resume and academic transcripts
  4. Provide two letters of recommendation
  5. Submit a personal statement

7

University of Arizona

Tucson, AZ

The University of Arizona is a public research university that was founded in 1885 and has since, through community services such as offering education, formed sustainable relationships with the Indigenous tribes in the area. Between its four campuses and online platform, the school offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in more than 300 fields of study for its 45,601 students.

Master of Arts: Library & Information

Once you determine your ideal career path, you’ll choose a degree concentration in archival studies for special collections, digital curation, health information, or librarianship in a public, special, or academic library. Core courses include organizing information, research methods, and information services, and electives on managing collections, preserving collections digitally, and documenting cultures. You will also complete a capstone internship and an ePortfolio.

Master of Arts: Library & Information Science Overview9

  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission and American Library Association
  • Tuition: $900/credit
  • Required Credits: 37 credits
  • Program Length: 4 semesters at 9 credits per semester
  • Learning Format: 100% online
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 65%

Master of Arts: Library & Information Admission Requirements

  • GPA: 3.0
  • Standardized Tests:  None
  • Application Fee: $85
  • Minimum Education: Undergraduate degree
  • Other Requirements: Statement of purpose of 700 to 1,000 words, current resume, two letters of recommendation

Applying to University of Arizona

  1. Submit online application
  2. Sent in all unofficial transcripts from any institutions attended
  3. Provide your current resume
  4. Write a 750- to 1,000-word statement of purpose
  5. Get two recommendation letters

8

University at Buffalo

Buffalo, NY

Originally founded as a medical college in 1846, the University at Buffalo has since expanded to host the largest number of programs in New York state. More than 140 bachelor’s degrees and more than 300 master’s, certificate, and professional programs educate its 32,347-strong student population. The research university is ranked the number one public university in New York state , according to the Wall Street Journal’s and Times Higher Education’s college rankings.

Information and Library Science, MS

Core classes within this Master of Science in Information and Library Science degree cover research methods, information usage, and the life cycle of information. Students can also opt to specialize in either music librarianship or law librarianship. Additionally, you can gain real-world, educational experience by taking one of the program’s many special projects, directed study courses, or practicums.

Information and Library Science, MS Overview

  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Tuition : $471/credit (in state); $565/credit (out of state)
  • Required Credits: 36 credits
  • Program Length: 4 semesters at 9 credits per semester
  • Learning Format: 100% online
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 75%

Information and Library Science, MS Admission Requirements

  • GPA: 3.0
  • Standardized Tests: Not required through Fall 2022; subject to change
  • Application Fee: $50
  • Minimum Education: Bachelor’s degree
  • Other Requirements: Three references for future recommendation letter submission, statement of purpose

Applying to University at Buffalo

  1. Complete online application
  2. Pay the $50 application fee
  3. Provide three references to later complete online recommendation letters
  4. Submit your unofficial transcripts
  5. Complete a statement of purpose stating your career ambitions

9

University of Denver

Denver, CO

Originally a seminary school, the University of Denver was established in 1864 and is now home to 13,865 students of all backgrounds. The school offers over 100 undergraduate degree programs and more than 120 graduate and professional programs.

Master’s in Library and Information Science

Students in this program can take the general form of the degree, or choose to focus on archiving for special libraries, which teaches how to manage digital collections, digitization projects, records, and archives. At the end of your program, you’ll compile a portfolio of your work and either complete a capstone project or participate in a 100-hour internship.

This program is ideal for those that wish to work as a museum or digital archivist for special libraries, community outreach or business research specialist, an expert in data curation, or manager of digital libraries.

Master’s in Library and Information Science Overview

  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition: $985/credit
  • Required Credits: 58 quarter credits, equaling ~38 normal credit hours
  • Program Length: 19 classes over 21 to 27 months
  • Learning Format: 100% online
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 75%

Master’s in Library and Information Science Admission Requirements

  • GPA: 2.5
  • Standardized Tests: None
  • Application Fee: $65
  • Minimum Education: Bachelor’s degree
  • Other Requirements: Two letters of recommendation, resume, statement of purpose, and diversity statement (if applicable)

Applying to University of Denver

  1. Fill out online application
  2. Provide two letters of recommendation
  3. Turn in resume
  4. Write statement of professional goals
  5. Submit your diversity statement, if applicable

10

University of Rhode Island

Kingston, RI

Established in 1892, the University of Rhode Island is a public research university that has been awarded more than $100 million in competitive grants. Though the school has an impressive enrollment of 17,649, the school maintains a personable education across its 203 programs with a 16-to-one student-to-teacher ratio.

Master of Library and Information Studies

In this track program, you can choose to focus on your preferred area of studies, such as digital media, information equity, leadership, and school library media. You’ll learn from core courses on organizing information, learning about information science and technology, and understanding user information needs. Once you graduate, you’ll be ready to jump into a job as a school librarian, archivist, information specialist, or curator.

Master of Library and Information Studies Overview

  • Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education
  • Tuition: $823/credit (in state); $823/credit (out of state)
  • Required Credits: 36 credits
  • Program Length: 4 semesters at 9 credits per semester
  • Learning Format: 100% online
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 71%

Master of Library and Information Studies Admission Requirements

  • GPA: 3.0
  • Standardized Tests: None
  • Application Fee: $65
  • Minimum Education: Bachelor’s degree
  • Other Requirements: Statement of purpose between 500 and 800 words, two letters of recommendation, resume

Applying to University of Rhode Island

  1. Submit online application
  2. Write a 500- to 800-word statement of purpose
  3. Get two letters of recommendation
  4. Provide unofficial digital transcripts
  5. Send current resume

What Is an Online Library Science Master’s Degree?

An online library science master’s degree teaches you about librarianship as well as information studies or science. With this degree, you will be prepared to be a librarian in nearly any setting, from academia to government, and in many cases, jobs in the informatics and computing industry.

Offering a flexible learning style, universities allow online students in their programs to complete their degrees part-time or full-time, and in a hybrid or online-only format.

Online vs In-Person Library Science Degrees

The differences between online and in-person library science master’s degree programs lie mostly in location, cost, flexibility, and institutional options. Each of these factors plays a part in determining whether an online or in-person program is better for you.

While there are pros and cons to each learning method, rest assured you will be receiving the same quality of education in either program, as they usually involve the same coursework and professors.

Top 5 Benefits of an Online Master’s Degree in Library Science

  • Lower costs. Since you aren’t paying for on-campus facilities such as dormitories, gyms, dining halls, and physical academic libraries, online degrees are often much cheaper than their physical counterparts.
  • Flexible scheduling. For those with jobs, the flexibility offered by online classes is a major advantage because it allows them to earn an income while pursuing a degree.
  • Study in multiple environments. Since online classes do not require you to be in a certain location, you can choose to learn from wherever you are most comfortable and productive doing so.
  • Self-paced learning. Distance learning allows you to learn at a pace that is comfortable for you. You can either learn from a self-directed, pre-recorded curriculum or watch lectures after the fact, taking in information at your own speed.
  • More options. In many cases, students wish to attend specific colleges but are limited in choice due to where they live. With online learning, you can attend a school from as far as the other side of the country or as near as your local community.

Top 5 Benefits of an In-Person Master’s Degree in Library Science

  • More support. Being on campus allows more opportunities to get support from professors and other faculty members in person, and to collaborate with other students.
  • Campus life. Being able to socialize with your peers is a huge benefit to in-person college attendance since it gives you the opportunity to make new friends and feel a part of a community.
  • More natural discussion. Professors have a much easier time engaging and sparking discussions with students who are in-person, as opposed to mysterious online students who have their cameras and mics off.
  • Campus resources. Access to on-campus amenities such as public libraries makes studying and research easier.
  • Productive environment. In comparison to studying at home, physically being in a classroom surrounded by other focused students can help you stay focused on studies and tasks.

What Types of Online Master’s Degrees Can You Get in Library Science?

The types of master’s degrees you can get in library science include a Master’s of Art in Library Science, Master’s of Science in Library Science, Master of Library and Information Studies, Master’s in Library and Information Science, and a Master of Science in Library Science.

Is it Better to Get a Master of Library Science or a Master of Library and Information Science?

It is better to get a Master of Library and Information Science degree (MLIS) if you want a more interdisciplinary degree that would allow you to work in either librarian-related fields or in the informatics and computing industry. Studying information science within your library science program makes it easier for you to get more tech-focused jobs like as a data officer, web developer, UX researcher, software developer, information research, and computer scientist.

While each degree teaches the same fundamental skills, if your career goals are to work in librarianship, you might want to opt for the MLS degree instead.

How Much Does a Library Science Master’s Degree Cost?

The average tuition cost of a graduate degree in a public institution is $12,171, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. This cost differs from that of private institutions, which cost on average $14,208 for a for-profit institution, and $27,776 if they are a non-profit institution.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Library Science Master’s Degree Online?

It takes two years to earn your library science master’s degree online, on average. The length of time varies across programs, as some programs can be shorter or longer than two years, depending on if you have transfer credits or if you plan on taking degree specializations.

As previously mentioned, the credits required to earn a Master’s Degree in Library Science online vary. Some institutes require 30, while others require you to earn as many as 45 before graduating.

Are Online Library Science Degrees Respected?

Yes, library science degrees are respected, as many accredited institutes now offer online degree programs.  Employers now recognize the validity of online degrees for this reason, and offer the same employment opportunities to those holding online degrees as those holding traditional degrees.

Most accredited universities offer the same curriculum and have the same professors both online and in-person, making the degrees virtually indistinguishable from one another. Some diplomas don’t differentiate between the two, so employers wouldn’t even know how you got your degree.

Is Library Science Hard to Learn Online?

No, library science is not hard to learn, especially if you are tech-savvy. Library science, like all subjects, requires dedication and focus, but the discipline is becoming increasingly computer-based as new technologies develop, so having a knack for computers will make completing the degree much easier.

Why You Should Get a Library Science Master’s Degree Online

You should get a library science master’s degree online because the skills taught within the field are in high demand within the tech industry. Since numerous accredited universities offer online programs, they are just as respected by potential employers as in-person degrees.

With online degrees being much cheaper than in-person degrees while simultaneously offering the same quality of education, you should get a library science master’s degree online for the sake of convenience and cost.

What Courses Do You Take in an Online Master’s Degree Program in Library Science?

Online library science master’s degree courses generally cover topics such as digital library technologies, information ethics, archival studies, data curation, and library programming. While the specific course names vary, the material covered in the general degree is often standard across the board.

Some programs offer specializations within the degree that allow you to take further courses to hone your skills in specific types of librarianship, such as law, music, or academia. Or, you might take more skills-based courses for specializations that focus on managing digital content or cultural heritage resources.

Digital Library Technologies

This coursework focuses on the technological processes that digitally preserve and organize materials. Students learn about the applications and programs used for information sorting in digital library management.

Information Ethics

This class applies ethics, which is the study of moral principles, to collecting and storing information. In this couse, you will learn about the ethics of using emerging technology and its relationship with humanity, and how to use technology responsibly.

Archival Studies

As a librarian, specifically an archivist, you are responsible for taking care of delicate, historical documents. This involves not only protecting the documents from harm, but also digitizing, sorting, and creating descriptions of archival materials for future use.

Data Curation

This class involves learning how to compile sources of information that are most relevant to specific demographics or fit particular themes. For example, some curators focus on children’s literature, academia, or historical documents. This type of course will cover and expand on these areas.

Resource and Metadata Description

While it is imperative to correctly preserve information on databases, it would be impossible to find specific documents without proper metadata tags. In this class, you’ll learn the most effective ways to write descriptions for records that will create organized databases.

Continuing Education Paths for Online Library Science Master’s Degree Graduates

If you’d like to continue down the educational path after your online library science master’s degree, there are plentiful doctorate PhD programs that would allow you to specialize even further within specific types of library studies. If you want to work in law or medical libraries, some of those institutions require librarians to have a PhD.

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What to Look For in the Best Library Science Master’s Degree Programs

The things to look for in the best library science master’s degree programs are the employment outcomes, accelerated options, curricular content, specialization options, and retention rate. These will help to inform your decision when deciding where to study for your Master’s Degree in Library Science.

Employment outcomes

Employment outcomes refer to your ability to enter your desired career path after graduation. Research the university and its alumni and see where graduates often work, as it will give you an indication of whether or not employers see value in a degree from that school.

Accelerated options

Accelerated options allow you to condense a degree program into a shorter period than it would normally take, meaning that you can get your degree faster. While most Master’s in Library Science programs take about two years, with an accelerated program, it might take only a year or so to complete your studies. Graduating sooner allows you to jump right into the workforce or begin pursuing your doctoral degree .

Curricular content

The curricular content of the Master of Library Science degree program you choose is important because not all programs are structured the same way. See if the classes within the degree are aligned with your interests or career goals, or if the electives seem interesting and fun.

Specialization options

As mentioned, some degrees offer concentrations, which will give you expertise in specific fields. If you know a specific type of librarianship you want to work in, try to find a school that allows you to specialize in that type of study.

Retention rate

The retention rate of a university refers to the proportion of students who continue their studies after their first year of entering the school. A high retention rate is a good indicator that you would be able to finish the degree and that it is a quality program. Also consider that schools with a high acceptance rate will generally have a low retention rate, and schools with a low acceptance rate will generally have a high retention rate.

What Is the Most Affordable Online Library Science Master’s Degree?

The most affordable online library science master’s degree program is offered through Appalachian State University. It costs just $304 per credit for in-state students and $1,138 for out-of-state students.

Can I Get a Library Science Master’s Degree Online for Free?

No, you cannot get a library science master’s degree online for free. However, financial aid options are available for students wanting to earn their education now and pay it back later. Student can also qualify for grants and scholarships which can help offset the cost of tuition.

Salary and Job Outlook for Online Library Science Master’s Degree Graduates

A person in brown dress searches through a Rolodex among other archival shelves Best Online Library Science Masters Degrees
A Master’s Degree in Library Science can land you a job as an archivist.

Once you graduate with your online Master’s Degree in Library Science, you’ll be ready to become a librarian in many different institutions. Typically, all librarians and library media specialists need at least a master’s degree, so your competition is only among those who share this credential.

Launching a career or looking for career development opportunities in library sciences is made easier with the current demand for professionals in this field. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that between 2020 and 2030, the employment of librarians and library media specialists will grow by nine percent, which is close to the national average in job growth.

How Hard Is It to Get a Job With a Library Science Master’s Degree?

It is not hard to get a job with a library science master’s degree. Because it is the minimum educational requirement to become a librarian, you’re only competing with a small pool of people. Additionally, your degree will equip you with information science skills, so you could easily find and land a tech-related job in the high-demand tech field.

What’s the Average Online Library Science Master’s Degree Salary?

The average base salary for people with a library science master’s degree is $58,000, according to PayScale. With the wide variety of employment options available within this career, your master’s degree will equip you with the tools you need to secure high-paying jobs.

What Jobs Can You Get With an Online Library Science Master’s Degree?

Some of the jobs you can get with an online library science master’s degree are information systems manager, database administrator, and archivist. You can, of course, also become a librarian or library technician.

Library Science Degree Jobs

  • Information systems manager
  • Database administrator
  • Librarian
  • Archivist
  • Library Technician

Potential Careers With an Online Library Science Degree

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How Much Money Can You Make With an Online Library Science Master’s Degree?

You can make anywhere from $50,000 to $151,150 per year with an online library science master’s degree. The annual salary depends on the career path you take, if you have any specialized training, and if you have any hands-on experience or professional experience.

At the lower end of the spectrum, archivist jobs pay a median salary of approximately $50,000. But the earning potential is much higher for jobs such as the information systems manager, who earns almost triple the salary of an archivist, on average. Focusing on information-based careers will often lead to a higher salary.

Highest-Paying Online Library Science Master’s Degree Jobs and Salaries: Overview

Library Science Master’s Degree Jobs Median Salary
Information Systems Manager $159,010
Software Developer $110,140
Database Administrator $98,860
Librarian $61,190
Archivist $50,120

Best Jobs for Online Library Science Master’s Degree Grads

The best jobs for online library science master’s degree graduates include information systems manager, database administrator, librarian, archivist, and library technician. These jobs represent the vast range of annual salaries available and show that public librarianship is just one of many available career paths for master’s degree holders.

1

Information Systems Manager

Average Salary: $159,010

An information systems manager ensures that all the computers and systems used within an organization are secure and operate effectively. The job also entails being responsible for and overseeing the types of applications, hardware, and software used.

2

Software Developer

Average salary: $110,140

Using the skills acquired in studying information science, you can become a software developer in librarianship and beyond. If you wanted to work in librarianship, you could design computer programs for database creation.

3

Database Administrator

Average Salary: $98,860

As a database administrator or architect, you will be responsible for developing, maintaining, and organizing information into a database. This includes troubleshooting security issues as well as making it accessible to users.

4

Librarian

Average Salary: $61,190 per year

Librarians are responsible for collecting, organizing, and issuing the resources provided by the library. These resources most often include books, audio files, and films. The types of library professionals vary between institutions, with careers in librarianship including academic librarians, public librarians, youth librarians, or archive librarians.

5

Archivist

Average Salary: $50,120 per year

Archivists take on the role of managing, storing, and writing descriptions for the information kept within an organization's physical and digital archives. The type of material they work with varies from physical texts, digital materials, audio and visual material, pictures, and maps.

Best Jobs According to Your Major

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Is an Online Library Science Master’s Degree Worth It?

Yes, an online library science master’s degree is worth it. Having a Master’s Degree in Library Science allows you to work in a field that combines traditional methods of research and learning with emerging technologies. Once you’ve obtained your graduate degree, it will open the door to a wide variety of professional pathways in the field of library science and beyond.

You can work in traditional libraries, curating content for everyone in your community from children to adults. Or, if you are tech-savvy, you can work in more computer-focused information jobs, which are high-paying and in high demand. With an online library science master’s degree, it’s exciting to know that in just two short years, you could go from studying at home to a six-figure salary career.

Additional Reading About Library Science

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Online Library Science Master’s Degree FAQ

What is the minimum education you need to become a librarian?

The minimum education you need to become a librarian is a graduate degree. While some universities have bachelor’s programs where students can major in library science, that is just a jumping-off point of education, as most employers require library professionals to have a master’s degree .

Why does a university’s accreditation status matter?

A university’s accreditation status matters because it means that it has passed an evaluation confirming the academic excellence of its programs. With so many programs online today, some schools might seem legitimate at first glance, but the absence of accreditations stands as a testament to the lack of quality. Employers also value applicants who have credentials from an accredited and trusted institution.

Are technology skills required before applying for an online Master’s Degree in Library Science?

No, you do not need to have technology skills before applying for a Master’s Degree in Library Science. The coursework you will study during your degree will provide you with the foundational skills you need to eventually develop and manage digital collections and archives.

Is a law degree required to work as a law librarian?

No, you typically don’t need a law degree to work as a law librarian with a law firm. Most law librarians have an MLIS graduate degree, however, there are some positions that require a law librarianship program or law degree from a school accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA).

About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.

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Ziyanda Maseko

About the author: Ziyanda is an experienced writer and teacher. She holds two bachelor’s degrees from Rhodes University, one in English and one in English and Psychology. She also has a Level 5 TEFL Certificate and an Associate Degree in Journalism and Media from the Limkokwing University of Creative Technology. She enjoys conducting research about new technology.

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