How do I get a Media Specialist Degree?

K T Solis

In order to earn a media specialist degree, a future librarian must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university. The aspiring media specialist is then eligible to apply to a library science graduate program with a concentration in library media. The majority of states in the U.S. require that a school librarian holds a master's degree in library science or a master's degree in education with a library media endorsement.

A media specialist may conduct important interviews.
A media specialist may conduct important interviews.

Media specialists are librarians who work in public or private schools. They are responsible for teaching students how to conduct research by using a variety of print and electronic tools. Media specialists also encourage a love for literature, promoting books to every student who walks through the school library's doors.

Media specialists often have a degree in library science.
Media specialists often have a degree in library science.

Before deciding on a school that offers a library science program, a future graduate student should research the various colleges and universities. Not all colleges offer programs that are accredited by the American Library Association (ALA), the official organization that promotes library services with the United States. Some states in the U.S. require that school librarians graduate from a university that provides an ALA-accredited library media program.

Media specialist degree programs will often teach students about online research and electronic databases.
Media specialist degree programs will often teach students about online research and electronic databases.

Future school librarians should also consider the length of the media specialist degree program. Some schools offer programs that students can complete in one year, while other schools' programs require two years. People unable to commute to a college because there are no media specialist degree programs in their area can also consider a distance-education option.

These programs allow students to complete coursework from home, using the Internet to access lectures. Students can submit assignments online and communicate with professors and classmates via chat rooms and message boards. Distance-education programs may still require that students attend a few classes in person, so travel expenses should also be considered when choosing a university.

Typical courses in a media specialist degree program will usually include classes in collection development, library management, children's and young adult literature, cataloging, research methods, intellectual freedom, and other subjects that relate to modern libraries. Students will learn about online research, electronic databases, and automated circulation systems as well. Some media specialist degree programs require that students complete a practicum, providing them with hands-on training under the tutelage of an experienced school librarian.

People who wish to become media specialists may need to have experience as a classroom teacher as well. Schools may require that media specialist applicants be certified classroom teachers. Some school districts are reluctant to hire school librarians who have no experience in the classroom.

Other districts will hire a school librarian as long as he or she has completed a library media program and earned certification as a media specialist. Those enrolled in a media specialist program should check with their state's teacher licensing department for further details. They can then discover the exact requirements for a school librarian in the state in which they wish to work.

How to do online research and use electronic databases will be covered in courses towards a media specialist degree.
How to do online research and use electronic databases will be covered in courses towards a media specialist degree.

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Discussion Comments


Sneakers41 - I agree. I think that the little ones are so cute. I wanted to say that I recently read that the salary range for a librarian is $47,000 to $55,000 and the profession is expected to grow within the next eight years by eight percent.

I also understand that you have to get a Masters degree in library science from an accredited school in order to be considered for employment. There are only 50 library science degrees within the United States and only two such programs in the state of Florida.

Both the University of South Florida and Florida State University are the only schools to offer an accredited program in library science in the state of Florida.


GreenWeaver - I would love to recommend books to kids and help them with their research. I would also love to read books to the elementary school children and help instill a love of reading.

There are so many things that you can do as a librarian that I think this job would be lots of fun.

I would also like to have writers come in and speak about their books to the children so that they can get inspired and maybe write their own book someday.

I rather be an elementary school librarian because I love children’s literature and rather work with younger kids than the older high school or college kids.


SurfNturf - I know that some schools offer a library media specialist degree online as well. Florida State University, Rutgers, and the University of Alabama all offer accredited programs that are 100% online in library science.

That is really convenient because you can take the classes when it suits your schedule.


I have always wanted to get a library media specialist degree because I enjoy books so much.

I know that the media specialist at my children’s school always tests the children for the accelerated reading program and assigns the children their reading level range.

She also sets the accelerated reading goals for each grade and offers awards for those children that exceeded their goals at the end of the year.

My daughter won an outstanding achievement award in Kindergarten because she had accumulated over forty points.

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