Complete Guide to an Online Library Science Degree

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Quick Facts
Accreditation: ALA
Degree Levels: Associate, Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral, and Certificate
Avg Tuition: $22,191

Online library science degrees are available at all levels, but most librarian positions require a Master of Library Science (MLS) degree. Library science combines elements of information technology, resource management, and education, and prepares graduates for careers in a variety of fields, such as teaching, government, law, technology, and museum curation.

Depending on the area of specialty and desired career path, prospective students are encouraged to choose degree programs that are accredited, which ensures that their program meets high academic standards and is respected within the field. Continue reading for more information on available degree levels, online ALA accredited master's programs, the licensing and certification process, and careers in the field.

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Comprehensive List of Accredited Online Schools - Library Science Degrees (110)

Overview of Available Online Library Science Degrees

Most professional librarians must obtain a master's degree in library science. Students pursuing this degree path should be aware that not all online master’s degrees in library science are accredited by the American Library Association (ALA), and that attending a program not accredited by the ALA could severely limit employment options after graduation.

While graduates can seek positions in a library without a master’s degree, these positions are typically support staff roles such as technicians and library assistants. There are currently no agencies that programmatically accredit associate or undergraduate programs in information and library studies.

That said, students can opt to earn a certificate , associate degree, or bachelor’s degree in library science, and many institutions that offer ALA-accredited master’s degree programs also offer undergraduate minors and majors in library studies. In many cases, students are not required to obtain an undergraduate online library science degree in order to pursue a master’s degree. Library science students pursuing an online degree can expect to take classes such as Curriculum Resources, Information Tools by Computer, Information Ethics, and Academic Libraries, among others.

Students who wish to advance their careers by continuing their studies beyond the Master’s level might consider enrolling in a doctoral program or completing a graduate certificate in one of a number of specialties such as Archival Administration, Information Management, Public Librarianship, and more.

Online Associate Degrees in Library Science

Some schools offer online associate degrees in library science. Such programs are typically designed to introduce students to the fundamentals of information systems and libraries. Prerequisites for admission into an online associate degree program include a high school diploma as well as some familiarity with basic computer programs and technology. Most programs take approximately two years.

To obtain an online associate degree in library science, students must successfully complete core library science courses as well as general education courses and learn how to assist librarians in locating resources and acquiring materials. Common courses include Library Automation, Library Acquisitions, Library Media Services, Library Technical Services, Care of Library Materials, and Introduction to Library Technician. Graduates of an associate degree program can choose to find work as library technicians or to transfer credits towards a bachelor’s degree in library science.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), more than 94,260 library technicians were employed by schools, government libraries, local libraries, and other information resource centers in 2014. Library technicians earned a median annual salary of $31,680. Library technicians in the U.S. are not required to obtain licensure or certification .

Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Library Science

Students seeking to earn an online bachelor’s degree in library science might consider online programs in general or liberal studies with a concentration in library science. Depending on the educational institution, library informatics programs may also be offered online or through a blended distance learning format.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that graduates who earn a bachelor’s degree in library science from an ALA-accredited institution will have an advantage in terms of employment options. Librarians seeking positions in school libraries will oftentimes need a state teaching license in addition to an online bachelor’s degree in library science.

Graduates of accredited online bachelor’s degree programs in library science will develop research skills, communication skills, and critical thinking skills that are valuable to a variety of industries and employers. People with a bachelor’s degree in library science might find work as bibliographers, information service assistants, online content editors, archivists, library paraprofessionals, or online researchers. While the BLS predicts a slow growth rate for librarian positions from 2012 to 2022, the best career opportunities will be in nonprofit organizations, private corporations, consulting firms, and other non-traditional settings.

Keep in mind that the majority of careers in public and academic librarianship require advanced degrees. Therefore, many institutions that offer online bachelor’s degrees in library science also provide opportunities for online Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) programs, allowing students to further their studies at the same institution.

Online Master’s Degrees in Library Science

There are currently more than 60 ALA-accredited schools in the country, many of which offer online master’s degrees in library science. Several hybrid programs also exist, mixing online and on-campus courses. While requirements for program admittance vary, applicants seeking an online master’s degree in library science must typically have earned a bachelor’s degree in any major and successfully passed the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).

While some programs require at least 40 semester hours before the degree is awarded, full-time students might be able to earn an online master’s degree in library science in two years. In addition, students who have already completed coursework at another ALA-accredited program may be entitled to transfer credits. Many programs require a capstone project or thesis as well as an internship experience or practicum before the master’s degree is awarded. There are a variety of different master’s degree programs that students can pursue, including the following:

  • Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS): Students who pursue this track gain fundamentals in information systems management as well as in librarian studies. Technical courses might include Information Architecture, Database Administration, Telecommunications, Enterprise Network Management, Data Mining, and Project Management.
  • Master of Science in Library Science (MSLS) or Master of Library Science (MLS): These programs prepare students to work in environments like corporate, academic, or public libraries. In addition to core library science courses that discuss the ethics, politics, and history of bibliographic data standards and the written word, courses might include Government Documents, Classification and Cataloging, Principles of Searching, Business Reference Solutions, Conservation and Preservation, Issues in User Services, and Integrated Technologies in Libraries.
  • Master of Arts in Library Science (MA): Students pursuing a Master of Arts in Library Science focus on sharpening their analysis and research skills. Graduates of these programs are prepared to enter field-specific doctoral degrees, and possible courses of study might include Research Methods, Communications Technology, Information Services, Information Retrieval, Organization of Information, Library Collections Development, and Library Management.

Online Doctoral Degrees in Library Science

Online doctorate programs can prepare students to become librarians in government offices, corporations, or educational institutions. Certification requirements for school or community librarians apply in most states. Students considering doctoral programs should note that most will include a residence requirement.

Students do not necessarily need to have a master’s degree in order to gain admittance into an online doctoral degree in library science, and graduate or undergraduate work does not have to be in library science. However, applicants are required to take a qualifying exam to establish candidacy for a doctoral program, and students who enter a doctoral program without a master’s degree may be required to complete additional graduate-level coursework in order to satisfy doctoral program requirements.

Students earning an online doctoral degree in library science develop leadership, communication, research, and critical-thinking skills. Most programs offer interdisciplinary instruction and are open to applicants from all academic backgrounds. Possible courses of study include Advanced Research Methods, Theories in Library Information Science, Teaching Library Information Science, Information and the Public, and Regulations and Information Science. After students successfully complete all course requirements, they are entitled to sit for a final exam before they start a dissertation. Each student must research and defend a thesis in front of a panel of faculty members in order to receive an online doctoral degree in library science. Students who earn a doctorate in library science can work in private or government sectors as published scholars, university chairpersons, researchers, corporate librarians, and library science professors.

Online Certificates in Library Science

Undergraduate Certificates in Library Science

Online certificate programs in library science offer students the necessary training required to manage and organize library information and resources. Exposure to cataloguing systems and technologies used by libraries are part of the required coursework, and skills gained can be applied in the future should the student seek an online bachelor's or master’s degree in library science. Certificate programs typically last one year and require students to have earned a high school diploma or GED prior to admission.

The popular online library technician certificate allows students to become acquainted with the tools and technologies libraries use to manage, retrieve, and organize information sources. Classes teach fundamental skills in cataloging and classifying electronic records, periodicals, and books. Courses may include: Internet Fundamentals for Librarians, Electronic Databases, Cataloging and Classification, Collection Development, and Information Resources.

Graduate Certificates in Library Science

Several schools offer online certificates specializing in other areas of library science such as school media, youth services, archive management, reference services, or academic, art, health, law, or music librarianship. Such certificates are sometimes referred to as Post Master's certificates, as they require a master’s degree for admission and are designed for working librarians seeking to advance their skills in areas such as digital or public librarianship. Depending on course outcomes, some programs may culminate in an oral examination or final project.

Accreditation for Online Library Science Degrees

The American Library Association (ALA) is the largest and oldest library association in the world. An American Library Association (ALA) accreditation specifically allows potential library workers greater flexibility when it comes to searching for jobs or advancing in the career field. Students attending an ALA-accredited degree program can feel confident that the program has been assessed for educational quality based on peer, external, and nongovernmental evaluations.

While students can earn a master’s degree from an ALA-accredited program, they can also seek a master’s degree with a school librarianship specialty from an American Association of School Librarians (AASL)-recognized program accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). The AASL does not review online library science degree programs that are not affiliated with a unit accredited by the CAEP.

Since the CAEP dictates that any institution that prepares K-12 teachers for positions in public schools must be evaluated by professional bodies, the ALA joined CAEP to give the ALA the opportunity to evaluate programs for school librarians and to identify specific entry-level competencies for school librarians. The two organizations work together to promote educational opportunities for anyone seeking a career as a school librarian.

ALA-Accredited Online Master's in Library Science Programs

The following 27 schools are all ALA accredited, non-profit institutions that offer online master's degrees in library science programs:

  • Annual Tuition : $13,237
  • School Type : Non-Profit
  • Regional Accreditation : MSCHE

With a focus on the global information environment and tendency toward digital info, the online master’s programs in library science prepare students to work in various settings. At Clarion University, students have two options to choose from. The standard Information and Library Science degree has four required core classes that cover everything from information professions to integrated technologies in libraries. Management and capstone courses are also required as are 18 units of elective courses. Students can earn the same degree with a concentration in School Library Media as well. The core and capstone classes are the same, but the management course is school library media-specific. Electives are cut down to nine units as there are nine units dedicated to the concentration—classes on literature, young adults, and web technologies.

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  • Annual Tuition : $37,505
  • School Type : Non-Profit
  • Regional Accreditation : MSCHE

Five concentrations allow students at Drexel University to choose from a wide range of career paths. Concentrations include Archival Studies, Digital Curation, Digital Libraries, Library and Information Services, and Youth Services. Every concentration has the same six core classes, dealing with everything from Social Context of Information Professions to Information Access & Resources. Each concentration still allows students to choose 12 units of free electives—classes on whatever the student is interested in beyond their main focus. There are 15 units of concentration courses, offering some required courses and some chosen electives within the concentration itself. Every degree program, no matter the concentration, has an overall total of 45 required units.

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  • Annual Tuition : $20,256
  • School Type : Non-Profit
  • Regional Accreditation : SACS COC

The virtual degree program at East Carolina University places an emphasis on emerging technologies and on the importance of hands-on learning. It is designed specifically for those looking to work as information specialists in pre-K-12 schools, universities, community colleges, and public libraries. Students may take courses like Technology for Library Services, Library Administration and Management, and Research Literacy in Library Science. A total of 39 units are required for each of the three different pathways. The university offers tracks in Academic Library, Public Library, and School Library. Students may apply for scholarships through both the library science program and the College of Education at East Carolina University as well as through various library and media-related associations.

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  • Annual Tuition : $21,673
  • School Type : Non-Profit
  • Regional Accreditation : SACS COC

With a staff full of educated professionals, Florida State University’s offers a few different online degree programs. Whether students are seeking a M.A. or a M.S. in Information or a M.S. in Information Technology, they will find flexible, customizable programs that range from 32 to 42 units. The programs share many of the same required courses, like Assessing Information Needs and Management of Information Organizations, but they all require at least 20 units of electives, giving the student freedom to choose what they want to learn about. The Information degrees may lead to jobs in health informatics, web design, or information organization in addition to librarianship while the Information Technology degree will lead to technology, networking, or data management positions.

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  • Annual Tuition : $32,350
  • School Type : Non-Profit
  • Regional Accreditation : NCACSTHLC

According to Indiana University, a master’s degree in library science is necessary to enter the field as a professional librarian. Many different types of classes are available, including Cataloging, Human-Computer Interaction, Evaluation of Information Systems, Information Architecture for the Web, and Academic Library Management. While not required, there are six specializations available: Academic Librarianship, Public Librarianship, School Library, Technical Services, Technology Management, and Youth Services. Indiana University also offers unique dual degree programs so students interested in studying library science can complete a program that results in two degrees with fewer required units. Faculty is always working on relevant research in topics like community memory, digital heritage, and library management—and students are often welcome to help out. Students can pair their degree with one in history, philanthropic studies, health informatics, or law.

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  • Annual Tuition : $17,776
  • School Type : Non-Profit
  • Regional Accreditation : NCACSTHLC

While Kent State University offers common specializations like Library Management and Public Librarianship, they also offer a variety of unique focuses including Digital Preservation, Museum Studies, and Cataloging or Metadata. The master’s program for library and information science requires anywhere from 37 to 40 units, depending on what the student chooses to do for their final requirement. Twelve of those units are the core curriculum, which includes The Information Landscape, Information Organization, People in the Information Ecology, Information Institutions and Professionals, and Research and Assessment in Library and Information Science. Another 21 units are electives, which can be tailored for students’ career goals. For the final requirements, each student must first create a master’s portfolio. They can then choose to complete an internship, a project, a research paper, or a thesis before graduation.

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  • Annual Tuition : $25,790
  • School Type : Non-Profit
  • Regional Accreditation : SACS COC

With 18 units of core classes and 18 units of electives, the master’s degree program in library and information science at Louisiana State University requires a total of 36 units. The required core classes include Information and Society, Management of Information Organizations, Information Technologies and Systems, Understanding Research, Organization of Information, and Information Needs. The degree must be completed within five years. Students also have plenty of options for specializations at Louisiana State, with choices like Academic Librarianship, Knowledge Management, Archival Studies, Cultural Heritage Resource Management, and Digital Content Management. Those who graduate tend to work in public, corporate, academic, and school libraries.

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  • Annual Tuition : $16,099
  • School Type : Non-Profit
  • Regional Accreditation : SACS COC

Students will learn about the theoretical framework of library science, how to create research proposals, how to develop informational programming, the best ways to organize information, and why libraries and information are important in a global society. The 36 required units must be taken in a specific order, starting with Foundations of Librarianship followed by Selection and Use of Information Sources and Management & Systems Analysis. Students must take at least a year to finish their courses and should save their Research Methods course for the end of their time at the university. There is a language requirement for the program as well, though students can choose between a foreign language, American Sign Language, statistics, and computer languages.

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  • Annual Tuition : $27,523
  • School Type : Non-Profit
  • Regional Accreditation : MSCHE

The online master’s program at Rutgers is one of the highest ranked in the country for information, especially for school library media. Those who have a strong academic history may be able to waive the GRE exam requirement upon applying. Although the program features courses that are asynchronous, the program is not self-paced in the sense that students must complete coursework and exams on time. Orientation and classes are entirely web-based. There are five different concentrations to choose from, including Data Science, Library & Information Science, Archives & Preservation, Technology, Information & Management, and Informatics & Design. The school also offers certifications for those looking to work in Public Librarianship or School Librarianship, as some states require it. In addition, students who haven’t yet earned a bachelor’s degree may consider earning the B.A. and M.I. simultaneously.

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Online Master's Degrees (1)

  • Annual Tuition : $18,503
  • School Type : Non-Profit
  • Regional Accreditation : WASC WSCUC

The master’s program at San Jose University requires 43 units of coursework, including classes like Information Retrieval System Design, Information Professions, and Research Methods in Library and Information Science. Within their first month of studying with the college, students must complete a course called Online Learning: Tools and Strategies for Success to learn about the online school environment. Some courses require virtual attendance during live class sessions, but most are asynchronous so students can access lectures whenever they are able. Elective courses offer a chance to tailor their studies to their interests and the university has innovative internship opportunities with entirely virtual internships. They also host web-based presentations from guest speakers and virtual research assistant opportunities. Students must complete the program within seven years, but may finish as early as two.

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  • Annual Tuition : $37,260
  • School Type : Non-Profit
  • Regional Accreditation : MSCHE

The Master of Science in Library and Information Science degree at St. John’s University is part of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The 36-unit program requires four core classes: Information Organization, Introduction to Library and Information Science, Information Sources and Services, and Research and Evaluation Methods. Students must also take one of two different management courses, depending on their degree focus. Advisors will help students pick seven elective classes that also align with their focus. Specializations in Academic Librarianship, Archival Studies, Law Librarianship, Public Librarianship, Special Librarianship, and Youth Services are offered. St. John’s also encourages students to develop their professional knowledge with internships, which they can help organize. Upon completion of course requirements, students will submit an electronic portfolio that serves as a final assessment piece.

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  • Annual Tuition : $16,382
  • School Type : Non-Profit
  • Regional Accreditation : MSCHE

Students at SUNY University at Buffalo must complete 36 units of classes in five years or less. Required core classes include Introduction to Library and Information Studies, Reference Sources and Services, and Management of Libraries and Information Agencies. Students must take an additional 21 units in elective classes, choosing from a lengthy selection that includes unique courses like Music Librarianship, Intellectual Freedom, and History of Libraries and Media. Various concentrations are available for students who want to follow a specific career path. Options include Collection Development, Law Librarianship, Music Librarianship, and Public or Academic Libraries, among others. Graduates with a M.S. in Information and Library Science have gone on to become archivists, fact checkers, information analysts, and researchers in addition to librarians.

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  • Annual Tuition : $17,965
  • School Type : Non-Profit
  • Regional Accreditation : SACS COC

Professionals looking to work in academic, public, corporate, or school libraries will enjoy the Master of Library Science program at Texas Woman’s University. The program requires 36 units with 21 being core classes, making it less customizable than many of the other programs. However, this makes it great for those who want to work in basic library settings. Required courses include Foundations of Library and Information Studies, Information Organization and Retrieval, Collection Development, and Library Management. A practicum course is also required to give students real-world experience. Electives make up 15 of the units—all that are left after finishing up the required classes. A final exam portfolio must be submitted to a committee before graduation as well.

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  • Annual Tuition : $23,950
  • School Type : Non-Profit
  • Regional Accreditation : SACS COC

The virtual Master of Library and Information Studies (MLIS) requires 36 units that can be completed in as little as three years; there are thesis and non-thesis options. Classes include live, web-based lectures that allow for discussion with classmates and professors. Students are required to earn at least a B average to graduate. Required courses include Organization of Information, Research Methods, and Information Technologies. An optional management component can be completed as well, which requires additional classes like Administration and Management, Academic Libraries, and School Media Centers. An in-person orientation is required, whether you are completing courses online or not. Aside from relevant courses, students in this program will have opportunities to make connections that encourage life-long learning and job mobility.

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  • Annual Tuition : $11,800
  • School Type : Non-Profit
  • Regional Accreditation : NCACSTHLC

The library science degree program at the University of Arizona prepares students not only for jobs in libraries but also to work in museums, archives and other information centers Earned through UA Online, the master’s program helps students prepare for work in a variety of environments. It requires 37 units, 15 of which are core classes like Foundations of Library and Information Services, Ethics for Library and Information Professionals, and an internship. The program also requires one class from each of the three elective categories: Cultural Perspectives on Libraries and Information, Evaluation of User Needs and Management of Information Services, and Information Technology and Networked Digital Information. Before graduating, students must also complete an electronic portfolio. The University of Arizona also offers an accelerated master’s program that allows students to finish both their bachelor’s and master’s degree in five years.

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Online Master's Degrees (1)

  • Annual Tuition : $21,192
  • School Type : Non-Profit
  • Regional Accreditation : SACS COC

Graduate students must complete only 36 units to earn a master’s degree at University of Kentucky. Students must take four core classes—Information in Society, Information Seeking, Retrieval & Services, Information Representation & Access, and Management in Library Science—plus two IT courses, two foundational courses and four electives. Students can complete various tracks, focusing on everything from academic libraries or youth services to information organization or health information. The program offers increased flexibility as students can complete coursework and watch lecture videos whenever they have the chance. Students can get in-state tuition rates for the virtual degree program, making it more affordable as well. One unique component of their master’s program is that web-based students may complete study abroad opportunities, something that isn’t usually offered to students completing the degree online.

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Online Master's Degrees (1)

  • Annual Tuition : $28,348
  • School Type : Non-Profit
  • Regional Accreditation : MSCHE

Whether you’re seeking a hybrid program or one that is entirely web-based, the University of Maryland offers a flexible Master of Library Science degree. Staff members teaching online courses are the same teaching in-class programs, with courses like Serving Information Needs and Achieving Organizational Excellence under their belt. Requirements include a minimum of 36 units and either a thesis or a field study. Students can choose from a variety of unique specialties, including Archives and Digital Curation, Community Analytics and Policy, Diversity and Inclusive, School Library, and Youth Experience. They also offer a dual degree in history that allows students to earn two master’s degrees simultaneously. This is of interest to students who want to work in historical research, museums, archives, or other history-related sectors.

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  • Annual Tuition : $20,180
  • School Type : Non-Profit
  • Regional Accreditation : SACS COC

Earn a Master of Library and Information Studies virtually through the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. In order to obtain the degree, students must complete a total of 36 hours. There are five core classes with an additional 19 units of electives required. Students will take courses like Foundations of Library and Information Studies, Information Organization and Access, and Library Administration and Management as well as a capstone course. There is an additional requirement for a technology course, but students can choose from four different options. Faculty is constantly researching, giving students the opportunity to jump in on research projects to add to their portfolio after graduation. The university also offers licensure programs, which require a practicum course that can benefit any student.

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Online Master's Degrees (1)

  • Annual Tuition : $27,106
  • School Type : Non-Profit
  • Regional Accreditation : MSCHE

Students completing their Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) online with the University of Pittsburgh must finish their courses in four years maximum, but most finish in two (full-time) or three (part-time). Lectures for each of the classes aren’t held at a specific time, but students are expected to finish coursework and activities by the deadline. The flexible program requires 36 units of classes, which include classes on understanding information, retrieving information, and managing libraries. Students may choose from various specialties— Archives and Information Science, Public Libraries, Academic Libraries, Information Technology, and Resources & Services for youth, health, or reference. Field experience is not required for all of the specializations, but it helps build students’ resumes and gives them experience in the real world so it is highly recommended by the department.

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  • Annual Tuition : $28,528
  • School Type : Non-Profit
  • Regional Accreditation : SACS COC

Aside from the nine units dedicated to required classes, 27 of the 36 units needed to earn a Master of Library and Information Science degree are customizable to the students’ interests, giving each student a whole lot of control over their education. The program is entirely online aside from internships and includes basic classes on library science and technology principles. Once the core classes are out of the way, students can choose unique and interestingly detailed topics like music libraries, digital archives, storytelling, government documents, and literature. If their advisor approves it, electives can even be from other departments—though it’s best to keep them related to what you want to do. Students will complete an electronic portfolio at the end of their program that demonstrates knowledge in information organization, information services, leadership, research, technology, and professional development through a resume and relevant work samples.

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  • Annual Tuition : $17,324
  • School Type : Non-Profit
  • Regional Accreditation : SACS COC

Together with electives, the 39-unit master’s program at the University of South Florida requires that students take courses in information science, research, library administration, collection development and maintenance, and organization of knowledge. Certain specializations like School Librarianship, Youth Services, and School Media Specialist require supervised fieldwork unless the student already has significant experience in a school library. Once all courses are complete, students must undergo a comprehensive exam to ensure the understanding and real world application of the degree program’s concepts. The exam consists of a written research paper. An unrelated electronic portfolio is also required prior to graduation. The school offers four major scholarships to graduate students in the School of Information, all for those seeking careers in libraries.

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  • Annual Tuition : $15,024
  • School Type : Non-Profit
  • Regional Accreditation : SACS COC

Although students must complete 40 units to earn a Master of Library and Information Science, they have up to five years to complete the degree requirements. Students will take courses like Reference and Information Sources, Cataloging and Classification, Collection Development and Management, and Library Management. A total of 15 units of electives must be taken in addition to the core classes, including one in technology. Students must also complete a research-heavy project and take a comprehensive exam before graduating. Field experience and internships are not required for the University of Southern Mississippi’s program, but they are recommended to enhance students’ portfolios and demonstrate real knowledge of the coursework. Instead of the standard program, students may choose to complete a dual program, where they can earn two degrees simultaneously. They can couple the library and information science degree with one in instructional technology, history, anthropology, or political science.

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  • Annual Tuition : $29,684
  • School Type : Non-Profit
  • Regional Accreditation : SACS COC

As with many of the other degree programs, the University of Tennessee - Knoxville requires 36 units. Only nine of those units are core classes, leaving plenty of options for student electives. The required classes are Information Environment, Information Representation and Organization, and Information Access and Retrieval. These classes need to be finished before moving on to electives, as they are prerequisites for the other information science courses. Though not required, faculty recommends that students take courses on research methods, management of organizations, and development of collections. Beyond that, students are able to pick and choose the classes that appeal to them and will benefit them the most. Students may pursue an optional minor in computational science as well, which teaches things like applied mathematics and computer science.

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Online Master's Degrees (1)

  • Annual Tuition : $31,971
  • School Type : Non-Profit
  • Regional Accreditation : NWCCU

Those interested in improving future libraries and instilling a love for books and research in other will relish the University of Washington’s degree program for library and information science. Even with online classes, the ratio of students to teachers is kept low so students are able to get their questions answered and to form relationships with peers and instructors. Coursework is completed entirely online and students need to take both core and elective classes before dealing with the culminating experience. Because the program is on the quarter system rather than semester, students will need 63 units to graduate. Required courses include Information Behavior, Information and Society, and Instructional and Training Strategies for Information Professionals. The program can be completed in three years or less and there is an on-campus orientation for online students prior to beginning classes.

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Online Master's Degrees (1)

  • Annual Tuition : $19,029
  • School Type : Non-Profit
  • Regional Accreditation : NCACSTHLC

This highly ranked university offers a flexible online program perfect for those looking to study library and information science. Specialties include Academic Libraries, Digital Libraries, Information Law, Policy & Ethics, Information Literacy, Public Libraries, and Special Libraries, giving students a chance to have a say in the courses they choose. The curriculum requires 36 units, including classes like Foundations of Library and Information Science, Organization of Information, and Information Access and Retrieval. Students must earn at least a B in core classes. After completing those and the elective courses, students must demonstrate their knowledge of the subject with either a thesis or capstone project. The Fieldwork course also gives students a chance to showcase what they’re learned during their time in the program and doubles as a chance to gain real experience to assist with the job search following graduation.

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  • Annual Tuition : $16,814
  • School Type : Non-Profit
  • Regional Accreditation : SACS COC

This virtual, non-thesis program is designed for those who can’t take time off from current jobs or family life to attend physical classes. With 39 required units, it teaches students everything they need to know to succeed in an evolving society. The curriculum focuses on administration, resources for clients, services in the knowledge society, and technical knowledge. Classes include things like Information Sources and Services, Management of Libraries and Information Centers, and Research Methods plus a capstone course that showcases what students have learned. Along the way, they will need to complete various projects and assessments referred to as SLOAs, or Student Learning Outcome Assessments. These include an Applied Library Experience Notebook (ALEN), a reference transactions assessment, an ethic project report, and a career e-portfolio website.

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Online Master's Degrees (1)

  • Annual Tuition : $23,714
  • School Type : Non-Profit
  • Regional Accreditation : NCACSTHLC

With master’s degree programs in Library Services and in Archives & Digital Content Management, it’s easy to customize your degree for your desired career field. Both programs require similar core classes, including Access to Information, Organization of Knowledge, Library Administration and Management, and Research in the Information Profession. Students can narrow down their degrees even more by choosing a specialization. The Library Science degree can be coupled with a specialization in Library Users and Communities, Library Tools and Resources, or Library Systems and Infrastructure. The Archives & Digital Content Management program offers a specialization in Archives or one in Digital Content Management. Each specialization comes with a different set of elective courses to choose from so students can choose the subjects that would benefit their future careers the most.

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Online Master's Degrees (1)

Licensing and Certification Process

Each state has different requirements that students must meet in order to receive licensure or certification. Many states require that students pursuing a career path as a school librarian receive licensure or certification as a teacher in an alternate subject in addition to obtaining certification as a librarian.

In general, students will pursue an accredited bachelor’s program prior to receiving certification. Depending on which state they live in, an application for licensure or certification may be available online. Students then submit the completed application and official transcripts to the certification commission in their state. Many states will accept library or teacher certifications from other states, but students who are planning on moving states should check with the certifying agency to verify that certificates are accepted or transferable. All prospective students are advised to contact their state’s education board to learn about specific certification or state licensing requirements and ensure that the program they choose is recognized by the state they wish to work in.

School librarians who wish to demonstrate their commitment to the profession and their expertise while possibly qualifying for salary increases might consider pursuing voluntary certification with the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards . Qualified applicants must pass a four-part evaluation process before they are granted a library media certification.

Careers in Library Science

While some online library science degrees provide a solid generalized education in the field, many others offer more specific areas of study for students who are seeking a more specialized career path. In either case, it’s important to know that there are many different job opportunities in the library science industry for students to choose. Here is a sampling of career paths that library science degrees can lead to:

  • Integrated Library System Administrator: This management-style position requires the individual to oversee all of the IT systems used by the library. Responsibilities can include managing internal server problems, website issues, interactive features, and more.
  • Web Archivist: Most libraries maintain a solid website presence that includes archives of all microfilms, records, documents, and more. A Web Archivist is responsible for transferring hard media into a digital form before uploading it to the library’s website for access by the public or other employees.
  • School Librarian: In addition to assisting students with their academic and research needs, a School Librarian may oversee students’ access to videos, computers, and other resources.
  • Web Services Librarian: A Web Services Librarian leads the management, design, and vision of a library’s website to meet the needs of its users, whether staff, faculty, or students of the university or school. This role may work to improve user experience and conduct analysis of the website taxonomy.
  • Director of Content Acquisition: This role focuses on the accumulation, purchasing, and sharing of resources. Individuals in this position are responsible for locating and obtaining documents, books, and other materials to add to the library as well as overseeing the archiving, cataloging, and availability of those materials.
  • Library Director: The Library Director is usually the top leadership position. This person oversees and prepares the budget, makes strategic plans, develops policies for service and employment, and organizes fundraisers.

References

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