Librarianship, as a career, usually offers good job security and fair pay, which is why it’s been a popular career for quite some time. The current average salary for librarians is $55,000 (according to info from the Bureau of Labor Statistics), but those who are within the top 10% make an average of $80,000. It’s fair to assume that most of them hold a Master in Library Science (MLS).
After a Master in Library Science, you’ll need to find a job. How much you will earn depends mostly on where you are hired. In this article, we will explore the best careers you can follow as a librarian if you hold a Master in Library Science, which gives you the qualifications needed to handle these jobs.
First of all, you need to know a few details in order to understand how to have a good career in librarianship:
- Volunteer experience: Most of the librarians who have made the best careers out there had a lot of volunteer experiences and/or internships, at the very beginning. You should never forget that the librarian market is highly competitive. Sometimes, even a Master in Library Science is not sufficient to make sure you will find a good job. These kinds of work experiences in librarianship help a lot in achieving your goal.
- Location: It helps a lot to find out which parts of the country have the higher salaries/cost of living ratio and find a job there. You can also consider the school system funds that are available in some parts of the country compared to others.
- Public or Private: Private institutions tend to pay more than public ones.
Careers for a Librarian
Now, let’s find out which are the four top careers you can pursue as a librarian!
1. Federal Government Librarian
All government agencies have their libraries: Library of Congress, Air Force Materiel Command, Office of the Secretary of Health & Human Services, National Archives, and so on. To be considered for a position at a federal library, you’ll require a Master in Library Science.
With sufficient education and experience, it’s possible to earn as much as $70,000 per year. Take into account that these positions are very competitive, and you’ll definitely need a good education and ample experience. If you’ve also volunteered in a library setting, even better.
2. University Librarian
If you’d like to follow a career as a librarian dedicated to education, you should know that in job positions at colleges and universities, you will probably earn considerably more than job positions in secondary or primary schools. The average salary for job positions at universities is $61,000 per year.
This is obviously due to the fact that universities have a higher budget than most school systems. Jobs at universities are also competitive, and you’ll be expected to have a Master in Library Science to work there.
3. Special Librarian
Some institutions, such as hospitals, medical schools, corporations, or other kinds of entities, require particular libraries that need sorting and management. This job is usually taken by a librarian and is another good career you could follow, with an average salary of $56,000 a year. For this position, you must have a good academic background in the specific kind of library that you are applying to work at.
For example, if you are looking to get a position in a legal library, you would need experience in Law, and possibly even a degree in public policy or political science. Or, on the other hand, if what you are trying to get is a job in the library of a medical school, you may need some kind of degree in life science.
As a curator, you would be responsible for highly regarded historic artifacts or relevant collections of artwork. Curators can work at the most varied places, such as aquariums, museums, zoos, historical sites or botanical gardens. The average salary for these jobs is $49,000 in a year.
Additionally, it is possible, though unlikely, that a Master in Library Science is also required for these kinds of jobs. Furthermore, this career is thought to grow an impressive 16% in only four years, so it may be an interesting alternative for you to consider.