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Even if you feel a calling to work in the field of library and information science, it’s natural to want to know what kind of salary you might earn in this field. After all, you need to earn a bachelor’s degree, then a master’s degree and, in some states, even a professional certification just to be qualified for the occupation. Before you invest the time and tuition dollars needed to earn your online master’s degree from one of the top library science graduate degrees, you want to know that your education will pay off and that you’ll be able to earn a living doing what you love. Librarian and related careers may not be among the most lucrative job prospects, but the wages for these positions are still a great deal higher than the median salary for all occupations.
Overall, librarians in America earn a median salary of $57,680 per year, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported. That’s tens of thousands of dollars higher than the median wage for all occupations, $37,040.
Where you work plays a big role in determining your earning potential as a librarian. Librarians working at colleges and universities have the highest rate of pay. These librarians earn $61,540 per year. The next best paid librarians work in elementary and secondary schools and earn a median salary of $59,510 per year, according to the BLS. On the lower end of the salary spectrum are librarians who work in the information industry, in which the median wage is $54,050, and those who work for the local government, earning a median wage of $52,000. One factor that may bring down the salary for librarians is work schedule. Close to 20 percent of librarians work part-time, the BLS reported. Naturally, they often earn less than their full-time counterparts would. However, many librarians belong to a union and enjoy the employment protections that go along with union membership, according to the BLS.
Wages for Other Information Services Professionals
Librarian is far from the only career you can pursue with a Master of Library Science degree. The School of Information Studies at Syracuse University listed upwards of 60 possible job opportunities available to graduates of library and information science programs that don’t fit into the librarian category.
Archivists, for example, preserve historical documents and earn a median wage of $50,500, the BLS reported. Database administrators, who store and organize information and records in a secure computer-based database system, earn a median salary of $84,950 per year, according to the BLS. As these salaries illustrate, some of the jobs you can get with a library science degree pay more than others – including traditional librarian roles – while other positions have a lower earning potential. Making sure that you earn your degree from a program that is accredited by the American Library Association can help you improve your earning potential. So can cultivating experience in the field of library and information science in which you want to work.
Of course, salary is only one part of the equation when it comes to choosing a career. The best librarians enjoy helping people, using technology and researching and organizing information, so they find their work itself – not just the paycheck – fulfilling.