Florida Masters in Library Science
The modern librarian is an expert in information science, helping students, visitors and others access all manner of information. They can work in a variety of fields, including in schools and public libraries, of course, but also in law, medical and other specialty libraries.
Pursuing a career in library and information science, regardless of the job title, will most likely mean earning a master’s degree in the field. Let’s take a look at the programs available for this industry in Florida and what students need to know about them, as well as how the employment picture appears for these professionals in Florida.
Florida Master of Library Science Programs
While a master’s in library science continues to be the standard for professional librarians, many colleges and universities offer alternative degrees that could also provide the educational foundation of a successful career.
SEE ALSO: Top Online Library Science Programs
Possible master’s degrees in library science or related fields include Master of Library Science (MLS), Master of Science in Library Science (MS), Master of Information Science (MIS), Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) or Master of Science in Information (MSI). All programs are a little bit different, but library and information science students who are planning on careers as professional or school librarians should plan to attend a program that’s accredited by the American Library Association (ALA).
ALA accreditation is required for many school librarian positions, and it’s strongly recommended for most other librarian positions. In the state of Florida, two library science programs have earned ALA accreditation.
Let’s take a closer look at the schools and their offerings.
Florida State University
- Institution type: Public
- Delivery method: Online (except Ph.D. program)
- Main campus: Tallahassee
- Master’s tuition: $544.46-$579.32/semester hour in-state depending on county of residence; $1,175.66/semester hour out-of-state
- Degrees offered: Master of Science in Information (ALA-accredited), Ph.D. in Information, Specialist in Information
- Graduate certificates offered: Health Informatics, Reference Services, School Librarian Leadership, Information Leadership & Management
Florida State’s Master of Science in Information (MSI) is the flagship information science master’s offering at FSU, and the program requires completion of 36 semester hours. In those hours, students can choose to craft a specialty focus area from a list of possibilities that includes general librarianship, health informatics, informational organization, reference services and more.
MSI students also have the option to complete a thesis as part of their course of study, though it’s not mandatory. Students also can choose to pursue a joint JD/MS in information, which can lead to positions in law libraries and other areas dealing with legal information.
University of South Florida
- Institution type: Public
- Delivery method: Online
- Main campus: Tampa
- Master’s tuition: $347.91 per credit hour (in-state and out-of-state)
- Degrees offered: Master of Arts in Library and Information Science (MLIS), Master of Science in Intelligence Studies (MS)
- Graduate certificates offered: Intelligence Studies, Cyber Intelligence
USF’s Master of Arts in Library and Information Science requires 39 semester hours of coursework offering a fully online format. An optional educational path in school library/media specialist leads to certification through the Florida Department of Education.
About three-quarters of students complete their degrees in 1-3 years, with only 3% taking more than five years, according to the university’s most recent exit surveys of MLIS graduates.
Florida Library Science Outlook
The average librarian in Florida makes about $56,150 per year, which is just below the national average of $58,000, according to data published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Those working in schools can expect to earn a bit less than that, with the average educational library worker earning about $47,000 in Florida.
These statewide averages don’t always hold up across the state, though, as several cities and metro areas have much higher average salaries than Florida overall. The Naples metro area, which includes Immolakee and Marco Island, has an average annual salary for librarians of more than $77,000, while librarians in Gainesville earn an average of just under $66,000 per year. The highest city-wide average for school and educational library workers is the $52,500 average in the Orlando metro area, which also covers Kissimmee and Sanford.
Job openings for librarians are expected to grow rapidly in Florida over the better part of the next decade, according to Department of Labor data. In fact, Florida ranks No. 7 nationally thanks to the 8% growth rate expected for librarian employment through 2028. This compares to an overall national projected expansion of about 5%.
School-based library worker positions should grow even more rapidly than that, with those jobs having a projected growth rate through 2028 of more than 17% in Florida, which puts Florida in fourth place compared to the other states and D.C.
The amount of information in the world rises exponentially every year, expanding by the moment. For individuals with a passion for helping others understand and find the information they need to broaden their horizons, Florida has multiple educational opportunities that can set a person out on the right foot professionally.