Georgia Masters in Library Science
Though the origins of the field are certainly rooted in the past, today’s librarians need to be masters of informatics of all types. Librarians, media collections specialists and others in related fields can work in schools or public libraries, but they can also work in specialty information environments or in private industry.
A successful career in library and information science, whatever the job title, usually means completing a graduate degree in the chosen field. Let’s take a look at what students in Georgia should know about the education available in the state and what they can expect upon graduation.
Georgia Library Science Programs
The ideal degree will usually depend on each individual’s dream job, but the standard in the field remains a master’s in library science. However, technological innovation has brought new degree options, while many universities offer the chance of earning dual degrees in a range of areas.
Potential master’s degrees in library science, informatics and related areas include Master of Library Science (MLS), Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS), Master of Science in Library Science (MS), Master of Information Science (MIS) or Master of Science in Information (MSI).
Each program is a bit different, but it’s particularly important for students who are planning on pursuing careers in schools, museums or libraries to be sure they attend a program that’s earned accreditation by the American Library Association (ALA). In most cases, the licensure necessary to work in schools means getting an ALA-accredited degree, while most private employers prefer these degrees as well.
In Georgia, only one school offers an ALA-accredited master’s degree in the field, so let’s explore what students need to know about this program.
Valdosta State University
- Institution type: Public
- Delivery method: Online
- Campus: Valdosta
- Total expected tuition: $11,427
- Degree offered: Master of Library and Information Science
- Graduate certificate offered: Media Specialist
Valdosta State offers Georgia’s only ALA-approved graduate program in library and information science. The degree is earned entirely online, and students aren’t required to complete a thesis to earn their degree, both factors that could make it ideal for working professionals.
The university’s MLIS program is considered a general library and information science program, and though students can select certain electives that interest them over the course of their education, it’s ideal for those hoping for traditional librarian careers, whether in school, public or specialty library settings.
While the only master’s degree on offer is the MLIS, those who already have master’s degrees in the field or a related one can pursue an add-on certification in School Library Media.
Georgia Library Science Outlook
Librarians and media collections specialists in Georgia earn an average annual salary of about $62,000, which is higher than the overall national average of $58,000, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Like most states, library workers whose jobs are based in schools and other educational institutions have lower average wages; these professionals in Georgia earn an average of about $52,000.
The average wage for librarians and media collections specialists in Georgia is highest in Brunswick ($69,000), while the Columbus area, which includes portions of Alabama, is second at about $67,000. Gainesville has the lowest annual average salary for librarians in the state — $54,060. The Athens-Clarke metro area, home to the main campus of the University of Georgia, offers the highest average wage for library workers in educational institutions, about $71,000.
Exceptionally rapid growth is expected for librarian employment in Georgia over the next several years. In fact, according to Department of Labor data, Georgia is projected to have the third-highest rate of growth for librarian employment and the sixth-highest rate for educational library employees.
Employment rates for librarians and media collections specialists are expected to rise by 16.8% through 2028, while rates for educational library workers are projected to increase by a nearly identical percentage, 16%.
In our information age, the need for trained professionals who can help others access and understand the ever-increasing totality of human knowledge will keep growing. Fortunately for students and professionals in Georgia, the employment outlook is one of the best in the nation.