Massachusetts Masters in Library Science
Today’s librarian is a master of information science with the training to help students, visitors, businesses and others access a huge range of data and information. These professionals can find jobs in a variety of areas; public libraries and schools, of course, but also specialty libraries and even corporate America.
A successful career in library and information science typically kicks off with a master’s degree. Let’s take a look at what library and information science students in Massachusetts need to know about their educational options and what job market might await them when they’ve earned their degree.
Massachusetts Library Science Programs
Earning a master’s degree is generally considered the best way to become qualified for librarian positions, particularly those within schools. But that doesn’t mean there’s only one potential degree to earn. In fact, the truth is quite the opposite, and chances are good that whatever an individual’s interest area, there’s a master’s degree in library science or informatics that applies.
Still, a few degrees tend to be more popular. Those 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).
Prospective library and information science students hoping for 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, as well as many museums and other specialty library positions.
Massachusetts is home to one ALA-approved library science graduate program, so let’s take a look at what students need to know about it.
- Institution type: Private
- Delivery method: Traditional or hybrid
- Campus: Boston
- Master’s tuition: $21,818
- Degrees offered: Master of Library and Information Science, MA/MS Children’s Literature/Library Services to Children, MA/MS Archives Management/History, PhD in Library and Information Science
- Graduate certificates offered: Archives Management, School Library Teacher, Inter-Professional Informationist
Simmons University offers the only MLIS in Massachusetts, and the degree is the flagship offering of the School of Library and Information Science. Students can earn their degree entirely online, or they can opt for a hybrid approach.
Several dual degree options are available, and concentrations for the MLIS include archives management, cultural heritage, information science and technology and school library teacher. Many of those concentrations also are available as graduate certificates.
Almost all students complete their degree within three years, with 42% finishing the program in just two years.
Massachusetts Library Science Outlook
On average, librarians and media collections specialists in Massachusetts earn just over $72,000, which is the sixth-highest average in the country. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the commonwealth also ranks No. 3 for its average wage for educational library occupations, $70,560. Only New York and D.C. have higher average wages for those jobs.
Across the commonwealth, wages for librarians are highest on average in Boston, where these professionals can expect to make just under $75,000 on average. Wages are lowest for librarians in Pittsfield, where they make just under $59,000. Boston also has the highest average salary rate for library workers in educational settings, about $71,000.
Massachusetts is expected to see slower-than-average growth in these jobs over the next several years. The U.S. Department of Labor reports that job openings for librarians and media collections specialists will expand by about 4.2% through 2028, which is slower than the growth rate expected for all U.S. librarian job openings, 6.4%.
Growth in educational library worker job openings is expected to be even slower. Those jobs are projected to grow by only 3% compared to the national rate of 5.4% expected for such openings.
As the sheer volume of information in the world continues to expand by the day, the need for qualified professionals who can help others navigate the details of data and knowledge should continue to grow. Fortunately for those in Massachusetts, the career outlook is one of the best in the country.