North Carolina Masters in Library Science

Their career origins may be ancient, but the modern librarian is expected to be an expert in helping people find the information they need across a range of modern delivery systems. Librarians and information science professionals can work in a range of fields beyond libraries and schools, though these are still the two most obvious places to find work.

A successful career in information science or librarianship usually means earning a master’s degree. Let’s check out the educational options in North Carolina and what students should know about the job market they’re likely to face upon graduation.

North Carolina Master of Library Science Programs

A master’s in library science is considered the standard for professional librarians, but many colleges and universities have continued to evolve in terms of the diversity of library science degrees they offer.

Degrees that are common 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).

SEE ALSO: Best Online Masters in Library Science Degrees

While each program is a bit different, people who are planning on careers in libraries, museums or schools would be well-advised to limit their search to programs that have been accredited by the American Library Association (ALA). That’s because ALA accreditation may be required by state law, and it’s strongly preferred by employers regardless of the law.

The good news for library and information science students in North Carolina is that the state is home to four ALA-accredited library science programs. Let’s take a look at the details of each.

East Carolina University

  • Institution type: Public
  • Delivery method: Online
  • Campus: Greenville
  • Total expected tuition: $9,711 in-state; $34,827 out-of-state
  • Degrees offered: Master of Library Science

East Carolina’s Master of Library Science degree is offered entirely online, and students can select a special focus area from a list of three possibilities — school library media, public library and academic library.

All graduates of the program are qualified to earn public librarian certification in the state of North Carolina.

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University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill

  • Institution type: Public
  • Delivery method: Traditional
  • Campus: Chapel Hill
  • Master’s tuition: $12,526 in-state; $30,252 out-of-state
  • Degrees offered: Master of Science in Library Science, Master of Science in Information Science, PhD in Information and Library Sciences, MSLS/MA in Art History, MSLS/Master of Public Administration, MSLS/Master in Health Policy and Administration, MSLS/JD, MSLS/MA in Public History
  • Graduate certificates offered: Data curation, school library media coordinator

UNC’s main branch in Chapel Hill is home to a Master of Science in Library Science that’s set on the 230-year-old campus. A broad range of specializations are available — academic libraries, adult services in public libraries, archives and records management, children and youth services, digital libraries, organization of information and materials, reference, school library media coordinator and special libraries and knowledge management.

Students also can opt for an ALA-accredited Master of Science in Information Science or a Professional Science Master’s degree in Digital Curation and Management.

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University of North Carolina-Greensboro

  • Institution type: Public
  • Delivery method: Online or hybrid
  • Campus: Greensboro
  • Total expected tuition: $11,519 in-state online; $20,729 out-of-state online
  • Degrees offered: Master of Library and Information Science
  • Graduate certificates offered: School library licensure, computer education, school library supervisor licensure

The University of North Carolina’s Greensboro campus is home to a Master of Library and Information Science degree that can be earned online or in a hybrid format that allows for some on-campus interaction.

Students can earn school library licensure as part of their degree or through a standalone program, or they can consider specialty areas like archives, cataloging, digital collections and more.

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North Carolina Central University

  • Institution type: Public
  • Delivery method: Online
  • Campus: Durham
  • Total expected tuition: $9,828 in-state; $33,156 out-of-state
  • Degrees offered: Master of Library Science, Master of Information Science
  • Graduate certificates offered: E-learning instructor, digital librarianship

North Carolina Central University, an HBCU that’s part of the University of North Carolina system, is home to an ALA-accredited Master of Library Science that’s earned entirely online, as well as a Master of Information Science, though that degree isn’t ALA-accredited.

MLS students can opt for a general course of study, or they can pursue specialized education in a variety of areas, including academic librarianship, archives and records management, digital, law, public or special librarianship or school media coordinator.

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North Carolina Library Science Outlook

On average, librarians and media specialists in North Carolina earn just under $57,000 per year, which is in the range of the overall national average for librarian salaries, which is about $58,000. But, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, library workers whose jobs are based in educational settings make far less, with the average worker earning just over $51,000 per year.

The Durham-Chapel Hill area has the highest average annual salary rate for librarians and media collections specialists, with the typical professional earning about $64,570. Raleigh is close behind with an average salary of $64,370. For educational institution-based library workers, wages are highest in Greenville, where the average person earns nearly $75,000, while Durham-Chapel Hill is a close second with an average salary that’s a touch under $74,000.

SEE ALSO: National Masters in Librarian Science Salary Outlook

Librarians both inside and outside of educational settings can expect to see healthy job growth over the next several years, according to data from the U.S. Department of Labor. Federal data indicates that employment for librarians and media collections specialists should rise by nearly 6% through 2028, which is higher than the overall growth rate for all jobs a bit under the 6.4% expected for all librarians in the U.S.

Similarly, educational institution library workers should see opportunities grow by nearly 7%, which is faster than the national average for these workers of about 5.7%.

Conclusion

As human understanding continues to advance and the sheer volume of knowledge grows, the demand for trained professionals who can help others find and understand information will keep growing in North Carolina and beyond.

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Sarah J

Sarah J is Chief Editor and Founder at MastersinLibraryScience.net, formerly LibraryScienceList.com (LSL). Join us today and become a community curator. We can also be found on Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook. Learn more about me on Google+