Pennsylvania Masters in Library Science Degrees
Librarians today need to be deeply connected to all manners of information gathering, which requires them to be experts in information science. Library and information science degrees can lead to a variety of careers, including librarian positions, but people with these degrees can work in a range of other jobs as well.
Pursuing a library and information science career usually means earning a master’s degree in the field. Let’s check out the colleges and universities offering these degrees in Pennsylvania, as well as what professionals can expect in terms of salaries in the commonwealth.
Master of Library Science Degree Programs in Pennsylvania
While librarian is the most obvious job title for a person who earns a master’s degree in library science, it’s not the only one. As such, there are many degree options in the field, each with a slightly different focus.
Possible graduate degrees in information and library science 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).
The ideal program will depend on many factors, but earning a degree from a program that’s accredited by the American Library Association may be a prerequisite for most careers in library science. It’s often required by state licensure rules, and the ALA’s stamp of approval is a key shorthand to verifying certain basic educational standards.
Fortunately for students in Pennsylvania, three universities offer ALA-accredited library science degrees. Let’s take a closer look at the institutions and what they offer students.
- Institution type: Public
- Delivery method: Online (MSLS)
- Campus: Clarion
- Total expected tuition: $18,576 (online tuition same for in-state and out-of-state)
- Degrees offered: Master of Science in Information and Library Science, MSLS/JD (Widener University School of Law)
- Graduate certificates offered: Library science
Clarion’s Master of Science in Information and Library Science is unique among publicly funded colleges and universities in Pennsylvania, being the first of its kind in the commonwealth, and it recently shifted to an entirely online delivery method. Optional focus areas for the MSLS degree include local and archival studies, reference and user services and school library media.
Students also can pursue a joint law and library sciences degree that’s offered in partnership with Widener University’s law school.
- Institution type: Private
- Delivery method: Both
- Main campus: Philadelphia
- Total expected tuition cost: $60,390
- Degrees offered: Master of Science in Information-Library & Information Science
- Graduate certificates offered: Community-based librarianship
Drexel University’s Master of Science in Information degree offers a major in library and information science, and the program first earned ALA accreditation in 1924. Students can earn their degree in a variety of delivery methods, including full time, part time, on campus or online.
Possible dual degrees include a dual Master of Science in Library and Information Science and Information Systems.
University of Pittsburgh
- Institution type: Public
- Delivery method: Both (MLIS)
- Campus: Pittsburgh
- Master’s tuition: $36,814 (online, in-state and out-of-state)
- Degrees offered: Master of Library and Information Science, Master of Information Science, PhD in Library and Information Science
- Graduate certificates offered: Information science
Pitt’s School of Computing and Information offers a Master of Library and Information Science that can be earned through traditional or online formats. Students can also carve their own unique path by combining online education with some on-campus experiences.
Pitt also offers a Ph.D. in Library and Information Science, though that degree can’t be completed online.
Pennsylvania Library Sciences Salaries & Job Outlook
In Pennsylvania, the average librarian and media collections specialist can expect to make just over $57,000 per year, which is almost identical to the national average for these workers of about $58,000, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. Unlike most states, however, Pennsylvania has a higher average wage for school- and educational institution-based library workers, who earn just under $62,000 in the commonwealth. This is high enough to put Pennsylvania at No. 8 for school library worker wages.
The highest average annual wage for librarians in Pennsylvania is in the York area, where a typical librarian can expect to earn about $67,000. Pittsburgh has the highest average salary for library workers in educational and school settings, and these professionals earn about $65,000 in that city.
On the other end of the spectrum, Johnstown is home to the lowest average wage for librarians and media collections specialists, while library workers in educational settings earn their lowest salaries in Altoona.
Job openings for librarians, both school-based and otherwise, are expected to grow modestly in Pennsylvania over the next several years. According to a U.S. Department of Labor database, employment rates for librarians are expected to rise by 3.5% in Pennsylvania through 2028. This is slower than the growth rate for all American librarians, which is pegged at 6.4%.
Library workers in schools and other educational settings have a slightly brighter outlook in Pennsylvania, with employment projected to grow by 8%, compared to the national rate for these workers of 5.7%.
The field of information and library science is evolving constantly, and for Pennsylvania students who want to be sure they are at the forefront of this change, pursuing a master’s degree in the field can be an ideal option.