Washington Masters in Library Science
Today’s average librarian is more than a book lover who prefers quiet. The modern librarian is an information scientist who can help people access a diverse range of information types. Depending on their educational background and interests, they can work in a variety of fields, including in schools and public libraries, of course, but also in museums or law, medical and specialty libraries.
Establishing a career in library and information science will most likely mean earning a master’s degree in the field. Let’s check out the educational options available for students in Washington as well as exploring what the job market looks like for the next few years.
Washington Master of Library Science Programs
Which degree or educational program is right depends on many individual factors. The standard degree in the field is a master’s in library science, but many options exist beyond that, and chances are good that there’s a degree option available that speaks to each person’s goals and interests.
The list of available master’s degrees in library science, information science and related areas is a lengthy one. But a handful are considered the most widely available. These are Master of Library Science (MLS), Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS), Master of Science in Library Science (MS), Master of Information Science (MIS) and Master of Science in Information (MSI).
SEE ALSO: Best Online Library Science Programs
If you’re planning for a career in schools, museums or public libraries, it’s probably wise to limit your search to programs accredited by American Library Association (ALA). The licensure that’s typically required for jobs in schools or public libraries means getting an ALA-accredited degree, and most private employers strongly favor these candidates as well.
In Washington, only one school offers an ALA-accredited master’s degree, so let’s explore what students need to know about this program.
University of Washington
- Institution type: Public
- Delivery method: Traditional and online
- Campus: Seattle
- Total expected tuition: $53,235
- Degrees offered: Master of Library and Information Science, MLIS in Law Librarianship, PhD in Information Science
- Graduate certificates offered: School library media endorsement
In addition to being the only ALA-accredited option in the state, the University of Washington’s MLIS is widely considered one of the best in the country. Giving students the option to earn their degrees on campus or online, virtual students in the Seattle area also can opt to attend some classes on campus if they want to.
The highly rated MLIS program is bolstered by an MLIS in law librarianship that’s widely considered the very best in the country, though it’s only available to graduates of JD programs. An endorsement in school library media enables graduates to work in K-12 educational settings.
Washington Library Science Outlook
The average librarian in Washington makes nearly $74,000 per year, which is well above the national average for these workers, which is about $58,000. In fact, according to data published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average wage for librarians in Washington is No. 4 in the country. Educational library workers have slightly lower wages ($58,000), which is typical for most states.
Librarians and media collections specialists in the Seattle area have the highest average wage, which should come as no surprise since Seattle is not only the biggest city in the state, but it’s one of the most expensive cities to live in the U.S. On average, librarians in the Seattle area, which includes Tacoma and Bellevue, make just over $78,000 per year. Not far behind is Bellingham, where the average librarian wage is about $77,000.
Data for the state of Washington on employment rate growth for library workers, both those based in schools and others, was not available. But these workers are all expected to see better-than-average growth when compared to all U.S. workers.
Librarians and media collections specialists are expected to see job openings grow by 6.4% through 2028, while educational and training library workers are projected to see openings expand by 5.7%. All jobs in the U.S. are expected to expand by about 5% in that time, according to the Department of Labor data.
The need for professionals who can help people access and make sense of the growing expanse of human knowledge will only rise as the information age continues. Fortunately for students and professionals in Washington, the present and future of employment in the state both look to be bright.