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2021 Library Science Degree Guide

Library Science majors study the science of information: they learn how to classify, catalog, store and retrieve vast amounts of data. A major in this field of study can be very valuable in the information age. How do you know if the information that is found is reliable and accurate? What type of resource is acceptable for a research paper? Librarians are the people we turn to for answers to these questions.

In your Library Science courses you will deal with many types of media such as books, academic journals, data bases, magazines, newspapers, and websites. Your classes will teach you how to catalogue and classify materials, analyze literature, conduct and write research papers, and develop databases of information.

A Recent Jump in Library Science Degrees

#35 Most Popular Major
6.2k Degrees Awarded
3.4% Increase in Graduates

Library Science was the 35th most popular major in the 2018-2019 school year. Colleges in the United States reported awarding 6,204 degrees in this year alone. This represents a 3.4% increase in library science degrees awarded over the prior year's total of 5,996.

There are 36 schools offering degrees in library science in the United States. Explore this or one of our many other custom library science rankings further below.

What Are The Requirements For a Degree in Library Science

If your end goal is becoming a librarian you should be prepared to work with all different types of people. Being patient and caring will help you as you assist everyone from young children to retired adults find the books or information they are looking for.

Librarian Science majors should also be comfortable working with technology. Librarians need to be constantly learning and adapting to changes in technology. Data bases will become more advanced and online resources more adept. Librarians should be able to determine which websites are academically accurate and which ones can be ignored.

Librarians are organized, creative and detail oriented. Be ready to think of new ways to find information, as well as design displays and run programs to generate interest in the library. You will develop advanced communication skills in writing, reading, and speaking.

Library Science Degree Program Entry Requirements

New students will need to have completed high school or a GED program and each school will have their own minimum GPA and SAT/ACT test requirements. Once you obtain your degree, additional library science certifications required to pursue a career in this field.

Library Science Degree Types

There are various different levels of library science degrees. You can spend many years getting as high as a research / scholarship based doctorate's in library science to something that takes less time like a associate's. The type of library science degree you choose will determine how long it takes to get your diploma.

Degree Credit Requirements Typical Program Length
Associate Degree 60-70 credits 2 years
Bachelor’s Degree 120 credits 4 years
Master’s Degree 50-70 credits 1-3 years
Doctorate Program required coursework including thesis or dissertation At least 4 years

A bachelor's degree is the most common level of education achieved by those in careers related to library science, with approximately 38.0% of workers getting one. See the the most common levels of education for library science workers below.

Level of Education Percentage of Workers
Bachelor’s Degree 35.9%
Master’s Degree 32.3%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 8.0%
Doctoral Degree 6.2%
Post-Secondary Certificate 4.4%

About 79.2% of workers in careers related to library science obtain at least bachelor's degree. See the chart below for the most common degree level workers in library science have received.


The education level required is different depending on the library science career you are seeking.

Career Opportunities for Library Science Majors

Average Number of Jobs
$41.6k Average Starting Salary
8% Growth Job Outlook 2016-26

In order to become a certified librarian you must obtain your Masters in Library Science. Librarians are found in elementary school, college and public libraries, but also work for law firms, scientific industries and government agencies. You may become a library technician without a master's degree, but the pay is not as high.

Competition for librarian jobs is high. Due to funding cuts, libraries are reducing staff size and cutting back on hours of operation. Specializing in research may give you an advantage over other applicants for jobs in college libraries or in fields like market research. Other students may choose to pursue other careers in education, law, politics or government work.

Solid Growth Projected for Library Science Careers

Want a job when you graduate with your library science degree? Library Science careers are expected to grow 8.3% between 2016 and 2026.

The following options are some of the most in-demand careers related to library science.

Occupation Name Projected Jobs Expected Growth
Managers 1,071,700 8.0%
Librarians 150,600 9.0%
Library Technicians 108,200 9.1%
Archivists 7,800 14.7%
Library Science Professors 6,500 8.3%

Library Science Degree Salary Potential

Recently graduated library science students earned an average of $41,633 in 2017-2018. Earnings can range from as low as $23,400 to as high as $60,000. As you might expect, salaries for library science graduates vary depending on the level of education that was acquired.


Highest Paid Library Science Careers

Salaries for library science graduates can vary widely by the occupation you choose as well. The following table shows the top 5 highest paying careers library science grads often go into.

Occupation Name Median Average Salary
Managers $115,590
Library Science Professors $75,450
Librarians $61,530
Archivists $56,400
Library Technicians $36,080

Getting Your Library Science Degree

With over 261 different library science degree programs to choose from, finding the best fit for you can be a challenge. Fortunately you have come to the right place. We have analyzed all of these schools to come up with hundreds of unbiased library science school rankings to help you with this.

Library Science Majors to Study

Major Annual Graduates
Library & Information Science 5,643
Library & Archives Assisting 422
Other Library & Archives Assisting 139

View All Library Science Related Majors >

Related Major Annual Graduates
Education 306,739
Social Sciences 203,399
Psychology 177,655
Communication & Journalism 122,154
Family, Consumer & Human Sciences 59,281

View All Library Science Related Majors >


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