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2021 Library & Information Science Degree Guide

Librarians are essential tools for research. They help students and the general public find books, magazines, articles and resources, while providing education on writing, plagiarism and properly referencing sources.

Many students are attracting to this field due to their love of reading. While this major will involve literature classes, you will also be learning how to develop and work with data bases, as well as how to organize, store and retrieve information. Some of the classes you will take are library media methods, resources for young adults, storytelling, cataloging and classification, collection development, and literature.

Concentrations in this major include: Library and Information Science; Children and Youth Library Services; Archives Administration; Library and Science Administration; and Library and Archives Assisting.

Library & Information Science Degrees On The Rise

#124 Most Popular Major
5.2k Degrees Awarded
2.1% Increase in Graduates

In 2018-2019, library and information science was the 124th most popular major nationwide with 5,217 degrees awarded. This represents a 2.1% increase in library science degrees awarded over the prior year's total of 5,107.

There are 11 schools offering degrees in library and information science in the United States. Continue reading to check out one of our many unbiased rankings of library science programs later in this article.

Requirements for Getting a Degree in Library & Information Science

Successful students in this field tend to be very organized people. Students should be resourceful and creative as they will be employed in a variety of tasks from day to day. Public speaking skills will help you as a professional leading a workshop for different groups such as writing a resume or avoiding plagiarism. These workshops will help you stay proficient with your skills and will allow you to be confident in your teaching.

Loving books and technology is only part of the major. You should also enjoy working with people of all ages. Depending on your specialization, you could be working with students as young as 4, college students or retired adults. This is a career that involves continual learning. Professionals will need to stay current with understanding data bases and technology.

It will also be helpful to work with students either as a coach, tutor, or camp counselor to practice talking to and explaining things to children. To get experience in the field, you should work as a volunteer or a staff member in the library. This will give you a better understanding of the inner workings of a library.

Prior Education for a Library Science Program

A high school diploma or equivalent is typically required for most library science degree programs and many students will need a minimum GPA and SAT/ACT score depending on the school. In addition to these basic library and information science program qualifications, to serve in some library science careers, special certification may be required outside of your degree.

Types of Library & Information Science Degrees

There are various different levels of library science degrees. You can get anything from a in library and information science to the highest library science degree, a . Different library and information science degrees vary in how long they take.

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 39.2% of workers getting one. See the the most common levels of education for library science workers below.

Level of Education Percentage of Workers
Master’s Degree 37.0%
Bachelor’s Degree 36.8%
Doctoral Degree 7.1%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 5.0%
Post-Master’s Certificate 3.0%

Most workers in library science have at least a bachelor's degree. View the chart below to get an idea of what degree level most of those in library and information science careers have.


This of course varies depending on which library science career you choose.

Career Opportunities for Library Science Majors

Average Number of Jobs
$41.5k Average Starting Salary
8% Growth Job Outlook 2016-26

To be certified in library science you must pursue a Master's Degree. Otherwise you will only be qualified to work as a school librarian or a librarian technician. A library technician is essential to help keep the library running smoothly, but do not get paid as much as librarians. Careers as librarians and library technician are growing slowly, and competition may be high. Those willing to move may have better chances of finding work in their field. However, the skills learned in this major can also be used in a variety of other professions, like education.

Solid Growth Projected for Library Science Careers

Want a job when you graduate with your library science degree? Library & Information Science careers are expected to grow 8.2% between 2016 and 2026.

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

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

Library Science Degree Salary Potential

Library & Information Science graduates between 2015-2017 reported earning an average of $41,474 in the 2017-2018 timeframe. 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.


High Paying Careers for Library Science Majors

Salaries for library and information 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

Getting Your Library & Information Science Degree

With over 100 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 & Information Science is one of 2 different types of Library Science programs to choose from.

Related Major Annual Graduates
Library & Archives Assisting 161
Other Library & Archives Assisting 129

View All Library Science Related Majors >


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