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Library & Information Science Major

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Library & Information Science

5,044 Master's Degrees Annually
39 Doctor's Degrees Annually
#39 in Popularity (Master's)
$61,530 Median Salary

Types of Degrees Library & Information Science Majors Are Getting

The following table lists how many library and information science graduations there were in 2018-2019 for each degree level.

Education Level Number of Grads
Master’s Degree 5,044
Graduate Certificate 423
Doctor’s Degree 39

What Library & Information Science Majors Need to Know

O*NET surveyed people in occupations related to library science and asked them what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important for their jobs. The responses were rated on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being most important.

Knowledge Areas for Library Science Majors

According to O*NET survey takers, a major in library science should prepare you for careers in which you will need to be knowledgeable in the following areas:

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  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Administration and Management - Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
  • Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.

Skills for Library Science Majors

A major in library science prepares you for careers in which the following skill-sets are crucial:

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  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Abilities for Library Science Majors

Library Science majors often go into careers where the following abilities are vital:

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  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.

What Can You Do With a Library & Information Science Major?

People with a library science degree often go into the following careers:

Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary
Archivists 14.7% $52,240
Compliance Managers 8.0% $107,480
Librarians 9.0% $59,050
Library Science Professors 8.3% $71,560
Loss Prevention Managers 8.0% $107,480
Regulatory Affairs Managers 8.0% $107,480
Security Managers 8.0% $107,480

Who Is Getting a Master’s Degree in Library & Information Science?

5,044 Master's Degrees Annually
82% Percent Women
21% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities*
Library and Information Science runs middle of the road when it comes to popularity, ranking #39 out of all the graduate majors we track. In 2019, about 5,044 graduates completed their master’s degree in this field. This major is dominated by women with about 82% of recent graduates being female.

Racial-Ethnic Diversity

At the countrywide level, the racial-ethnic distribution of library science majors is as follows:

Racial-Ethnic Diversity of Library Science Students with Master's Degrees
Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 142
Black or African American 271
Hispanic or Latino 450
White 3,614
International Students 60
Other Races/Ethnicities 507

Geographic Diversity

Americans aren’t the only ones with an interest in Library Science. About 1.2% of those with this major are international students. The most popular countries for students from outside the country are:

  • China
  • South Korea
  • Canada
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Taiwan

How Much Do Library & Information Science Majors Make?

Master’s Degree Starting Salary

Data from the U.S. Department of Education shows that library and information science students who graduated in 2015-2017 with a master’s degree made a median starting salary of $41,200 per year. During this timeframe, most salaries fell between $38,450 (25th percentile) and $43,800 (75th percentile).

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Note that some of these people may have jobs that are not directly related to a library science degree.

Salaries According to BLS

Average salaries range from $56,400 to $75,450 (25th to 75th percentile) for careers related to library science. This range includes all degree levels, so you may expect those with a more advanced degree to make more while those with less advanced degrees will typically make less.

To put that into context, according to BLS data from the first quarter of 2020, the typical high school graduate makes between $30,000 and $57,900 a year (25th through 75th percentile). The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $45,600 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,600 and $125,400.

Median Salary for a Library & Information Science Major  ( 56400 to 75450 )
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Median Salary for a High School Graduate  ( 30000 to 57900 )
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250K
Median Salary for a Bachelor's Degree Holder  ( 45600 to 99000 )
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250K
Median Salary for an Advanced Degree Holder  ( 55600 to 125400 )
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250K

Some careers associated with library science require an advanced degree while some may not even require a bachelor’s. In general, the more advanced your degree the more career options will open up to you. However, there is significant time and money that needs to be invested into your education so weigh the pros and cons.

Find out what the typical degree level is for library science careers below.

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Education Level Percentage of Workers
High School Diploma - or the equivalent (for example, GED) 2.8%
Post-Secondary Certificate - awarded for training completed after high school (for example, in agriculture or natural resources, computer services, personal or culinary services, engineering technologies, healthcare, construction trades, mechanic and repair technologies, or precision production) 2.5%
Some College Courses 2.6%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 5.0%
Bachelor’s Degree 36.8%
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Baccalaureate degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees carrying the title of Master. 2.2%
Master’s Degree 37.0%
Post-Master’s Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Master’s degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees at the doctoral level. 3.0%
First Professional Degree - awarded for completion of a program that: requires at least 2 years of college work before entrance into the program, includes a total of at least 6 academic years of work to complete, and provides all remaining academic requirements to begin practice in a profession. 0.6%
Doctoral Degree 7.1%
Post-Doctoral Training 0.9%

Online Library & Information Science Programs

In the 2018-2019 academic year, 87 schools offered some type of library and information science program. The following table lists the number of programs by degree level, along with how many schools offered online courses in the field.

Degree Level Colleges Offering Programs Colleges Offering Online Classes
Certificate (Less Than 1 Year) 1 0
Certificate (1-2 years) 3 0
Certificate (2-4 Years) 0 0
Associate’s Degree 8 5
Bachelor’s Degree 24 11
Post-Baccalaureate 1 0
Master’s Degree 67 44
Post-Master’s 35 0
Doctor’s Degree (Research) 13 1
Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice) 0 0
Doctor’s Degree (Other) 0 0

Is a Degree in Library & Information Science Worth It?

The median salary for a library science grad is $61,530 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 54% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $432,600 after 20 years!

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You may also be interested in one of the following majors related to library science.

Major Number of Grads
Library & Archives Assisting 161
Other Library & Archives Assisting 138

References

*The racial-ethnic minorities count is calculated by taking the total number of students and subtracting white students, international students, and students whose race/ethnicity was unknown. This number is then divided by the total number of students at the school to obtain the racial-ethnic minorities percentage.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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