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Master of Science in Library Sciences | Context - Context
Master of Science in Library Sciences
Master of Science in Library Sciences In Context

As the depth of information available to us as a society deepens, there is a growing demand for “information professionals” with the versatility to contribute to strategic planning, budgeting, social media management, digital resource management, and even legal aspects of the field. This has required a major shift in skills for the world’s librarians as both their skill sets and responsibilities have evolved.

Libraries are agents of change in their communities, providing spaces for information-sharing and community action. The study of library science can provide the skills needed to become that voice in communities through marketing, outreach, advocacy, and the planning and delivery of services that meet the needs of diverse groups. These services support and shape the community, offering access to technologies, information, and opportunities to mobilize around ideas.

Library and information science as an academic topic has a dual focus. The first aspect looks at the technologies and systems which can be used to store recordable knowledge, and the second approach is to explore how that information can be managed to be retrievable in an effective way. Courses will vary by college, but may cover diverse topics such as preservation, source selection, materials acquisition, storage, evaluation and several areas of academic and professional management. [2] In 2016, there were 59 accredited library and information science master’s degree programs in the U.S.

The industry’s accrediting body, the American Libraries Association (ALA), says its agenda for the future is the “transformation of libraries and library services in a dynamic and increasingly global digital information environment.” [2]

Accomplishing this goal means meeting the challenges of resources, digitization, and ever-more information in a practical, skilled, and innovative way. Earning a Master of Library Sciences is one way to prepare.

What is the purpose of this degree?

The purpose of the Master of Library Sciences (MLIS) is to provide students with the combination of technical skills and practical experience needed to understand the changing demands of working in library and information science.

Programs usually offer courses from a range of disciplines, such as database design or young people’s literature, allowing a student to explore his or her career interests. Students pursuing an ALA-accredited graduate degree are positioned to qualify for the majority of library and non-library roles in the management of recordable information.

What can students expect to learn when pursuing this degree?

Students taking this degree can expect to learn about the profession’s core competencies, such as cataloging and indexing; how to access and manage information; technological skills and expertise; how to deal with reference materials and running user services; and utilization of high-level research and communication skills.

Who might pursue this degree?

The MLIS is aimed at those looking to move into the management and administration of library and information services. People who may be interested in the degree include teachers, computer and information systems managers, education or database administrators, library assistants, curators, and archivists.

What degree comes after this degree?

The MLIS is considered a terminal degree, however, many graduates elect to go further in their education for the purpose of personal or career interests. Upon completion of an ALA-accredited program, the student becomes prepared to fill a range of library and non-library positions, but there are some posts that may require additional credentials. For example, librarians of specialist collections will usually need to complete specialized study in their area of focus at either the graduate or doctoral level. [3]

What areas of practice does this degree lead to?

MLIS students may look into specializing in a particular area, such as education or law, or moving into the management or design of library and information services. According to PayScale, graduates are working as librarians, library directors, reference librarians, head librarians, archivists, catalogers, and law librarians. [4]

Why earn this degree?

Students that earn an MLIS have several advantages in the field:

  • They enjoy a salary potential that is 30% higher than librarians with a bachelor’s degree [5]
  • In 2015, 82% of graduates from college-level library training programs were working in the industry [6]
  • The Master of Library and Information Science is recognized by the American Library Association (ALA) as “the appropriate terminal professional degree for academic librarians.” [7]
  • In 2011, 76% of MLIS graduates agreed the program was worth the time and money [8]

Most employers require an ALA-accredited master’s degree for professional positions in the field of library and information science. This means that appropriate graduate programs can mean greater employment opportunities. Some states will specifically require that professional librarians in public or school libraries hold an ALA-accredited degree. [9]

How do I choose a Master of Library Science program?

As general advice, you should choose an MLIS program that is appropriate to your career goals, fits your lifestyle, and makes the most of the time and financial resources available to you. You may like to consider the prestige of a university, how flexible the class schedule was, whether courses could be delivered online, if the school had accreditation, how long the program lasts, and if there were entry requirements.

The success of previous students is an important measure of a program’s strength, and you could speak to employers in the field to get their opinion on the program you are interested in. All programs offered under the umbrella of ALA accreditation will cover the general knowledge and skills required to enter the profession of library and information science. Some schools will also offer specialized tracks into a specific area of the discipline. This may include school librarianship, the design of databases or managing archives. [9]

Who might pursue this degree?

This degree is designed for students who wish to develop a career in library or information management fields. Applicants may or may not have previous experience in the field. People with the following skills, or the passion to develop these skills, may be suited to the role: [19]

  • People skills: Librarians will often need to communicate with members of the public and explain difficult concepts and systems
  • A thirst for learning: Librarians are often avid readers. You should also expect to need to continually update your skills as your career progresses. Technology is a driving force in the development of the profession so technical skills, or an interest in developing technical skills, would be desirable.
  • An inquiring mind: Librarians serve as gatekeepers to information for both researchers and the general public, so successful members of this profession are skilled in understanding information needs and suggesting solutions.
What comes before and after the MLIS degree program?

There are no prerequisites for study or work experience to enter a program towards a master’s degree in library science. On graduation, students may look to acquire additional credentials and licensing, such as a teaching certificate, or obtain work in a library or information-related setting. The program has a heavy research element, and although it is considered a terminal degree, some students may elect to progress toward a Ph.D. program.

Master of Science in Library Science Career Advancement

Librarian employment is expected to increase by 2% in the period from 2014 to 2024. This growth is slower than the average for all professions. The need for librarians will not diminish during this period, but increasingly tight budgets is expected to slow recruitment. [10]

In 2014, there were an estimated 143,100 people working as librarians. Approximately one-third were working in state, local, and private schools; just under a third were in local government; 29% were at colleges, universities, and professional schools; and 5% worked in information services. [11] The salary growth rate in 2014-15 among librarians was driven by nonprofit libraries (up 18.2%), government libraries (14.7%), and public libraries (up 9.7%). [12]

Most roles in the management or professional range of library services will require an MLIS. Examples of these, as well as their expected salary ranges, include: [13]

  • Library Director ($40,642-$106,203)
  • Academic Librarian ($41,074-$87,972)
  • Archivist ($34,610-$77,017)
  • Librarian ($36,190-$68,140)
  • Reference Librarian ($34,947-$63,404)
  • Assistant Librarian ($38,471-$52,267)
  • School Librarian ($20,134 – $88,051) [13]
  • What careers require licensure or certification?
    Each state has its own licensing requirements for various library positions. Librarians working in the school environment will usually need teaching credentials and a state license. This may involve practical examinations.
  • How do the career opportunities vary from state to state and internationally?
    All states of the U.S. offer library services, so the opportunities within the industry can allow you to transition locations with relative ease. In May 2016, New York employed the most librarians (11,400), followed by Texas (10,420), California (9,540), and Florida (5,840). In the same year, the highest annual mean wage for librarians was found in District of Columbia ($82,780), then California ($71,650), Delaware ($68,330), and Massachusetts ($68,070). [14]
  • How does this degree relate to or fit into this professional world?
    An MILS degree prepares librarians to evolve their skills to migrate to modern standards and better serve community interests. It can equip you to adapt to novel ways information is consumed. This includes establishing technology workshops, managing small business centers, and providing access to e-books and digital materials. Today’s public libraries are facing challenges over funding, and technology can help alleviate these the cost of upkeep for outdated systems. As technology flows into libraries, it also repositions the public offering as a meeting place for local advocates, creating a space with access to important resources where community members can discuss critical issues.
  • What should a student who is pursuing this degree learn?
    The American Library Association, which accredits MLIS programs, requires that programs discuss: [15]

    • Foundations of the profession
    • How to access and use information resources
    • How to organize knowledge and information
    • Building and using technological knowledge and skills
    • How to manage reference and user services
    • How to conduct research
    • Approaches to education
    • Administrative and managerial skills
  • What are potential career outcomes of earning this degree?
    There are a number of roles which graduates from an MLIS program may acquire. For example: [16]

    • Librarians in a public or private environment
      This may involve running specialized computer systems, maintaining records, providing direct customer support, or offering expert advice on a subject area.
    • Library managers
      As a library manager, you could work as a department head in a large organization or assistant/deputy/associate director of a smaller operation. You may manage work schedules or budgets, look after facilities, fundraise, or work to engage the local community.
    • Library directors
      This is the main leadership role in a library. Duties include public relations, human resources, administration, facilities, and security.Graduates may also move into non-library areas such as software or hardware development, information management firms, indexing agencies, or information technology companies. [9]

      What are the outcomes of earning each of these degrees?

      Salary outcomes vary widely depending on where you work and what level you’re at in your career.

      • The average pay for an entry-level librarian in 2017 is projected to be $44,601 per year. [17]
      • A head librarian may earn up to $89,663 a year. [18]
      • Library director salaries might range from as little as $20,000 to as much as $175,000, depending on the setting and circumstances. [16]
Master of Science in Library Science Curriculum

The exact composition of an MLIS curriculum will vary from school to school. The core courses will cover the traditional skills of calculation, archiving, and referencing, as well as newer topics such as information architecture or database design. The last semester of the program typically includes a thesis or capstone module in which the student will need to produce an extended piece of original work.

  • What are the overall learning goals and outcomes?
    To receive accreditation, programs need to show they: [1]

    • Foster development of professionals that can take on the leadership
    • Emphasize the importance of research in a number of fields
    • Provide teaching that integrates technologies and the theories behind them
    • Respond to the needs of all groups in the community
    • Encourage students to engage with lifelong learning
  • What should a student look for when choosing a degree program?
    Potential students should consider the practical elements of study, such as whether the program and facilities meet their needs, the best method of delivery for their lifestyle, the cost of the program, and whether the knowledge gained from the curriculum will allow them to be employed in an appropriate area.One other helpful measure is how the program’s managers consider traditional library services over newer information areas. A good balance of practical and theoretical skills will be needed, as the technologies that underpin the profession change. [20]
  • What is the standard set of core courses?
    Along with the learning outcomes above, the ALA identifies the following topics as highly relevant to high-quality study of library science: information and knowledge creation, communication, identification, selection, acquisition, organization and description, storage and retrieval, preservation and curation, analysis, interpretation, evaluation, synthesis, dissemination, use and users, and management of human and information resources. [21]These skills are typically offered through classes such as:

    • Cataloging and classification: MLIS students should graduate with a clear understanding of the core standards of librarianship, such as the Dewey decimal system, machine-readable cataloging, and the emerging role of technology.
    • Collection development: Librarians need the knowledge to build and manage collections. These courses may include key skills such as budgeting, collaboration, and acquiring materials.
    • Information technology in libraries: These types of course look at the systems and devices regularly seen in today’s libraries. They may cover internet technologies, social media opportunities and computer networking.
    • Information sources and services: Referencing is an important part of a librarian’s work and the professional practitioner will need to be able to identify the right sources to meet a client’s needs.
  • Are there typically prerequisite courses for entering this degree program?
    Graduate programs in library science usually do not require prerequisite qualifications or courses. An undergraduate degree is a condition of entry, but the focus is on general aptitude and interest rather than the content of previous study.
  • Is there an advanced standing path or a different track for students with experience?
    There is no advanced track for those with experience, but colleges may accept credit earned from other programs.
  • Similar degree programs
    Library science may take a number of other names in a college course catalog, such as master’s in library studies or librarianship. Programs in information management or data analytics are alternatives to the MLIS for those who with to focus on manipulating and sourcing information.
  • Do programs of this nature require a thesis or capstone projects?
    The MLIS usually requires students to submit a thesis or capstone project. This may take the form of an extended written analysis of their understanding of an area of research (a thesis) or a project which considers and expands on an area of library science expertise (capstone).These are usually submitted as part of the academic requirements for the final year of study. They may be completed over one or two semesters, depending on the college.
  • Do programs of this nature require an on-campus residency?
    In some cases, a regional residency may be required, which allows you to meet student and faculty colleagues to build networks with other library professionals.
  • Electives
    MLIS programs teach core skills in the theory and practice of library and information services, but the degree’s content can usually also be adapted to meet the individual goals of the student. This may be done through electives, courses that can also be grouped to form degree specializations.
  • What elective options are available for this degree program?
    Elective courses offered as part of a library science graduate degree might address topics related to the following areas:

    • Preservation
    • Statistics
    • Management
    • Infometrics
    • Intellectual property
    • Storytelling
    • Government information sources
    • Research for scientists
    • Digital libraries and communities
    • Knowledge management
    • Marketing for libraries
    • Engaging with digital technology

    This wide range of opportunity means students can develop their core interests before graduation. For example, given the technological sophistication of the youngest generation, a student with an interest in school librarianship may choose storytelling, engaging with digital technology, and digital libraries and communities.

  • Concentrations/specializations/areas of focus
    Concentrations and specializations provide an opportunity to take a series of courses focusing on an individual topic. The ALA suggests an MLIS may offer specialized tracks for subjects like: [9]

    • School librarianship
    • Health science librarianship
    • Archival studies
    • Database design

    Students that choose a particular concentration will focus on the specific skills needed to fill that role, alongside the basics of information management.

  • Experiential learning, internships, and field placement
    Experiential learning is time spent outside of the classroom when students are able to apply and expand on newly developed skills. This may take the form of an on-the-job work placement, a period of professional experience that completes an academic requirement (practicum), or work on a project in any suitable library setting.Practicums may be completed in any area where a library science specialist may be found in the professional sphere. Common settings include schools, state libraries, or local libraries. But other, more specialized, opportunities may be available depending on your location and the networks available to you.

    A 2013 survey of the reasoning behind hiring decisions in the library sector suggested skills and experience were more important than the school the student had attended. [20]

  • Do all programs of this type have this requirement?
    Most MLIS programs do have a practicum element. The hands-on experience they offer is widely valued in the industry.
  • Do I have to set this up by myself, or will my school help me?
    Most colleges have arrangements in place for matching students to employment opportunities. This can be through either a designated placement officer or the professional faculty networks.Students who already work in a library or information services environment may be able to complete their practicum in their workplace. However, programs typically require such students to work in a significantly different area than they do in their job.
  • What if I cannot take part in a practicum but want to take the program?
    The practicum is an important part of the MLIS as it expands on the skills learned in the classroom and integrates theory into practice. [22] If you are unable to complete this requirement, you would likely need to make specific arrangements with your program before you are accepted.
  • Will this experience count toward my licensure or certification?
    This period of practical experience is counted towards the credit hours for your program, but whether or not it will help you meet certification requirements will vary by state.
Master of Science in Library Science Program Length

The length of an online master’s degree program can depend on a number of variables, perhaps the most prominent of which is the pace at which you choose to study. You can finish a typical master’s degree program in about two to three years if you choose to study full-time, although some accelerated programs may be able to help you finish more quickly.

Online master’s degree programs tend to offer flexibility suitable for students who choose to study part-time. This option will likely extend your time to completion, but it can allow you to study while fulfilling your familial, social, and professional obligations.

You can find more information on this topic at our program length overview page.

How long does a program like this typically take to complete?
Earning your MLIS usually takes around 36 semester hours or 72 quarter hours. Most programs can be completed full-time in two years, although one-year programs are available, and part-time programs will take longer. The availability of courses may also impact how long it takes to complete your degree. [9]

Master of Science in Library Science Admissions Requirements Overview

While each program will set its admission requirements based on its own criteria, many requirements are universal across all programs. No matter where you apply, you can expect to provide items like transcripts from previous degrees or coursework; standardized test scores; a personal statement or essay; letters of recommendation; and an overview of relevant work experience.

In certain cases, some of these requirements may be waived.

For more information about admissions, please visit our admissions requirements page.

Master of Science in Library Science Alternative Degree/Field of Study Options

There are several other graduate programs that touch on similar areas as the MLIS. These include:

  • Master of Information Systems: This is a specialized program that looks at different ways of storing, accessing, and using information. This has similarities with library science in that it covers databases and establishing standards of a system but focuses more on the design behind the systems rather than their effective use.
  • Master of Analytics: This degree type also is focused on the use of data, though it leans more toward the application of information to solve real-world problems and business challenges. This can lead to roles such as a data analyst.
  • Master of Education: This degree program is intended for those seeking leadership positions within the education sector. It can provide the skills needed to operate effectively in a school environment. Already-qualified teachers usually undertake it.
Master of Science in Library Science Accreditation Overview

Regional accreditation is the most prestigious type of accreditation that an online or traditional college or university can receive. It is granted only after careful consideration by private, not-for-profit organizations tasked with evaluating educational quality.

Regional accreditation is particularly important if you anticipate that you might want to transfer credits from one online degree program to another or use those credits to pursue another degree. Most regionally accredited schools will only accept credits from other regionally accredited institutions of higher learning.

You can learn more on this topic at our regional accreditation page.

Is there an accrediting body specifically aimed at the MLIS degree?
Accreditation for library studies graduate programs is offered by the American Library Association (ALA). This is the largest library association in the world, and the oldest, working since 1876. The ALA reviews course content and leadership to offer reassurance on the quality of the materials and faculty. The association describes its mission as to “provide leadership for the development, promotion and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.” [23]

What is the importance of this specialized accreditation to this field?
Most employers in the field will expect librarians to hold an ALA-accredited degree. Some states will require an ALA-accredited degree to work within public or school libraries. [24]

What does it mean for a college or program to have this accreditation?
If a program has accreditation, then the faculty has completed a round of self-evaluation, followed by peer review, to ensure quality in teaching. The Standards of the American Library Association and Committee on Accreditation are used to measure this. [36] They consider and evaluate a program’s curriculum, teaching staff, mission, administration, and facilities. They will also consider whether students are able to meet their learning goals.

What are the standards this accrediting body uses to evaluate programs or a college?
The Standards of the American Library Association and Committee on Accreditation covers whether: [1]

The program’s mission and goals, both administrative and educational, are pursued, and its program objectives achieved.
The curriculum is based on goals and objectives and evolves in response to an ongoing systematic planning process involving representation from all constituencies.
The program has a faculty capable of accomplishing program objectives.
The program formulates career support, student recruitment, the processes of admission, financial aid and other policies that meet with the program’s overall mission.
The program is an integral yet distinctive academic unit within the institution

How will choosing a program that is not accredited prohibit me from furthering my career or obtaining certifications/licenses?

Accreditation from the ALA is the industry standard, so pursuing a non-accredited degree may harm your chances for employment. This is because courses that have not undergone this level of scrutiny may offer differing levels of quality and content.

Can I do anything in this field without earning a degree from an accredited undergraduate or graduate program?
Positions such as library pages or technicians do not require degree-level study. Career progression beyond that point would be difficult without further qualifications due to the technical and professional skill required by the work.

Master of Science in Library Science Licensure and Certification Overview

Certification provides reassurance to employers that the person they are hiring to deal with their clients has the appropriate skills and knowledge to do a good job. In a library environment, holding a degree accredited by the ALA is particularly important as it is a prerequisite for working in some establishments (such as public libraries.). Settings in public schools may have an additional requirement for teacher licensing.

Is licensure and/or certification required to practice or work in this field?
Rules vary by state, but most states require librarians to be certified or to earn an ALA-accredited MLS degree. [19] Students who wish to work in the public school system will almost certainly need an additional teacher’s certification. Other roles may require additional testing, such as the PRAXIS II Library Media Specialist test. This is a computer-based test which explores a candidate’s professional skills and suitability for a post in an education environment.

Can other degrees lead to this licensure or certification?
The MLIS, or associated programs, is the industry standard due to ALA accreditation. However, students looking to work in a pre-K-12 environment can consider a specialist master’s degree accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation, as this would also be acceptable for that role.

The History and Evolution of this Profession

German author Martin Schrettinger first developed the idea of librarianship as an academic discipline. He designed many of the basic elements of modern training programs, such as utilizing a system of catalogs to sort and manage collections. [25]

Melvil Dewey took these ideas forward and set up the nation’s first institution for training librarians in the School of Library Economy at Columbia University in 1887. [26] This helped expand the use of the Dewey system of organization, based on shelf order, that he extended to libraries across the country.

Classification codes and an increase in the use of social science methods to manage and organize the work of librarians brought further academic requirements for training during this period. In 1923, the Williamson report into training for library services made a convincing argument that there was a distinction between professional and non-professional library tasks and separate training should be provided for library technicians, and their colleague professional librarians. [27]

This brought the introduction of a four-year undergraduate degree for librarians followed by a one-year major in library service. However, there was “nationwide professional dissatisfaction” with this system and, by the 1960s, the modern-day two-year master’s degree had emerged. [28]

Tuition and Fees Overview

There are a number of factors that can greatly affect how much your education will cost. These include whether you attend a public or private institution; whether you attend as an in-state or out-of-state student; and whether you qualify for financial aid like grants or scholarships.

For a more detailed breakdown of tuition, fees, and other financial issues, please visit our tuition and fees page.

Master of Library Science FAQs

A Master of Library Science (or Library & Information Science) program is designed to equip you with the skills needed as a librarian or information professional to organize and manage information in a library or organization.

There are many variations in programs related to library, library science, or library and information science. Program names include but are not limited to:
Master ofLibrary Science
Master of Science in Library Science
Master of Science in Information Science
Master of Library and Information Science
Master of Library and Information Studies
Master of Information
Master of Information Science

iSchool is an organization committed to advancing the information field with a focus on information technology, library science, and information science. [31]

It depends on the school. There are approximately 80 information schools that are members of the iSchool organization. The schools associated with iSchool are dedicated to advancing the information field.

You do not need a bachelor’s in library science, although a background in library science does help. Some master’s degrees offer a course to help career changers transition from a non- information background to gain a solid foundation in the library setting before starting graduate-level coursework.

No, but the library and information field is competitive and the skills you gain from an MLIS degree are highly sought-after.

Typically when you think of libraries, you think of the traditional public or school library. Library and information science has evolved due to the growth in technology and digital assets. Librarians can look to information systems or information technology to further their education and improve their knowledge of management of library assets.

Yes, many organizations require that managers have a graduate master’s degree. A master’s program provides graduates with a solid business foundation as well as a strong understanding of information organization and technology-related courses.

On average, an MLIS program requires you to complete 35-45 credit hours.

No. Most MLIS programs do not require prerequisite courses to enter the program.

Because of the growth in information and information technology, students who graduate with an MLIS degree gain not only knowledge of the library field, but also gain the skills to analyze, organize, and manage information in the traditional sense as well as digital.

When looking for an MLIS program, you want a solid foundation of information organization, fundamentals of information, and knowledge management. You also want to make sure technology and digital asset management is an option because of its growth, not only in digital libraries but also in organizations.

Asynchronous coursework can be completed on your own time — a big plus for many online graduate students. Synchronous coursework has to be completed within a set timeframe. This is typically done for group projects, seminars, presentations, and other learning initiatives that require multiple attendees. The elements of asynchronous and synchronous learning in your online program depend on the professor and class itself. Once you enroll, reach out to teachers for specifics, but remember that the curriculum may be divided into these two subsets.

Yes. Many institutions offer MLIS degrees online.

Online and on-campus degrees typically look identical. Most institutions do not indicate on the degree that it was earned online.

Yes, schools typically follow the same curriculum for their online programs as they do for their campus-based programs.

Programs that offer concentrations provide graduates a specific field of study within the information field. Concentrations can include:
Library and Information Science
Data Science
Technology, Information, and Management
Information Security Management
Knowledge Management and Information Consulting
Archives and Preservation

Within these disciplines, graduates learn the intricacies of each field and how to manage them in a business setting. A degree that does not offer concentrations usually focuses on a general aspects of information organization.

A master’s degree in information or library science offers many options for concentrations and specializations. Choosing a degree that relates to your career aspirations is key when making a career change or moving up in your organization. A concentration or elective courses that have specific learning outcomes will tailor your education to the type of master’s you want.

There are various careers available to graduates with a MLIS. Organizations across various industries — not just libraries — offer diverse careers. Roles can include but are not limited to the following:

Computer and Information Research Scientists
Computer Systems Analysts
Database Administrators
Information Security Analysts
Data Scientists
Knowledge Managers
Digital Librarians
Library Managers

No, attaining management/senior positions is not guaranteed through the completion of a master’s degree. These positions often require many years of experience and a significant level of career achievement. However, an advanced degree can help you develop the necessary knowledge and skills required for these positions and also prove your dedication to the field.

Typically, it will vary between 15-20 hours per week.

Depending on the course load per semester you can finish anywhere from two to three years.

Tuition can vary significantly based on a number of factors. Among a sampling of accredited online master’s programs, the average cost of tuition can range from $30,000 to $50,000.

Generally there are supplementary costs apart from tuition. The tuition does not usually include the cost of books or additional fees. These additional costs will vary from program to program.

Whether you will need to complete the GRE prior to applying for a program will largely depend on what school you have chosen. There are many programs that do not require a GRE. Check the admissions requirements for your school before applying.

Whether you will need to complete the GRE prior to applying for a program will largely depend on what school you have chosen. There are many programs that do not require a GRE. Check the admissions requirements for your school before applying.

Yes, there are. The American Library Association (ALA) [29] is the oldest and largest library association in the world. ALA-accredited schools are committed to the development and improvement of library and information services.

In a general sense, accredited programs are more credible because of the rigorous self-evaluation process to uphold the accreditation status. Quality of education when earning your degree tends to be higher when compared to a curriculum from a non-accredited program. Overall, earning a degree from an accredited program makes you more marketable to employers.

Depending on the position or career path, you may be able to move forward without the accreditation. However, the accredited status holds a higher value.

The American Library Association (ALA) accreditation is extremely important. Your college should also be regionally accredited.

Accreditations are a strong indication of quality, but are also required for students who plan to apply for federal financial aid. Accreditation ensures that your degree is recognized by employers, professional associations, and other accredited institutions of higher education.

The State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) applies only to distance education programs in the United States that cross state lines. This agreement is made between member states and establishes comparable postsecondary national standards for distance education courses.

Not every state is a SARA member. Through SARA, member states only have to receive authorization in their home state. Without SARA, non-member states would have to receive authorization in their home state and the state of each of their online students.[32]

Every school has a department or team responsible for online education. This department will be able to answer questions regarding compliance for your home state. Additionally, you can locate the school through SARA (if it is a SARA institution) to confirm compliance.

Generally there are supplementary costs apart from tuition. For example, the tuition does not usually include the cost of books or additional fees. These additional costs will vary from program to program.

Yes. The largest provider of student financial aid in the nation is the U.S. Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid Office. It supplies college-level or career school students with loans, grants, and work-study funds. You can apply for federal financial aid through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

There are numerous other scholarships available, but you will need to research which opportunities you’re qualified to pursue. Many states, associations, websites, and businesses award scholarships based on specific criteria. Be sure to do your research and apply for any scholarships for which you qualify. [33]