What Degree Do You Need to Be a Librarian?

Teaching certifications may be required for librarians in some states.
Teaching certifications may be required for librarians in some states. (Image: Books image by explicitly from Fotolia.com)

Using the most up-to-date information technology, librarians perform research, help people who are looking for information, teach students and classify materials. As of December 2010, job growth for librarians is expected as a result of many current librarians retiring. Most librarian positions require a master's degree in library science; however, some also require a teaching license or additional degrees for specialized practice.


You do not need a specific degree to enter into a master's program in library science; any bachelor's degree is considered. Library science programs take one to two years to complete at full-time status. Coursework includes courses in the history and foundation of books and printing, the background of library science, censorship, the societal role of libraries, information organization and research methodologies.

Accredited Schools

Although many colleges offer master's programs in library science, the American Library Association only lists 49 accredited schools as of December 2010. Library science programs are evaluated for their mission, goals, objectives, curriculum, faculty, students, administration, financial services and facilities prior to being awarded accreditation. The American Library Association lists a directory of accredited programs on its website.


Public schools and local libraries have state-specific licensure requirements. The American Library Association recommends contacting your local department of education to inquire about the requirements for your state. If you are a licensed librarian, but you are moving to a different state, it's vital to find out about the licensing requirements in your new state, as some require teaching certifications.


Some librarians pursue supplemental education in addition to their master's degree in library science. Medical, law, business, engineering and science-specific librarians may obtain another master's degree, Ph.D. or professional degree. For example, a law librarian may obtain a degree in law as well as a degree in library science.

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