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Library Careers

Options for Those Who Want Library Careers


Books on shelf in library
Diyosa Carter / Moment / Getty Images

Those who want to work in a library have four career paths from which to choose. You can be an archivist, librarian, library technician or library assistant. Each of these has different educational requirements as well as different duties and salaries. See the chart below for a quick look at the differences between these three career choices.


Archivists preserve important or valuable records and documents or those that are expected to be of value or importance in the future. To work as an archivist one needs either a master's degree in history or a master's degree in library science with courses in archival science. Archivists earned a median annual salary of $46,470 in 2009.
Learn More About Becoming an Archivist


Librarians organize print and non-print resources so people can utilize them. One who wants to work as a librarian in an academic, public or special library must have a master's degree in library science (MLS). To work in a school, some states require an MLS while others require a master's degree in education. About half of all states require librarians to be certified in order to work in public libraries. Some states require certification of librarians who work in schools. Median annual earnings for librarians in 2007 were $50,970 and median hourly wages were $24.51.*
Learn More About Becoming a Librarian

Library Assistant

Library assistants help librarians and library technicians organize materials and make them available to the public. Many work in part-time positions. Those who want to work as library assistants need either a high school diploma or a GED. Library assistants earned a median hourly wage of $10.71 and a median annual salary of $22,270 in 2007.*Learn More About Becoming a Library Assistant

Library Technician

Library technicians generally work under a librarian's supervision. They acquire and organize material and help library patrons locate information. Requirements for those who want to work as library technicians vary. Sometimes all that is required is a high school diploma and on-the-job training. Other employers will only hire job candidates who have an associates degree in library technology. The median annual salary for library technicians was $26,560 in 2007. The median hourly wage was $13.31.*
Learn More About Becoming a Library Technician

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/oco/ and
Employment and Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, O*NET Online, on the Internet at http://online.onetcenter.org/ (visited February 28, 2011).

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Comparing Library Careers
  Minimum Education License Median Salary
Archivist Master's none $46,470
Librarian Master's Required by some states for public or school librarians $50,970
Library Technician Diploma or Associate Degree; training None $26,560
Library Assistant Diploma None $22,270

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