How to Become a School Media Specialist

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Libraries and media centers are an essential part of schools from elementary to high school. School medial specialists are library professionals that work in school library environments and provide assistance to a variety of students and staff members.

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What does a school media specialist do?

School media specialists maintain the resources of school libraries or media centers. They provide assistance to students in locating materials, help teachers create curricula and obtain classroom instruction materials, and conduct classes to teach students how to use library resources. They organize and provide assistance for many different types of materials such as books, magazines, audiotapes, DVDs, slide presentations, filmstrips, and educational software. School media specialists answer questions and help students acquire the ability to effectively use a variety of information.

What kind of training does a school media specialist need?

School media specialists typically need a master degree in library science or related field. Many school media specialists have also have a bachelor degree in education. Most employers require school media specialists to have a teaching certificate. Many aspiring school media specialists complete internships or co-opportunities in school libraries to gain practical experience in the field. Most employers provide some on the job training to enable new school media specialists to learn the necessary policies and procedures. Most states require school media specialists to be certified or licensed. Requirements vary, but often include minimum education and passing an examination. School media specialists must complete continuing education to maintain their licenses and certifications, keep their skills up to date, and stay abreast with advancements in the field.

What are the prospects for a career as a school media specialist?

Employment of school media specialists is expected to grow as fast as average for all professions, increasing 8% from 2008 to 2018 (1). The growing student population and increased need for a variety of media services in schools will drive job growth.

Job prospects should be favorable especially for school media specialists with advanced training and extensive experience. Many job openings will arise from the need to replace school media specialists that retire, transfer, or leave the occupation for other reasons.

How much do school media specialist make?

As of February 2010, school media specialists with less than 1 year experience earn average annual salaries between $29,479 and $45,092. Those with 1 to 4 years experience earn average annual salaries between $30,767 and $44,833 (2).

A career as a school media specialist is a great choice for people with a strong interest in library science and working in K-12 learning environments. School media specialists must have a solid understanding of the concepts of library science and the ability to apply them to school environments. Patience, detail orientation, critical thinking, and good organizational skills are necessary characteristics. School media specialists must have excellent communication and interpersonal skills and the ability to assist a variety of students and faculty.

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