Library Technician Certificate and Degree Program Summaries
Those who have an aptitude for organization and attention to detail are good candidates to seek employment in library sciences. A library technician certificate or associate's degree can be the first step to establishing a career as a library technician and eventually a librarian.
Certificate in Library Technician
A library technician certificate program acquaints students with the technologies used in libraries and other organizations to organize, retrieve and manage information sources. Classes impart fundamental skills in classifying and cataloging books, periodicals and electronic records. In addition to training people new to the field, certificate programs can also provide working library professionals with a continuing education option. Students may earn a certificate in a year or less.
Certificate program candidates need to be high school graduates or have earned an equivalency certificate. Schools may prefer candidates whose high school coursework developed their competency in computer literacy, mathematics, reading and writing.
Closely related subject matter, such as computer fundamentals, might be part of some library technician certificate programs, but course content will otherwise stay close to the primary topic. Typical library technician courses may include:
- Information resources
- Collection development
- Cataloging and classification
- Electronic databases
- Internet fundamentals for librarians
Graduates of a library technician certificate program are qualified for positions as library technicians and library assistants. Although some libraries will hire applicants with only a high school diploma, most prefer those with at least a certificate.
Continuing Education Information
Certificate credits are often transferable to an associate's degree program. Many community colleges offer both certificates and associate's degrees in the field.
Associate's Degree in Library Technician
A library technician associate's degree program trains students in common library processes and procedures, and develops their base of technical skill in information storage, retrieval and management. Coursework addresses inventory control, circulation systems, and cataloging and classification systems. Students gain knowledge through a combination of classroom instruction, independent study and internships. An associate's degree may be earned in two years or less.
Applicants to an associate's degree program need to have earned a high school diploma or GED. Some schools also require an admissions interview.
Associate's degree programs typically include general education or liberal arts courses in communications, mathematics and social science. Courses specific to the degree topic may include:
- Children's library services
- Library programming
- Library database concepts
- Records management
- Library services
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that from 2010-2020, employment of library technicians will increase 9% (www.bls.gov). Growth will be driven by increased usage of technicians and assistants whose pay rates are lower than librarians, thereby saving libraries money. Library technicians earned a median salary of $30,660 as of May 2012.
Continuing Education Information
People who earn an associate's degree and want to become librarians need to earn a master's degree in library sciences. However, earning a master's degree first entails earning a bachelor's degree. Many schools have transfer programs that enable a student to apply their credits toward a bachelor's degree, either in library and information sciences or a related subject.
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