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How do I Become a High School Librarian?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 17, 2024
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The process to become a high school librarian can vary depending on where someone wishes to work. One option is to pursue a master of library science (MLS) degree and then get a teaching certification to be able to work in the schools. Some school districts may accept librarians with a bachelor's degree and education certifications. For someone considering a career as a high school librarian, it is advisable to get information about the specific regional requirements.

The first step for someone who wants to become a high school librarian is a bachelor's degree. People may want to study media, communications, English, or related topics. A bachelor's degree in education can also be useful. After graduation, students can decide if they need to go on to a master of library science program. This will provide specific education in library procedures, including the use of technology in the library, along with practical experience in library environments. Some regions allow people to work with just this degree, while others may require a teaching certification.

In regions where the MLS degree is not necessary, the next step is usually teaching certification. This requires passing examinations to make sure the candidate is familiar with basic topics in pedagogy. Schools may look for certifications like good scores on media specialist exams in an applicant who wants to become a high school librarian. With certifications in hand, the applicant can apply for open positions in school districts of interest.

Sometimes school libraries use volunteer or part-time staff without certifications. This can be a useful way to get job experience in school libraries and may develop into a career, depending on the school district. Fully qualified librarians can be extremely expensive, and in districts where funding is an issue, relying more heavily on staff without the full battery of degrees and certifications is not uncommon. These librarians can legally work under the supervision of more experienced personnel. Before someone goes to library school to become a high school librarian, working in libraries can help him decide if he will enjoy the work.

Someone who wants to become a high school librarian should consider continuing education opportunities after she is fully certified. These can include courses in individual topics in librarianship, ranging from how to help teachers construct reading lists to working with at-risk students. Additional education and certifications can be useful during employment reviews when people want to renegotiate wages and benefits, and they will make a librarian more employable in the future.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseGeek researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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