What Are the Different Types of Online Library Degree Programs?
Online library degree programs are most commonly differentiated by the resulting degree. Such degrees may be at an associate's, bachelor's, master's, or doctoral level. Nondegree programs may result in a diploma or certificate. In addition, various degree levels and special certificates may be earned by those wishing to become librarians. Online library degree programs may be offered by public, private, or for-profit colleges and may be offered exclusively online or require some campus attendance for orientation, examinations, or seminars.
An associate's level program could result in an associate of arts (AA) or an associate of applied sciences (AAS). Online library degree programs leading to these degrees usually include general education classes such as mathematics and language as well as courses specific to library science. Programs generally take about two years to complete if the student attends full time. Graduates might obtain positions as library assistants in public, private, or school libraries.
A bachelor in library science is generally earned as a bachelor of arts (BA) but might occasionally be earned as a bachelor of science (BS). Such programs often build on the studies of an associate's program and typically require completion of additional general education courses. These might include social sciences such as psychology or sociology, physical sciences such as biology or chemistry, and additional course work in primary and secondary languages. Additional course work is within the library science field. These online library degree programs can generally be completed in four years of full-time attendance and may be completed faster if the student has already earned an associate's degree.
Advanced online library degree programs usually lead to a master of arts (MA) or doctor of library science (DLS). It is important to note that the doctoral designation is different than a traditional doctor of philosophy (PhD). Most librarian positions, including specialty positions, such as research, reference, and school librarians, require advanced degrees. Program lengths, requirements, and specialty tracks differ from institution to institution.
Other online programs result in certificates or diplomas in fields such as library assisting and research assisting. Such programs may qualify a graduate for an assistant or associate position at a library. In addition, online courses are often available for specialties such as document or digital curation and school library certification. These programs may be added on to an existing formal degree to provide new qualifications.
In many cases, online library degree programs are offered exclusively online. Others may be hybrid programs that consist of both online and in-class work. Still others offer all course work online but require the student to visit campus one or more times before degree completion.
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