When most people hear about a master’s in library and information studies, they assume the only career prospect is to become a librarian. While that can be a fulfilling and lucrative career, it’s not the only outcome of obtaining an MSLIS degree! The focus of the degree, at its most rudimentary level, is how to organize, reference and convey information. In this framework, librarians are a great example of those who work with information day-in and day-out. But there are many other careers that would benefit from this specialization, and a master’s in library and information studies is useful in multiple industries. Let’s take a look at five of these careers, as well as their potential growth and salaries.
Information architects make sure information is navigable and structured in a way that makes sense to an end user. They help make websites user-friendly, searchable and intuitive. In a lot of ways, information architects are like structural architects, but their constructions are digital. Every time you’ve used a well-made website, the paths you’ve taken between pages were planned and created by information architects with the user in mind. An MSLIS degree can be an invaluable resource in furthering or starting your career in information architecture, where you may study information retrieval systems, metadata design, XML, and more.
Average Salary: $98,148 according to Payscale.com
Projected Growth from 2020-2030: 8%, which is the national average pace for job growth
Potential Program: Master of Library and Information Science at the University of Washington
Information Technology Managers, or IT Managers, provide high-level planning and technological direction for organizations. High Levl IT Managers can hold titles such as CTO or CIO, and may require multiple years of experience. An MSLIS degree can be a huge leg up towards achieving this title. IT Managers need to understand computer systems on both a micro and macro level – what will the day-to-day needs of a business be, as well as planning for future strategy and growth? Understanding any business’ IT needs starts with a foundation of how information is stored, accessed and preserved. An MSLIS degree is a no-brainer for someone looking to rise the ranks of IT Management.
Average Salary: $159,010 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Projected Growth: 11%, faster than average
Potential Program: MS in Information – Library & Information Science at Drexel University
Archivists are essentially professionals of information: they decide what information is important enough to preserve, store it in ways that are safe, either digitally or manually, and ensure that records are easy to navigate and access by others. An archivist can deal with physical property, such as old photographs or maps, or they can deal entirely in computer records. In either case, the value of an archivist is in their ability to organize and preserve information for future access. An MSLIS degree is the most common way for archivists to further and specialize their careers.
Average Salary: $50,120 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Projected Growth from 2020-2030: 19%, much faster than average
Potential Program: Master of Library and Information Science at Pratt Institute
User Experience Designers advocate and design with an end user in mind throughout a product’s creation. Otherwise known as UX, these designers will research, test, and create designs with human behavior as the blueprint. Think about every website or piece of technology you’ve used – a UX designer probable helped to design your entire experience of using it, from which buttons you pressed to the colors and fonts you saw. Wireframing, prototyping and organizing data are key skillsets for UX designers, and many MSLIS degrees are focused on developing these foundations. A good UX designer likes to solve puzzles, learn why people do what they do, and then create experiences that are pleasant and easy to navigate.
Average Salary: $69,600-$114,300, according to Career Foundry
Projected Growth: 13%, Faster than average according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Potential Program: MS in Library and Information Sciences at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Instructional coordinators create high level curriculum for schools, educational support services, libraries or within governments. Anywhere instruction happens, someone needs to be planning the ins and outs of the program, whether that be the content, schedule, establishing KPIs of success, and more. There is especially a need for individuals who can plan how to integrate new technology into established instructional settings, which is where an MSLIS degree can be particularly valuable.
Average Salary: $63,740 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Projected Growth: 10%, as fast as average
Potential Program: Master of Library & Information Science at University of North Carolina, Greensboro
We hope this overview illustrates that it would be a mistake to assume that an MSLIS degree can only yield you a career as a librarian. Though that’s obviously an option, there are dozens of other careers that would benefit from the foundations of a master’s of library and information sciences. In general, it’s good to remember that graduate degrees don’t have to be narrow – the skills you develop in a well-made graduate program are often relevant to many industries and many jobs.
An MSLIS degree can teach you some highly specific skills – such as metadata collection, or XML – but it will also impart soft skills that can be used in creative and broad applications. At its core, MSLIS degrees teach individuals how to organize information in ways that are accessible and efficient. All businesses have information of some sort, whether it’s related to their products, human resources, digital storage or otherwise. They need individuals who can solve problems and create systems that make sense – which could be you! Check out graduateguide.com to learn more about potential degree programs, as well as tips and tricks as you navigate the application process.
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