An educational media specialist in America is considered a specialization that falls under the umbrella of the librarian. Because most specialists work in libraries, it is a job that melds both librarian and specialist in order to create a profession that understands the advancement of technology in our society and is ready to help people move into the new era of education.
This job requires a great deal of education; most professionals won’t find work unless they have successfully completed a graduate degree. Additionally, many states require certifications and licenses in order to work in this capacity, making it a high-value job for professionals in education.
The job requires attention to detail, a personable attitude, and a person eager to help the public learn new technologies to advance their education. It can be a stressful job, with budget constraints tightening the freedom of the specialist to invest in new technologies, but overall is a rewarding career that has great benefits and a flexible schedule.
The current average salary for this position is $48,220, based on information collected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Other sites, such as Glassdoor, put the national average closer to $50,000.
Payscale reports that an educational media specialist can expect to make around $32,700 at the entry-level position. This salary changes based on region, with cities paying more for these specialists than country
An educational media specialist is first and foremost a technology educator. However, in most states, they are also licensed librarians. This means that this job generally entails both media and library duties, but media duties take precedence. These duties include setting up and maintaining computer labs, learning new technologies to then teach to students, installing equipment, devising media and technology-related instruction, and more.
An educational media specialist must be able to communicate effectively with both students and teachers. They must also have the necessary writing, interpersonal, and analytical skills to make the most of their time in the library. They must also have great media and technology skills, including knowing how to use the internet, mobile and desktop apps, and how to utilize this technology in a classroom scenario. These specialists must also have administrative skills in order to help with the desk duties of any library.
Degree and Education Requirements
The degree and education requirements will vary by state, but students interested in becoming educational media specialists must be aware that this position is considered to be that of a librarian with specialized knowledge in media and technology. This means that many states require these professionals to meet the minimum education requirements of a librarian.
For most states, this means that a bachelor’s and master’s degree must be obtained from an accredited university. The bachelor’s degree can be in nearly any subject; however, education is the most commonly earned degree, with psychology and English being a distant second and third.
A master’s degree in library science is preferred by most employers, especially if the degree comes with a specialization in educational media. For students who already hold a master’s degree, a graduate certificate program in this area is easily obtainable. School librarians must also meet licensing requirements, which is something students will have to keep in mind.
Rewards and Challenges
Educational media specialists do encounter some rewards and challenges in their field. Because this job has different requirements depending on the environment, this section will touch only on the general advantages and disadvantages of the position. Professionals who wish to learn more are encouraged to speak with specialists already in the field online or in their own community.
Some of the challenges that an educational media specialist may encounter are the job does require administrative duties, such as cataloging media, managing computer systems, and other librarian tasks. Professionals also have reported feeling frustrated that they do not have more time with the teachers or administrators in their facility, as time schedules rarely line up for proper meetings and debriefings about new media and technologies.
The rewards of the job include teaching students, teachers, and families how to utilize media and technology for the purposes of education. Professionals work alongside with the community, giving them a sense of satisfaction, and also get to make new discoveries in media.
Depending on the educational route a student takes to start this career path, a student will have to either become certified or licensed as an educational media specialist. This is specific to not only the state but the school district or library that a student is looking at for job prospects.
Some states require a library media license or a teaching license, others require a school library media specialist certificate, some even require a school librarian license as well as an educational media specialist qualification. It is up to the professional to research what certifications or licenses are necessary for their state prior to applying for a job.
Additionally, while not a necessity, employers prefer a candidate that has had at least a year of training in a library or school setting, working in a media-related capacity. Many professionals also start off as school librarians or teachers before making the switch to become an educational media specialist, adding to their work experience.
The job outlook for an educational media specialist is currently eight percent through 2024, as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is an average pace for this profession, which could be explained by a few reasons.
Budget constraints, which hit local government, school districts, and publicly funded libraries first, tend to hit educational services hard, especially in a time where people may not be sure of the need for libraries. The fact that online libraries, which rent out ebooks and other media materials, operate also mean that physical locations are frequented less by patrons who have access to the internet on a regular basis.
Opportunities still exist, however. Most education media specialists work within school or public libraries; they may also find jobs in county clerk or administrative roles that have to do with educating the public about certain issues. While jobs are hard to come by, the educational media specialist is a career that is integral to the education of younger generations.
The career of educational media specialist is one that few people think about but is very important to the well-being of the educational system. It is no secret that media is continuing to have a large role in education and becoming a specialist in the relationship between the two will help to serve communities who need help understanding how media can positively influence education.
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