Library science certificate programs often complement a college or university’s master’s degree program in the field. Depending on the school, the curriculum focuses on preparing library science professionals for career advancement. To ensure that you get appropriate librarian training, make sure to verify the school’s accreditation status. Guidelines for obtaining a certificate in library science vary, but they generally include following specific application guidelines, choosing a specialization, and enrolling in the required courses to complete a certain number of credit hours.
Check for the college or university’s accreditation, especially if it offers a master’s degree program in addition to the certificate. Most library science certificate programs receive such status from the American Library Association (ALA). The ALA bases accreditation on whether the school offers a diverse curriculum taught by qualified faculty. In addition to fulfilling educational requirements, the school must also provide adequate financial aid and career placement services to become accredited. Prospective employers often prefer library science graduates from accredited schools.
Upon completing an application, getting accepted, and securing financial aid, you must consider choosing a specialization. For example, some universities offer programs designed for information scientists and librarians interested in learning about digital libraries, information management, and information technology. Others offer programs specializing in records and information management, library administration, and systems design, among others. An advanced library science certificate in digital libraries as well as digital preservation can also be earned at specific schools who offer these programs.
To earn a library science certificate, you must a certain number of course credit hours. For instance, some schools require that you complete 18 semester hours of courses related to library and information science. These include required courses as well as electives such as digital curating and electronic web publishing, while others require 18 credit hours of required and elective courses, plus three hours at an internship related to librarianship. Also, if you pursue a master’s degree in library and information sciences along with the certificate, then you must complete an additional nine to 15 hours of study.
Still other schools require students to complete more extensive programs, including 40 credit hours for a certificate in library and information science. You would also be required to complete a student project examining issues in library and information sciences, and information management. Afterward, you would take a final oral exam related to topics in librarianship.
In addition to requiring professional experience, most programs generally expect you to complete a master’s degree either before or after getting a library science certificate. Some schools also allow you to complete the certificate and master’s programs simultaneously. Finally, you must pass all of the courses with a 3.0 grade point average or higher to receive the certificate in library studies.