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Do librarians need a degree?

Q. I was just looking at the Salary Wizard and decided to play. I am a librarian in Atlanta, Georgia, and I don't make anywhere near what the Salary Wizard said I should make!

The job description for librarians says it may "require a bachelor's degree and two to four years of experience in the field or related area." In my experience, a librarian must have a master's degree from an ALA-accredited institution.

I'm forwarding Salary.com's salary information to my director immediately - he has some catching up to do!

A. The intent of the job descriptor for librarians is to give a general view of the essential job functions and responsibilities of a librarian. Salary.com is aware that most organizations require librarians to have a master's degree from an accredited ALA program. But a number of organizations do not require an MLS degree. The job descriptor is phrased to say, "may require a bachelor's degree and two to four years of experience in the field or related area" to accommodate those jobs that do not require a bachelor's degree.

The compensation analysts at Salary.com recognize your concern. We will revise the job descriptor for librarians to add the following phrase: "may require an MLS degree or a combination of education and experience."

The Salary Wizard represents market data from various public and private salary surveys. Government jobs tend to pay less than private-sector jobs under the assumption that public-sector organizations offer job security and better benefit programs. So it is quite possible that your base pay may be considerably lower than what you would earn if you worked in the private sector.

I hope the revised descriptor addresses your concerns, and I look forward to any other suggestions you may have in the future.

Good luck.