For those of you in or contemplating library school, this ranking of master’s degrees from Forbes sent in by a kind reader might give you food for thought. It ranks the 10 best and 10 worst master’s degrees based on mid-career median pay and projected employment increases. Guess where the MLS fell in the list?
That’s based on: Mid-career median pay: $57,600. Projected employment increase for common jobs associated with this degree: 8.5%.”
But, some of you are saying, $57,600 is nothing to sneeze at! However, you’re only saying that because you’re used to living by librarian standards or worse. That’s not much more than the median household income in the U.S., and at mid-career in a job requiring a master’s degree.
Good thing we’re doing this for the public good instead of private gain!
The second worst is English, the third music, the fourth education, and the eighth history. Just think about all those librarians you know who probably combine one of those with an MLS. They don’t stand a chance. I mean, unless combining them makes them better. The literature and music librarians I know do seem pretty happy.
Lest you think it’s just the humanities that suck for jobs, biology and chemistry also make the list (at 5 and 6 respectively). Jobs counseling and human resource management also make it, which is sort of ironic. You train to help people get jobs and you can’t get a job. I bet you feel like a loser now.
Among the 10 best master’s degrees are physician’s assistant, occupational therapy, nursing, and healthcare administration, so if you really want to spend your life around sick people, your future is all but assured. I’d rather work in a library.
There’s also physics, electrical engineering, mathematics, computer science, and economics. Buy let’s face it, the sort of people who become librarians usually aren’t great at math and science, so assisting physicians is looking better and better.
Granted, this might not be a scientifically valid study. Any article that wants you to click through 20 pointless pictures instead of just giving you a ranked list is pretty far removed from intellectual respectability. 7 of the 20 pictures have people sitting in front of computers, and if anyone can tell me how the picture for history has anything to do with history, please do.
And as the article acknowledges, “it’s also important to think about work-life balance and employee satisfaction for the common jobs associated with these degrees.”
Those people who make a lot of money work really long hours, sometimes at stressful jobs where mistakes can cause actual harm, either physical or financial. People die. Companies go broke.
Does that really describe many library jobs? How many librarians are really working 60-80 hours a week? And how many librarians have jobs where if they make mistakes it costs lives or significant amounts of money?
Not many, I’d bet.
So that’s the silver lining to pursuing the No. 1 worst master’s degree for jobs in the U.S. You might not get a job, but if you do, think how relaxing your life will be compared to all those people who work stressful high paying jobs.
We librarians aren’t in it for the money. We’re in it for the relaxation and the goodwill. That should be the new advertising slogan for library schools. Someone should tell that to Forbes. And if we don’t get jobs, we don’t get jobs. At least we’ll know a lot about using libraries.