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You Have to Go to School to be a Librarian? Or, Graduate Programs You May Not Have Considered

Heather | June 2, 2011

When I first started telling people that I was in Master’s Degree program in Library Science, I almost always got one of two reactions:

1. Yeah, I can see that.

2. Wait. You have to go to school to be a librarian?

Yes, yes you do. To be a librarian, not a library clerk or assistant, but a full fledged librarian, you have to get a Master’s Degree in library science. You have to spend two years learning how to use cataloging systems, how to find out anything quickly, how to work with books for different age groups, and how to correctly preserve bills and other like things for posterity. After which, you get to work in a library where you will basically be trained to do your job from scratch. But I digress.

The fact that going to school for librarianship is such a surprise to people makes me think that there must be tons of other degree programs out there, just waiting to be discovered by recent college grads in need of the next step. Here are a few  graduate school programs you might not have considered:

Journalism
While you don’t need a degree in journalism to be a reporter, it can certainly be a big help to those just starting their careers or looking to learn more about the various fields of journalism (print, digital, broadcast), or how to effectively research and prepare stories. Plus, it never hurts to have contacts and getting a Master’s Degree in journalism can often help you there.

Forensic Science
Okay, so maybe being a forensic scientist isn’t as glamorous or thrilling as it seems on TV. But then again, what is? With a Master’s degree in forensic science, you can apply an interest in microbiology, chemistry, or genetics to the real world, helping to solve cases or working in a crime lab or as a medical examiner.

Organizational Psychology
While many undergrad psychology students imagine sitting in a chair while someone on a couch discusses their problems, there are actually far more options in the field. Organizational psychologists can combine their interests in how people work and how businesses work to solve organizational problems and work with people one on one or en masse to make things go more smoothly. With a master’s degree, you can work with people within organizations, providing support to personnel or administration, or creating professional development programs, among many other possibilities.

Public Health
If you want to be in the know in the event of a zombie apocalypse, consider a degree in public health. With a Master’s degree, you’ll be able to work towards the goal of, well, keeping the public healthy, meaning that you’ll deal with things like outbreaks, epidemics or environmental hazards. Check out the CDC’s Zombie Apocalypse Preparedness plan and be inspired.

Of course, a quick look at any school’s degree listings will show you that there are many more choices out there. Did you get a degree in something obscure? Know someone who did? Share in the comments!

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