Health Science Librarian Careers


A librarian is a person who chooses, obtains, sorts, categorizes, circulates, and maintains various library materials. Professional health science librarians carry out similar duties by assisting students, patients, and health practitioners and providing them with guidance to find the information they need. To enter this career, you need a thorough understanding of fundamental library principles, along with practical experience in a real world setting. If this sounds interesting, keep reading this career guide to find out if this is the perfect job for you.

Job Duties

A health science librarian conducts in-depth research on different medical topics in order to find the latest information available. These librarians are in charge of arranging and distributing clinical, scientific, and biomedical information for texts, journals, and electronic databases. Health science librarians are skilled at producing detailed bibliographies related to many different health fields, as well as publications and abstracts. Their primary task is to use their access to extensive national networks to locate books, journals, and articles a customer may need, no matter where it is in the country. They are employed in various settings like health organization libraries, health information centers, pharmaceutical companies, and medical schools.

Career Outlook

As a health science librarian, you can expect to work in either the education or health industry. Of the 145,710 librarians recorded by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2011, 60,650 of them were employed in elementary and secondary schools. The next largest group of 42,910 health science librarians worked in local government offices under the OES designation conducting health-related research. Those who have a secondary specialization in a computer science and database field will likely find even greater opportunities for employment in a broad array of areas.

Salary Trends

In 2012, the average health science librarian earned an annual salary of around $52,000 ( The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that a professional working in an executive federal position could earn as much as $80,170, while those working in a legal field earned around $68,750.

Education Requirements

To become a professional health science librarian, you must first complete a high school education with courses in science, math, and information technology and management. A bachelor’s degree in life sciences should then be followed by a master’s degree in library science (MLS), which is licensed through the American Library Association. Typical coursework in the master’s program includes classes in biomedicine, literature, communications, library management and organization, bibliographic resource usage, and standard cataloging systems.

As with most jobs, employment and salary depends on skills and training. Predictably, trained professionals have greater chances of successfully finding employment than beginners. Each state has its own requirements for licensure and education, so be sure to check with the state in which you plan to work to learn what is necessary to begin professional practice.

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