Media specialists work with all types of audio-visual equipment in schools, libraries and businesses. Depending on the setting, they teach others how to use various multimedia and recording equipment for presentations, classroom lectures or meetings. They are also responsible for setting up equipment. Media specialists also acquire and catalog material and maintain equipment and software.
Duties of a Media Specialist
A media specialist coordinates audio-visual equipment and materials. They inventory and maintain supplies and equipment. They set up and operate requested software and machines, such as Power Point presentations, DVD players and film projectors. They also update and maintain a library of available material including films, tapes, photos, slides and software. Many media specialists work in elementary or secondary schools. Other industries that hire media specialists include high schools, colleges, public and private libraries, government agencies, medical facilities and private companies.
Media specialists also advise users on what types of equipment to use depending on the lesson, presentation or event and how to use that equipment. For example, a media specialists who works in a school orders specific programs or materials requested by teachers to coordinate with lesson plans. They are also responsible for previewing and organizing the available materials into databases.
Salary Information for Media Specialists
According the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in May 2009 media specialists made a median annual wage of $43,880. Salaries ranged between $35,630-72,590. The median hourly wage for a media specialist was $21.10. Average salaries for media specialists in state government positions were slightly higher than in other industries (www.bls.gov).
Job Outlook for Media Specialists
The BLS projects the job growth for a media specialist to be average from 2008-2018. Media specialists who work at libraries may have a higher rate of job growth as library workers reach retirement or leave their jobs for other reasons.
Requirements to Become a Media Specialist
Media specialists need to have extensive knowledge of media equipment such as cameras, computers and recorders. They also need to have excellent communication skills, as they must coordinate with other staff to plan and execute presentations and lessons.
Most employers require a bachelor’s degree for this position. Degrees in education include coursework focusing on incorporating media into lessons. Degrees in library sciences also include current media specialist technologies in the coursework. Some schools offer media specialist degree programs at the graduate level. Vocational schools offer courses that cover the job skills of a media specialist.