Media specialists assist schools, libraries, and businesses with educational and training presentations. They help teachers and administrators use visual and audio techniques to enhance a class curriculum or business deliverable, and are accomplished at leveraging films, video and audiotapes, photographs, and software programs. Media specialists help users with cameras, camcorders, film projectors, slide projectors, recording equipment, and VCR/DVD/CD/cassette players. Regardless of the institution or technology used, media specialists keep current on developments in media and learning methods. They regularly attend conventions and conferences to learn about the newest software and advancements, and are very adaptable to change. Below are some examples of media specialist responsibilities in a place of education or business.
In the education field, media specialists:
- develop policies about media use
- help teachers plan programs for classes
- conduct workshops on the use of media in the classroom
- serve as a resource for understanding the various types of equipment and availability throughout the organization
- perform basic equipment maintenance
In the business field, media specialists train workers and know how best to distribute information to designated audiences (internal and external), such as a public service announcement.
A media specialist’s required knowledge and skills vary depending on the place of employment. Generally, a bachelor’s or master’s degree is preferred in the following fields:
- Educational media
- Instructional education
- Library science
- Library media
How to Be Successful in the Workplace
The following are tips for a successful career as a media specialist:
- Volunteer: Volunteering is encouraged and often expected. Many media specialists help with non-profit media centers or educational programs.
- Network: When working at a new school, for example, it is imperative that the media specialist get to know the teaching staff and curriculum. A strong understanding of the school’s standard course of study will be beneficial when called upon to offer services for enhancing the curriculum with video, slides, etc. This applies to a business setting as well. Find out how media can support the corporate strategies, and be a dependable resource to professionals who want to use media to meet their objectives.
- Show value: It is important to keep the media resource center relevant with useful and available materials, and to provide good documentation for using media, such as procedures for using a camera or playing a movie, lesson plans around a type of media, and so on.
- Develop good interpersonal skills: It is crucial to listen to customers and to lend a helping hand whenever possible. Traits and qualities that will help a media specialist are being versatile, creative, and cooperative. The media specialist must work with many different people, thus, a high level of patience and willingness to learn are extremely important.
- The Princeton Review – Career: Media Specialist: A site that provides extensive information on different career paths.
- StateUniversity.com – School Media Specialist: A site that provides general information about being a school media specialist.
- School Library Journal: The leading print magazine and website that helps librarians across the world educate young people and adults.