How to Become a Medical Librarian

How to Become a Medical Librarian: Career Path Guide

If you want to become a medical librarian, you first need to determine if this career path is a good fit for you. If the following description sounds like you, then you’re probably well suited for a career as a medical librarian:


Those who become medical librarians are highly interested in helping people: the information they help find can help medical students become successful physicians, help doctors make informed decisions as to how to treat health conditions, and help families determine how to deal with health concerns they may be facing.


They must also be highly organized individuals who have excellent communication skills.


Now that you’ve determined that you’re interested in becoming a medical librarian, you’ll need to know how to become one.


Below we've outlined what you'll need to begin a career as a medical librarian. We've also included helpful information for this career, such as job description, job duties, salary expectations, a list of possible employers and much more!



Education Needed to Become a Medical Librarian

To become a medical librarian, you typically need at least a master’s degree in library or information sciences. Having a background in biology, health sciences, medicine or allied health can be helpful, but is seldom necessary to become a medical librarian. Coursework in the following areas can be useful towards this occupation:


• Medical terminology

• Anatomy

• Nursing

• Epidemiology or biostatistics

• Computer science

• Database structure, design, and searching

• Web design

• Adult education or teaching experience




Medical Librarian Job Description

Medical librarians (also known as "Medical Information Specialists", "Health Sciences Information Specialists" and "Health Sciences Librarians") are responsible for assisting healthcare professionals with accessing and retrieving information related to the healthcare sector. Medical librarians also help patients retrieve information related to certain health conditions, and help physicians maintain current knowledge of developments in their field.



Medical Librarian Job Duties

• Help users acquire information

• Make recommendations to patients and healthcare professionals regarding available information

• May put together bibliographies for individuals

• May conduct research for certain individuals

• May be responsible for purchasing and organizing library materials

• May be responsible for hiring and supervising medical library staff

• Provide specialized information such as information on the latest clinical trials, or new treatments that have been discovered

• Maintain digital databases that allow users to quickly retrieve the appropriate information

• Keep abreast of new information in the field of medical information research 


Where Do Medical Librarian Work? Who Hires Them?

Medical librarians can potentially be employed anywhere that medical information is needed, such as:


• Hospitals

• Academic medical centres and Clinics

• Colleges and universities

• Professional schools (such as medical schools)

• Consumer health libraries

• Research centres and foundations

• Local, provincial/state and federal government agencies

• Biotechnology, pharmaceutical and related companies





Medical Librarian Salary: How Much Do They Earn?

The salary level of medical librarians can vary depending on a number of factors, such as their level of education, the level of responsibility of the job, their level of experience, where they work, and many others. Unfortunately there is no reliable data for the salary levels of Medical Librarians specifically. We can however, get a good idea of their earnings by looking at the earnings of librarians in general.


Medical Librarian Salary Alberta: According to the 2011 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans working in the Librarians occupational group earn an average wage of $31.96 per hour.


Medical Librarian Salary Canada: According to Service Canada, the average salary for Canadian workers in the Librarian occupational group is $52,179 per year.


Medical Librarian Salary United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary of workers in the Librarians occupational group is $54,500 per year. 



Careers Similar to Medical Librarian

Listed below are careers in our database that are similar in nature to Medical Librarian, as they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and responsibilities.





Medical Scientist

Medical Writer



References: How to Become a Medical Librarian

Please use the references below to find more information on the various aspects of a career as a medical librarian.


Wages & Salaries in Alberta:Librarian.” (March 20, 2014). ALIS website - Alberta Learning Information Service. Retrieved January 3, 2020.

Education, Training, and Library:Librarians.” (December 3, 2019). Occupational Outlook Handbook - United States Bureau of Labor Statistics website. Retrieved January 3, 2020.

Featured Librarian:The 21st Century Medical Librarian: More Vital than Ever.” (June 1, 2017). Massachusetts Medical Society website. Retrieved January 3, 2020.



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Scholarships for Becoming a Medical Librarian

Scholarships listed for majors that apply to becoming a Medical Librarian can be found on our Biology Scholarships and English Scholarships pages.


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!



Becoming a Medical Librarian: Applicable Majors

Studying one of the university majors listed below is an excellent starting point to becoming a medical librarian, as they provide many of the necessary skills, knowledge and competencies needed to succeed in this career. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!


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