Though the title of this post is a question, I won’t pretend to offer up any answers here. This is a question I have been struggling with myself for sometime. In my program, I am currently enrolled as a dual MLS/MIS student, but I have questioned whether or not this is the path I want to pursue practically from the time of my enrollment. While I am very interested in some of the MIS classes, not all of them interest me and I feel not all of them will benefit me in the career path I am preparing myself for.
After enrolling as a dual MLS/MIS student, I began the application process to become a dual MLS/MA student in art history. The MA in art history would more directly assist me in gaining the sort of position I one day hope have, in a fine arts or special collections library or in a museum setting. I have now been accepted to the art history program and am faced with a choice: stay on my current MLS/MIS path, switch to the MLS/MA track, or drop the second Masters altogether and focus solely on my library science degree.
Speaking with others about the decision I am facing has been little help, as the general consensus on whether or not a second Masters is helpful or crucial is that there is no consensus. I have met many librarians who say it is your dedication to the profession and training as a librarian that matters, not the other degrees (though they can sometimes be an asset). I have met just as many other librarians that say that a second degree (especially one in fine arts or art history given my preferred career path) is crucial, especially if you ever want to be considered for top jobs. With this information, I have racked my brain and have still not arrived at an answer.
Certainly, I would love to have the second Masters, but at this point in my life and in the world’s economy, is this truly the most prudent decision? Funding is in short supply at my university, and currently (unless I am offered funding in one of my two departments in the next month) I am facing the possibility of paying for two Masters degrees out of my own pocket, with loans of course. Will that second Masters really increase my earning potential and career prospects straight out of the gate enough to justify that up front cost? This is the question I, and I am sure many others, are facing at this time. I hope my path becomes more clear in the coming weeks as offers for funding are, or are not, extended and summer internships and future opportunities begin to coalesce.
I also have to keep reminding myself that not right now does not mean never. Perhaps the most prudent path is to complete my MLS, get a job, and then begin to work on that second Masters part-time as I am earning an income. Best of luck to all in teasing out the second Masters question, and here’s hoping that the answer will become more clear in the coming months and years, both personally and in the profession as a whole.