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What does a Librarian do?

A librarian doesn’t just ‘shush’ loud talkers or chase down overdue books. They help people find information. Librarians are organization and information specialists, utilizing advances in computing and technology to arrange and access facts, books, journals and other information resources. If you enjoy reading books, helping others or are detail oriented, library science could open an exciting new chapter of your life.


Day-to-day tasks for a librarian

In general, much of a librarian’s time is spent behind a desk or at a computer. The World Wide Web and advances in information systems have revolutionized the library sciences, changing the role of a librarian in the process.

While the size of a library’s staff will have a significant impact on the scope of a librarian’s job description, modern librarian positions can be classified into three types- patron, technical and administrative services.

  • Patron or user services librarians assist guests in finding the information or documents. These services often include an educational component such as organizing workshops or assisting guests accessing and navigating the Internet. They also supervise assistants processing borrowed books.
  • Technical services librarians classify or catalogue materials, usually behind the scenes. They acquire new materials or information sources such as online databases and write abstracts for reference purposes. They often have significant experience in information technology.
  • Library administrators are responsible for the day-to-day operations of their libraries. Their duties include setting budgets, negotiating contracts, public relations and guiding institutional goals. A background in business or project management is recommended.

In addition to these main areas, librarians may specialize. Some examples include document restoration or a subject area like medicine, law or children’s books. However one of the main job duties of any librarian remains assisting patrons.

The librarian, in depth

The American Library Association is a professional organization that accredits library science programs across the United States. They suggest looking into different types of libraries before starting off on your career path. Public, private, school, medical and law libraries all serve different populations and need librarians with specific knowledge or backgrounds.

Typically, a Master of Library Science (MLS) degree is required to work as a librarian. Some school and university librarians are also required to maintain teaching certification, although teaching experience is not always required.

Library technicians will perform many of the traditional research and organizational duties of a librarian. A high school diploma or associate degree is often required for this position. This position can offer great experience if you are planning to pursue a MLS.

What does a Life Coach do?

When you hear the word “coach”, you probably think of someone with a whistle and a loud voice standing on a sideline – and you’d be pretty close to the mark. Athletic coaches help athletes develop their skills and train them to be better at their sport. A life coach might not throw a baseball or tell you to “take a lap” but they also support, develop and encourage clients.

life coach

Life coaches use a variety of methods to help individuals develop the necessary skills to achieve their personal and professional goals.

Coaching specifics

Coaching is not counseling or therapy, although there is significant overlap. Rather than focusing on training or supervision, coaching uses communication skills and motivation techniques to help individuals identify their skills and use them to their fullest potential.

Credentialed coaches assist clients in reframing their perspective and discover alternate solutions or paths to their goals. Life coaching challenges individuals to identify and set goals and teaches them the habits and best practices to achieve those goals. This relatively new profession embraces a wide variety of disciplines including psychology, career development, sociology, human development and counseling.

There are a number of coaching specializations:

  • Business coaches provide feedback and some advice to improve the productivity or effectiveness of business practices.
  • A career coach will focus on the professional aspirations of an individual.
  • Art coaching develops the creative instinct and professional skills of performers and visual artists.
  • Executive coaches help management professionals develop team building skills and organizational effectiveness.
  • Relationship coaching is concerned with self-confidence and strategies for developing intimate relationships.

Life coaches, or personal coaches, combine many of these elements, embracing an individual’s lifestyle. They help people acquire effective life skills, like time management and critical thinking.

Coaching the coach

At present, there is no official accrediting body for life coaches in the U.S., although there are private certification agencies. The International Coach Federation (ICF) and the International Association of Coaching (IAC) are two preeminent organizations that offer life coach certifications. They both also offer accreditation for schools and programs although neither is universally recognized.

Certification requirements include a specified number of paid coaching hours and completion of a training program. The IAC recognizes and accepts prior training or experience in a field in lieu of hours; the ICF does not recognize non-specific coaching training. Although neither body requires a degree, certification could enhance or compliment an existing degree.

Life coaches often are self-employed or work in a freelance capacity. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) classifies life coaches and professional coaches as life skills counselors or social and human service assistants.

What does a Speech Pathologist do?

A speech pathologist works as a therapist for people who have speech or language disorders. Speech pathologists diagnose and treat patients with conditions that prevent them from communicating clearly. Common issues include stuttering, inappropriate pitch, cognitive communication impairments, memory problems and even swallowing difficulty.

Speech pathologist: the job description

Speech pathologists, also called speech-language pathologists, coach patients to confront and overcome challenges to clear verbal communication. Problems people encounter may be congenital, developmental or acquired. Speech impediments may be related to stroke or brain injury, learning disability, cerebral palsy, mental retardation, hearing loss or emotional problems.

As a speech pathologist, you can expect to:

  • Assess a patient’s speech abilities using special instruments and standardized tests
  • Develop a customized plan of care for each patient
  • Execute the care plan
  • Keep records of patient progress

The speech pathology care plan may include using alternative communication methods and adaptive technology. Using automated devices and sign language, for example, a speech pathologist may teach patients how to make sound and develop their speaking skills.

speech pathologist

Speech pathology specialists focus on certain patient populations (children or elderly, for example) or particular disorders (aphasia, learning disabilities, etc.). Specialties include child language acquisition, fleuncy, feeding and swallowing.

Training to become a speech pathologist

Most states require a college degree for licensure as a speech pathologist. The master’s degree in speech-language pathology is a common educational path. About 240 colleges and universities offered accredited degrees in speech pathology at both the master’s and doctorate levels. Speech pathology degrees include the Master of Science, Master of Education, Doctor of Audiology and Ph.D. The Council on Academic Accreditation, part of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), is the main accrediting body for speech pathologist degrees.

Speech pathology degrees cover the science and technology of speech and language issues. Courses in the field include:

  • Anatomy and physiology of hearing and speaking
  • Speech and language development
  • Acoustics
  • Psychological aspects of communication
  • Instrumentation for speech sciences
  • Speech perception
  • Neurogenic communication disorders

Many speech pathology programs also require a clinical practicum alongside classroom training in order to support applied training in speech counseling.

In addition to a college degree, most state licensure programs require a passing score on the national speech pathology examination as well as 300-375 hours of supervised clinical experience and nine months of post-graduate clinical experience. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) also offers the professional Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology (CCC-SLP).

Careers in speech pathology

Speech pathologists generally work in a clinical setting such as a medical facility or school health service. About half of speech pathologists work in educational services. The remainder takes jobs in healthcare and social assistance facilities such as outpatient care centers, child day care centers, nursing care facilities and home healthcare. Just under one in ten speech pathologists are self-employed.

Job prospects are strong for speech pathologists. In the coming years, employment will increase an estimated 19 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Job growth will be strongest in educational services.