My friend Laura, who recently got her masters degree in Economics from UDel and whose mother is a librarian suggested that the MLS requirement seems more like a barrier to entry rather than an indespensible education for future librarians.
From Money Terms: Barriers to entry are anything that makes it difficult for a new entrant to break into a market. They make companies already in the market more valuable as they reduce the risk of new competition.As we continued in the conversation, I listed some of my course topics and she argued that most of the skills I've been trained in could easily be taught through on the job training or professional development. Laura felt that the MLS is required mostly to limit the number of applicants to librarian positions... to filter all those interested down to just those who are very interested (and i should add those with the means to begin an MLS program). I had to agree somewhat. However, I do believe in the importance of librarian indoctrination that should be taking place while getting an MLS. The reiteration that libraries are to be user-centered, supplying free and easy access to all is critical.
Web design, systems design..these things are probably best taught in a classroom setting...but does it have to be through a masters program? For collection development, young adult services, cataloging... a hands-on experience seems to me to be of infinite more value than a paper or lecture.
Thoughts? Do you strongly agree or disagree? Besides fulfilling requirements on job postings, what makes an MLS essential?