Can Australian librarians work in the States?

For Aussies who are California dreamin’ or find themselves in a New York state of mind on a regular basis, the loophole visa (otherwise known as the E-3) allows tertiary educated Australians in a specialty position to migrate without the pesky card of green.*

So you have an ALIA recognised LIS qualification. Can you apply for a librarian position in the States and take your family with you legally? The answer is yes, with some provisos:

  • You can take your family, but if you’re not married to your partner you’ll be working AND taking care of the kids. The USA does not consider de facto or same-sex relationships to exist for immigration purposes. (Don’t shoot the messenger folks!)
  • While the ALA page on evaluating foreign credentials states that courses accredited by ALIA are acceptable, the qualifying degree in the US is a Masters of Library Science (MLS), not a Graduate Diploma or Bachelors, so you may have trouble finding work without the Masters.

Librarianship seems to fit the “specialty occupation” quite clearly to me, as we :

  • have a theoretical and practical application of a body of specialised knowledge (although when working in the States you will have to replace the letter S with the dreaded Z when saying you are specialised and that you work within an organisation)
  • require a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree for entry into the profession in the States AND that specific degree is required for jobs within our profession
  • are rated on O*Net online as super-awesome** with an SVP range of 8***

As I have been told by my friends, family, workmates and even random people on the streets that I quite clearly need to CHILLAX and stop doing so much extra-curricular work, I won’t be going back to finish my Masters in second semester. It would be kinda weird to guest lecture into the course I’d be taking too, so it’s probably a good idea to wait until Summer semester to rejoin the academic rank and file. But once I do get that Masters I’ll be seriously considering my international options. Although I did really like living in Canada…

* It may be argued that the E-3 is the only good thing to come out of the 2005 Bush-Howard <a href=””>FTA</a&gt; which has played havoc with our copyright laws.

**not an actual O*Net rating, but check out that list of skills! Next time I’m asked what it takes to be a librarian or told that I “really must love reading” I’m going to reply with “Yes I do love reading but I also love cargo trucks, I am highly skilled at inductive reasoning and I am firmly located within Job Zone Five: that is, it has taken extensive preparation to be this awesome.”

** *I have no idea what that is but it’s going on my business cards.


About Naomi Doessel

I'm a librarian by profession and a reader at heart. I occasionally blog about the profession, my relationship with food, and I annually fundraise for ovarian cancer research and prevention during Frocktober.
This entry was posted in #blogjune, librarians, work. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Can Australian librarians work in the States?

  1. Julia G says:

    If you go to Canada you don’t have to replace Z with S 🙂 We accept all spellings…
    One of the reasons I’m doing my Masters at QUT is because both ALA and CLA accept it as the standard in LIS studies. I had to make sure I could work in Australia OR the States OR Canada before I committed to the program.

  2. Susanne says:

    Thanks Naomi, this is really interesting! I always thought it was too hard to get a visa for the states without a visa. Will look into it for my next stop after Japan!

  3. PMMcG says:

    I am really fortunate my husband is an American citizen. Am completing my Masters so that I have the USA option available to me.

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