Careers with a History Degree: Job Info and Employment Outlook

Sep 12, 2019

Degrees in history typically cover research and facts and data analysis. Find out about the prerequisites of these programs, and learn about career options, job growth and salary info for history graduates.

A degree in history offers a variety of opportunities for career paths, including teaching or working as a historian or archivist. Read this article for information on each of these careers.

Essential Information

Bachelor's, master's and doctorate programs in history are available nationwide, and online degrees are also obtainable. Students can specialize in specific or historical regions and will fine-tune their analysis and writing skills through research projects and data analysis. Graduates with history degrees can find work in a variety of fields, including government institutions, museums and schools.

Career Historian History Teacher Archivist
Education Requirements Bachelor's degree or higher Bachelor's degree for entry-level; graduate degrees for postsecondary positions Graduate degree often preferred
Other Requirements Field specialization State licensure for entry-level Coursework and practicums in archival studies
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* 6% 4% for high school teachers; 6% for postsecondary teachers 9%
Median Salary (2018)* $61,140 annually $60,320 annually for high school teachers; $74,590 for postsecondary history teachers $52,240 annually

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Options

A degree in history is a versatile starting point for a variety of careers, and graduates' research and analytical skills are prized by employers. Many professionals with history degrees find careers in government agencies, secondary and postsecondary schools and corporations. Historians generally seek out archaeological firms or museums in which to work, while other history graduates with good communication or research skills may find roles as teachers and archivists.

Historian Job Information

Historians are often employed by historical organizations, archaeological firms and government agencies, though many work as contractors on a variety of projects. They research sources of data, such as newspapers, court records, photos and diaries, and interpret this data using their analytical skills. Their findings may be used to answer historical questions or create chronological timelines and are often published in books and articles. Historians typically specialize in a particular field of study, such as cultural or political history and they may also specialize in specific regions or historical eras.

Historian Employment Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for historians was expected to increase 6% from 2018-2028. Most positions are available in federal, state and local government institutions. Opportunities will be best for those who can apply their research and analytical skills to other occupations, such as teaching, researching and writing.

History Teacher Job Information

Many students with degrees in history go on to pursue careers in education. History teachers can be found in primary and secondary schools and all levels of higher education. Teachers at the primary and secondary levels usually provide their students with a broad overview of historical events, while educators at the postsecondary level often specialize on specific historical periods or events. History majors may also find employment in museums and at historical sites, teaching visitors about the historical significance of exhibits.

Depending on the state of employment, history teachers in elementary, middle and secondary schools may be required to earn additional teaching degrees and obtain state licensure. Postsecondary school teachers may need to earn graduate degrees to find employment in colleges and universities.

History Teacher Employment Outlook

According to the BLS, employment opportunities for high school teachers are expected to increase by 4% from 2018-2028. This growth will be due to rising enrollment rates, especially in the South and West U.S. regions. Teachers willing to relocate and teach in more than one subject will experience greater job opportunities.

Postsecondary school teachers were expected to enjoy an employment increase of 6% from 2018-2028. Increases in enrollment rates in colleges and universities and a large number of retiring educators in the coming decade will spur this rising demand for postsecondary teachers. A majority of openings will be in non-tenure and part-time positions.

Archivist Job Information

Archivists are responsible for collecting, organizing and preserving valuable, historical records. They work with a variety of formats, such as photographs, videos, letters and manuscripts. Archivists are often employed by government agencies, academic institutions, corporations and museums. Many employers prefer archivists who have undergraduate and graduate degrees in history with coursework and practicums in archival studies.

Archivist Employment Outlook

The BLS notes that employment rates for archivists were anticipated to increase 9% from 2018-2028. As museum collections and records grow, an increasing number of archivists will be needed to organize them. Archivists who specialize in electronic records will see greater employment opportunities than those who specialize in manual archiving systems.

There are a number of job opportunities for individuals with a history degree. All require individuals to be knowledgeable in their field or specialty, and flexibility with relocation or hours might increase job opportunities. Postsecondary teaching positions are expected to increase the most over the next ten years.

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