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Careers with a History Degree: Job Info and Employment Outlook

An educational background in history is a versatile starting point for a variety of careers. Students in this field learn how to research and analyze historical facts and data. Professionals with degrees in history can lead careers as historians, educators and archivists.

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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 18% from 2010-2020 (www.bls.gov). 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 elementary school teachers is expected to increase by 17% and by 7% for high school teachers from 2010-2020. 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 17% from 2010-2020. 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 12% from 2010-2020. 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.

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