Where do you want to work?
Historians research, analyze, interpret, and present the past by studying historical documents and sources.Duties
Historians typically do the following:
Historians conduct research and analysis for governments, businesses, nonprofits, historical associations, and other organizations. They use a variety of sources in their work, including government and institutional records, newspapers, photographs, interviews, films, and unpublished manuscripts, such as personal diaries, letters, and other primary documents. They also may process, catalog, and archive these documents and artifacts.
Many historians present and interpret history in order to inform or build upon public knowledge of past events. They often trace and build a historical profile of a particular person, area, idea, organization, or event. Once their research is complete, they present their findings through articles, books, reports, exhibits, websites, and educational programs.
In government, some historians conduct research to provide historical context for current policy issues. For example, they may research the history of Social Security as background for a new bill or upcoming funding debate. Many write about the history of a particular government agency, activity, or program, such as a military operation or the space program.
In historical associations, historians preserve artifacts and explain the historical significance of a wide variety of subjects, such as historic buildings, religious groups, and battlegrounds.
Historians who work for businesses may examine historical evidence for legal cases and regulatory matters.
Many people with an educational background in history become high school teachers or postsecondary teachers.
Although most historian positions require a master’s degree, some research positions require a doctoral degree. Candidates with a bachelor’s degree may qualify for some entry-level positions, but most will not be traditional historian jobs.Education
Historians need a master’s degree or Ph.D. for most positions. Many historians have a master’s degree in history or public history. Others complete degrees in related fields, such as museum studies, historical preservation, or archival management.
In addition to coursework, most master’s programs in public history and similar fields require an internship as part of the curriculum. Internships offer an opportunity for students to learn practical skills, such as handling and preserving artifacts and creating exhibits. They also give students an opportunity to apply their academic knowledge in a hands-on setting.
Research positions within the federal government and positions in academia typically require a Ph.D. Students in history Ph.D. programs usually concentrate in a specific area of history. Possible specializations include a particular country or region, period, or field, such as social, political, or cultural history.
Candidates with a bachelor’s degree in history may qualify for entry-level positions at museums, historical associations, or other small organizations. However, most bachelor’s degree holders usually work outside of traditional historian jobs—for example, jobs in education, communications, law, business, publishing, or journalism.
Many people with an educational background in history become high school teachers or postsecondary teachers.Important Qualities
Analytical skills. Historians must be able to examine various types of historical resources and draw logical conclusions based on their findings.
Communication skills. Historians must communicate effectively when collaborating with colleagues and when presenting their research to the public.
Problem-solving skills. Historians try to answer questions about the past. They may investigate something unknown about a past idea, event, or person; decipher historical information; or identify how the past has affected the present.
Research skills. Historians must be able to examine and process information from a large number of historical resources, including documents, images, and material artifacts.
Writing skills. Writing skills are essential for historians as they often present their findings in reports, articles, and books.
Average Length of Employment
Top Careers Before Historian
Top Careers After Historian
Hispanic or Latino13.0%
Black or African American0.8%
Unfortunately we don’t have enough data for this section.
Florida State University9.2%
University of Florida8.8%
University of Texas at Austin5.6%
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University5.6%
George Mason University5.2%
University of Connecticut5.2%
West Virginia University4.8%
University of Georgia4.8%
University of South Florida4.4%
Michigan State University4.4%
Kansas State University4.4%
University of Kentucky4.4%
Truman State University4.4%
College of William and Mary4.4%
California State Polytechnic University - Pomona4.0%
University of North Texas4.0%
Texas State University4.0%
San Diego State University4.0%
University of Delaware4.0%
Oklahoma State University4.0%
Unfortunately we don’t have enough data for this section.
|Job Title||Company||Location||Start Date||Salary|
|Historians||Middle East Forum||Philadelphia, PA||Sep 11, 2012||$100,000|
|OLD Restoration and Design Historian||Sanford Kendall, Old House Restoration||Nantucket, MA||Oct 01, 2011||$80,000|
|OLD Restoration and Design Historian||Sanford Kendall||Nantucket, MA||Oct 01, 2011||$80,000|
|Historians||The Foundation for A Christian Civilization||McLean, VA||Aug 25, 2010||$64,501|
|Textile Historian||The Detroit Institute of Arts||Detroit, MI||May 10, 2011||$60,625|
|Historians||Columbia University||New York, NY||Jan 25, 2010||$55,000|
|Historian||National Institute for Newman Studies||Pittsburgh, PA||Sep 24, 2015||$50,088|
|Historian/Archivist||Disciples of Christ Historical Society||Bethany, WV||Jul 15, 2016||$47,200|
|Historian||The Foundation for A Christian Civilization||McLean, VA||Jan 15, 2010||$44,158|
|Historian||Historic House Trust of New York City||New York, NY||Nov 15, 2016||$39,549|
|Oral Historian||Storyville Center for The Spoken Word DBA The Moth||New York, NY||Jan 20, 2009||$35,000|
To get more results, try adjusting your search by changing your filters.
The Civil War in Four Minutes: Soldier Life