Curators, museum technicians and conservators essential career information:
- 2012 median pay: $38,220
- 2012, number of jobs: 10,430
- Employment growth forecast, 2010-2020: 16 percent
- Entry level education requirements: Bachelor’s degree
Curators, museum technicians and conservators; what they do:
If someone dreams of a museum career, managing an art gallery, teaching others about great archeological finds, or restoring an original Picasso painting, a job as a museum technician, museum curator or museum conservator may be in their future. Museum technicians, museum curators and museum conservators have extensive knowledge of art, business, archeology and history as well as an incredible eye for detail and art studio training.
More specifically, a museum curator deals with the business and management end of institutions such as aquariums or botanical gardens. Museum curator careers include buying, inspecting, storing and evaluating the authenticity of collections.
A museum technician career includes answering questions from the public and taking care of the collections owned or loaned to the institution.
Museum conservators preserve, restore and document archeological findings and works of art. This work requires hours upon hours of specialized laboratory research techniques such as chemical and microscopic analysis of dinosaur fossils. Museum conservator careers also include conducting educational programs and writing research articles.
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Curators, museum technicians and conservators job titles:
- Art Preparator
- Art Conservator
- Conservation Technician
- Paper Conservator
- Exhibit Technician
- Art Museum Curator
- Museum Registrar
- Collections Manager
Curators, Museum Technicians and Conservators Education, Certification and License Requirements
People seeking a museum curator career or a museum conservator career typically need a master’s degree. However, some employers allow a curator to enter a particular field, such as an art museum curator, with only a bachelor’s degree plus work experience. Alternatively, conservators need substantial experience and a degree in conservation or something very similar.
A museum technician usually needs a bachelor’s degree and many years of work experience, usually in designing museum exhibits.
Curator, museum technicians and conservators programs cover subjects such as:
- History and theory of museums
- Museum management
- Museum conservation and contemporary culture
- Historical sites, cultural landscapes and the politics of preservation
- Museum education
- Development and fund-raising
- Museums and interactive technologies
Career Advancement Opportunities
Museum curators with several years of experience in their field, who also performed research and published articles can advance in their career and become a museum director.
Curator, Museum Technicians and Conservators Job Outlook
Forecast: 16 percent employment growth for museum curators, museum technicians, and museum conservators over the next ten years due to increased museum attendance, new art institutions and retirement. However, due to the small amount of museum positions available as well as the limited number of graduate degree programs, job competition is high.
Curator, Museum Technicians and Conservators Salary
- 2012 median annual wage: $38,220
- 2012, workers at the 75th percentile annual wage: $51,700
- 2012, workers at the 25th percentile annual wage: $29,980
Curator, Museum Technicians and Conservators Major Employers
- State and local government
- Colleges, universities and professional schools
- Federal government
- Museums, historical sites and similar institutions