Historians essential career information:
- 2012 median pay: $52,480
- 2012, number of jobs: 3,340
- Employment growth forecast, 2010-2020: 18 percent
- Entry level education requirements: Master’s degree
Historians; what they do:
Historians wear many hats. From researching specific periods, people and places for national documents and educational purposes to helping shape important legislation in Congress, historians truly help us prepare for our future through investigating and reporting on the past.
A historian career encompasses analyzing, researching, archiving, and interpreting the past. Historians study a multitude of historical documentation ranging from books, periodicals and government records to photos, newspapers and film.
Historian careers include performing vast amounts of detailed research from gathering historical data, fact checking, and tracing historical developments to reviewing, archiving and maintaining artifacts in national sites, museums, and historical centers. After careful review of research conducted, historians present their findings to colleagues and write detailed reports, theories, books and publications as well as showcase exhibits and educational programs to the public.
A historian career may include teaching and presenting historical lectures at universities, museums, historical societies and at other locations.
Historians provide advice on historical accounts and issues as well as preservation topics.
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Historian job titles:
- Film Historian
- Art Historian
- Ancient Historian
- Professor of History
- University Archivist
Historians Education, Certification and License Requirements
Historians need a Master’s degree, which takes about 2 years to finish, to begin working in their field. However, a Ph.D. is required for many teaching positions and research positions.
Many historians have a Master in History degree or a Master in Public History degree. Many schools provide a Ph.D. in History degree program.
Ph.D. programs typically specialize in a specific area, culture or period of history or in a field such as political or cultural history. Most programs offer degrees in areas such as museum studies and archival management. Many colleges have onsite working programs incorporated into the course work.
Many students benefit from volunteering or employment in entry-level positions to gain experience. Positions are often available at museums, historical societies, government agencies and other institutions.
Historian programs cover subjects such as:
- Renaissance and revolutions
- Imperialism in history
- Modern European history
- History of American popular culture
- Women in America
- Jewish history
- World studies
- Latin American studies
- Asian studies
Historians Job Outlook
Forecast: 18 percent employment growth for historians between 2010 and 2020.
The need for historians in areas such as historical societies, research and consulting firms, and other research organizations outside of government increase the demand for historians. However, many of these institutions rely on public funding, thus employment growth remains stable only if funding continues to remain consistent.
Federal, state, and local governments employ over half of historians. Unfortunately, these institutions are expected to experience slower-than-average employment growth due to budget cuts, limiting employment of historians.
- 2012 median annual wage: $52,480
- 2012 workers at the 75th percentile annual wage: $77,360
- 2012, workers at the 25th percentile annual wage: $34,920
- Local, federal and state government
- Professional, scientific and technical services