Historians study facts and events from the past to learn more about the history of a specific culture or place. They often read and interpret very old documents that describe things that took place in earlier periods of time. Most historians mainly rely on written documentation, but their jobs may also involve looking at tools, clothing and photographs to understand the purposes and meanings behind these items. Since the job category is so broad, a historian often chooses a specific era, law or region on which to focus, such as The Civil War or the history of immigration laws.
Historian Job Education Requirements
Most historian positions require at least a master's degree. Many historians choose to focus their postgraduate studies on the era, period or topic on which they plan to focus their careers. Those who have a bachelor's degree in history might qualify to work in historical research, but the job opportunities are much more limited. Those who have master's degrees can also work as professors, archivists and researchers in the field they choose. When completing a degree, coursework should also include any foreign languages that pertain to the region or time period, as speaking and reading the language is a necessity.
Historian Job Market
About 70 percent of historians work in museums as education directors, researchers and/or curators. These positions also have the most availability of jobs for historians, since those in academic and research settings are often very competitive and only become available when someone retires or relocates. As with many other similar positions in the social sciences, the job growth for historians is slower than other fields. Those who want to work in these jobs should seek internship opportunities while in school, since experience is beneficial in qualifying for a job.
Historian Job Salary Information
Historians typically work in pleasant indoor working conditions, such as in libraries, museums and universities. The median salary for a historian is about $44,490 per year. Those who publish books or other publications can earn more money, since the sales supplement the annual salary. Candidates who want to work in this field should develop their communications and researching skills, since they are both necessary in achieving success as a historian. They often work with other historians or present information to the public about their specific area of focus, which requires public speaking skills and strong knowledge of the subject.