Job Market for History Majors
The job market for history majors is looking great. While there are a few conflicting signals making themselves present in 2017 for history majors, the overall outlook for establishing a job in this industry is good. The most conflicting signal that has become present is the fact that jobs advertised for history majors have dropped yet the applicant pool has increased; this means there is much competition to secure a job with a history major. Fortunately, though, over the past few months, things have started to balance out.
The most important question that you will find yourself asking as you study history is “What are you going to do with your degree?” There are so many options for you to choose from. And while a linear path to follow might be your top priority, you should know that a degree in history can lead you to work in just about any field of your preference. From government to economics to politics and even medicine, your history degree broadens your career possibilities to the max.
When you graduate with your degree, you will undoubtedly have a bright future because you will become a distinguished writer, researcher, and communicator during your undergraduate studies. If you pursue a graduate degree, you will sharpen these skills even further, thus allowing you to earn a higher salary for your knowledge and experience. Let’s take a close look at the ultimate guide on careers for history majors.
Top 4 Career Paths for History Majors
Those who earn a degree in history don’t normally go on to pursue a career as a professional historian. In fact, most history majors go on to become any of the following:
There are leaders in every industry who study history, making this type of degree one of the most valuable you can earn. As for now, let’s look at the top four career paths for history majors.
1.) Public Educator
Many people who earn a history degree will go on to become a public educator. An educator of this sort can find employment in a wide range of places, including museums, public and private schools, historical sites, and more. Some public educators even choose to work in the film industry, teaching directors and producers how to choreograph movies and films according to a manner that complements that time period in which they are trying to portray. When working in this field, it mainly depends on the industry you find employment in as to how much you will make on an annual basis. Typically, you can expect the following:
- History teacher (K-8): Bachelor’s degree – $55,860/year, with a 6% job growth rate
- High school: Bachelor’s degree; master’s preferred – $57,200, with a 6% job growth rate
- College/postsecondary: Master’s degree; doctorate preferred – $69,400, with a 10%job growth rate
Do you enjoy analyzing and evaluating information? If so, then you should consider securing a career as a history research analyst. There are many job titles that you may be able to work under when you go into this field, with the most popular being:
- Museum researcher
- Public historian
- Historic preservationist
- Culture resource professional
- Policy analysts (these people tend to work for the local, state, or federal government)
If you choose to become a history researcher, you will probably make around $54,000 a year; this is with a bachelor’s degree. If you earn a master’s or doctorate degree in history research, you will likely make much more. Even better is that regardless of the degree you have, history researchers can often find employment through entities that offer great benefits, such as health insurance, 401K and more.
Those with a passion for information management will enjoy a career as a librarian. Many people who have a degree in history find it advantageous to continue their studies by completing a short program in library studies; this type of program thoroughly prepares you for archive management, which is essential to being a successful librarian. If you choose to become a librarian, you will likely make around $61k a year; however, it is not uncommon for some librarians to make upward of $70k a year.
Sure, when you set out to earn a degree in history you probably did not intend on becoming a lawyer. Still yet, you should know that many people who major in history go on to find themselves working in the field of law. After years of experience and training in critical thinking, history majors will begin to see how historians and lawyers have a lot in common, especially in terms of their skill sets. Even if you do not want to use your degree to become a lawyer, you could always use it to become a paralegal. Working in this profession can earn you upwards of $60k a year. Don’t have a bachelor’s degree in history? That’s perfectly fine. An associate’s degree will still qualify you to become a paralegal with the ability to earn more than $40k a year.
Best Secondary Education Options for History Majors
When going to college to earn a degree in history, it is imperative that you base your school of choice on several factors. First and foremost, you need to choose a school that excels in teaching history. Remember, not all colleges are well known for offering courses in history, so choosing one that does is essential to helping you establish a career. Here is a look at the schools for history majors.
Known for being a prestigious university, this school offers a demanding curriculum and ensures that its students excel in critical thinking. All students are encouraged to write both concisely and persuasively, with courses being offered in Latin American history, Western history, and European history. Those graduating from this school go on to earn an average starting salary near $50k a year, with a mid-career salary of close to $90k.
This Ivy League school is going to cost a pretty penny to graduate from, but on the upside, there are lots of grants and scholarships to take advantage of. If you opt for this school and decide to pursue a degree in history, you will take courses in both general studies and specialized history. Your starting salary after graduating will likely be around $52k a year, however, the mid-career salary for Cornell graduates is upward of 100k a year.
University of Pennsylvania
Another Ivy League school, the University of Pennsylvania helps students gain an extensive understanding of the past. History courses taken at the school provide an enriched knowledge of traditions and past cultures, with history being one of the most pursued majors on the campus. The average mid-career salary for history majors graduating from this school is around $87k a year.
Career Prospects for History Majors
With a degree in history, there are so many career paths for you to follow. Some people with this type of degree go on to become a public relations manager. The job growth in this field of work is 12%, with an average income of about $115k a year. To pursue this career you will need a bachelor’s degree; however, a master’s degree can increase your salary.
Another career prospect you can consider with a degree in history is that of a political scientist. You will need a master’s degree to enter into this profession, with your salary starting out above $104k a year. You will likely work full time as a political scientist, with a large portion of your time spent lobbying groups and working for nonprofit organizations.
A postsecondary education administrator is another career path you can follow with a degree in history. This line of work has a job growth rate of 15%, and your annual salary will likely be around $100k a year. Do keep in mind that you will need either a master’s or doctorate degree to become a postsecondary education administrator, meaning you’ll spend anywhere from 6 to 10+ years in college.
Did you know that with a history major you can also establish a career as a judge? That’s right, and in this line of work, you can expect to make about $106k a year. The only downside to this career is that there is a limited growth rate of one percent.
5 Unique Career Paths for History Lovers
The careers listed above are fairly common occupational paths for those who have a degree in history. Now let’s take a look at five unique career paths for history lovers. These careers are not often thought of when a person chooses to earn a degree in history, but they definitely lead to great salaries and all of them have a high growth rate, meaning you will not be up against much competition if you choose to pursue one of them.
1.) Product Marketing
The marketing department within an organization is usually comprised of employees who come from all types of degree backgrounds. It’s not uncommon at all to find many employees in the marketing department who have a degree in history. One of the specific areas of a marketing department that you will find history degree holders is within the product marketing segment. This part of the marketing team creates products, using research and creativity to deliver these products to the economy. As to be expected, since research and creativity are involved this makes for the perfect career for history majors.
2.) Business Analyst
Since businesses these days are producing more data than ever, it comes as no surprise that business analysts are highly needed within all industries. If you enjoy working with spreadsheets and software, then using your history degree to enter into this line of work is a great career choice to make. Many people who have a history degree opt for a career as a business analyst, earning a salary of more than $60k a year. If you think this is a career you are interested in, make sure you take plenty of Excel courses in college and study statistics in your math courses.
3.) Internal Communications
Another unique occupation that you can go after with a degree in history is that of an internal communications specialist. In this career, you will spend a large amount of time making sure all departments within your organization are appropriately communicating with each other. You will communicate pertinent announcements, which often involves creating speeches and delivering them to executive-level board members. An internal communications specialist has a big role to play, so you should expect to earn upward of $100k a year.
4.) Web Developer
Yes, with a degree in history you can go into the field of web development. During your studies to earn a degree in history you will become distinguished in creative thinking as well as critical thinking. Both of these skills can go a long way in helping you to become a successful web developer, especially when it comes to coding. The amount of money that you can expect to earn as a web developer will, of course, depend on the company you choose to work for. The larger the company, the more money you can expect to make. On average, though, a web developer will earn about $64k annually.
5.) Social Media Manager
Do you love working online? If so, then using your degree in history to become a social media manager will likely lead to a satisfying career. Why do history majors do so well in this line of work? Well, it is mostly because a degree in history demands that you excel in communication, writing, and research. All of these skills are pertinent to being a social media manager. You will put them to work to quickly track social media trends and develop intriguing posts that capture your targeted audiences. As a social media manager, you will probably make around $50k a year.
How to Acquire Educational Aid for History Degree
Going to school to earn a degree in history will cost a lot of money. Thankfully, though, you don’t have to pay for all of your educational expenses. In fact, you can save thousands of dollars each year on your college costs by applying for grants and scholarships. If you are just now fixing to graduate high school, you should speak with your school counselor about the many available grants and scholarships that are available to those who are pursuing a degree in history. If you are already in college, your school’s financial aid specialist will be able to lead you in the right direction. Some of the best scholarships for history majors are:
- National WWII Museum Essay Contest
- Phi Alpha Theta Scholarships (Graydon A. Tunstall, Jr. Scholarship, Phi Alpha Theta Graduate Student Scholarship, Phi Alpha Theta/World History Association Paper Prize, Phi Alpha Theta and the Western Front Association Prize)
- University of Michigan History Department (Grossman Family Award, Richard Gilder Scholarship)
- Daughters of the American Revolution (J.E. Caldwell Centennial Scholarship, Dr. Aura-Lee A. and James Hobbs Pittenger American History Scholarhsip, Lucinda Beneventi Findley History Scholarship, Enid Hall Griswold Memorial Scholarhsip)
Using Your Passion to Develop a Career in History
If you have a passion for history, you can use it to develop a career. In addition to your passion for history, though, you need to assess your other passions. For example, if you like teaching people, then you should consider becoming a public educator of history, such as a history professor at a local community college or university. If you have a preference for numbers and research, then perhaps a career as a business analyst will do well for you. To help you pinpoint your passions, you can always take advantage of online self assessment quizzes. You can also speak with a career development specialist to help you determine which occupation will suit you best.
Other Career Options for History Majors
In addition to all of the history careers we have already discussed, here is a brief overview of 20 more careers and their median salaries:
- Content creator: $46k a year
- Customer success manager: $67k a year
- Growth hacker: $82k a year
- PR manager: $70k a year
- Content strategist: $81k to $115k a year
- Journalist and branded content: $37k a year
- Competitive analysis: $69k to $123k a year
- Communciations officer: $53k a year
- UX designer: $71k a year
- Customer insights manager: $57k a year
- Content editor: $46k a year
- CMS editor: $50k a year
- Email marketing manager: $71k to $105k a year
- HR manager: $97k to $110k a year
- Political campaign manager: $108k to $192k a year
- Jobs in government: $45k to $100k a year
- Marketing coordinator: $34k a year
- Senior marketing manager: $79k a year
- Contracts manager: $79k a year
- Intelligence Analyst: $64k a year
History Research: The Best Career Options
As a professional historian, there is a good chance you will be confined to an educational setting. However, because of the growth being found in the public history movement, many professional historians are finding themselves working in other environments, such as the film industry. Historians traditionally create articles and monographs as a result of the research they perform, and advances in technology are making it exceptionally simple for these findings to be published in various formats.
Do you have a passion for history research? If so, you will definitely want to consider a career in any of the following occupations:
- Cultural resource management
- Historic preservation specialist
- Historical society manager
- Architecture and design
Education Path for Those Pursuing Degree in History
The educational path for those pursuing a degree in history tends to be a fairly long one, with most people earning at least a bachelor’s degree. If you opt for a bachelor’s degree in history, you can expect to spend at least four years in school, with the majority of your courses diving deep into both ancient and recent history. These courses will also focus on English, literature, and depending on the area of history you are wanting to study, you will likely take courses in Western and European history.
To earn a master’s degree in history you will spend another two years in college. A doctorate degree will require another two to four years after you have earned your master’s. Sure, this may seem like a long time to go to college, but because there is little competitiveness in the field of history, you won’t have to worry about not finding a job once you graduate. In fact, there is a good chance that you can secure a well-paying job with your bachelor’s and use this career to fund your college endeavors to earn your master’s or doctorate degree.
History and Politics: What are Your Career Options
If you are wanting to secure a career with a degree in history and politics, then any of the following will work well for your preference:
- Editorial assistant: $33k a year
- Broadcast journalist: $20 to $80k a year
- Archivist: $47k a year
- Academic librarian: $50k to $61k a year
- Civil Service administrator: $50k a year
- Archaeologist: $61k a year
- Information officer: $61k a year
- PPC Specialist: $50k a year
- Government Official: $200k to $400k a year
- Consumer advocate: $43k a year
- Diplomat: $99k to $129k a year
- Congressional Aide: $33k to $87k a year
- Campaign worker: $50k to $200k a year
- Foreign news correspondent: $50k to $75k a year
Best Sites to Learn about History
As you embark on your journey to earn a degree in history, you will undoubtedly want all the help you can get. And while turning to the assistance of your history professors will be of great help, there is much you can do during your free time to expand your knowledge. Fortunately, the Internet offers a wide variety of sites that were developed specifically for history lovers. Some of the best sites are:
This site is a non-commercial website for edcuators. You can use the site to find lots of information and lesson plans that are found on other sites on the web. From government websites to universities and libraries, the easy to use search box easily allows you to tap into valuable knowledge all across the Internet. You can even go on virtually-guided tours of online source materials.
This site offers free to download resources, including interactive studies, games, and quizzes. You’ll also find a long list of comprehensive links to other petinent online resources.
Are you looking for detailed timelines of history? If so, then you will definitely want to check out this site. In addition to timelines, you will find a wide array of maps and graphics that provide you with an indepth view of history.
Containing nearly 7,000 educational resources, The Gateway is your go-to comprehensive guide for all things history. You can easily sort through the information based on the level of education that it is geared toward.
This site provides you with reviews on other history websites. You will learn about the best of the best sites for you to visit, and you can search the site according to an easy to use and well-organized interface.
Networking with Other History Professionals
In addition to using online resources to expand your current knowledge level of history, you will definitely want to network with other history professionals. You can reach out to such professionals both inside and outside of your college endeavors. As you go to school to earn your degree, make sure you swap contact information with fellow students, especially those who are further along in their studies. You will find it invaluable to network with these other students because they can help you overcome any obstacles you come across as you earn your degree. Also, once you graduate these other history students and professionals can go a long way in helping you secure a career.
Are you earning your history degree online? If so, then you might find it difficult to network with your fellow students. Fortunately, though, you can take advantage of online forum resources that focus on history. You can find these forums by doing a simple Google search. You can also join online platforms on Facebook and Google+ that are centered around topics relating to history.
Tips for Studying History
Studying history is often different from studying other topics. In order to get the most out of your studies, make sure you follow these simple tips.
Connect and develop ideas
History is studied by focusing on events that happen in a succession. Because of this, all of your notes should follow a chronological order, meaning you should split them according to the topic, time period, and any specific relatable details. As you take notes and separate them according to chronology, you will start to see connections between the facts. These connections are going to help you memorize pertinent information.
Study with other students
One of the best ways to study history is by doing so with other students. Because history is based on facts, there is only one right answer to each question you are being asked, which makes it easy to study with other students. As you are studying you can also discuss different aspects of history, allowing your creative minds to mesh together and gain a deeper understanding of why things happened the way they did.
Reading can get very monotonous. If you watch movies about history, this can go a long way in helping you to remember important information. And fortunately, there are thousands of movies made about different parts of history. If you are having trouble understanding a specific time period in history, you can always choose a few movies that accurately depict that time period to gain a better idea of the culture during the period of time.
Use Online Tools
There are thousands of online tools and quizzes you can use to help sharpen your knowledge about history. The college that you go to will likely have an online resource center for you to take advantage of, and there are other sites that can be of help as well, including GoConqr.
You have a very bright future with a degree in history. Just make sure that this is a field you are truly passionate about and always do your best to find employment in a job that you know you will enjoy. There is nothing worse than getting stuck in a career that does not bring satisfaction to your life. If you assess your passions, though, you are sure to find a way to use your degree in history to find a job that brings much joy and satisfaction to both your professional and personal life.