History is sometimes dismissed by people as a bunch of stuff that has already happened, but the study of history is of great importance in contemporary society, not just for the purpose of remembering the past but also shaping the future by learning from it.

If you love learning about people and events of the past and are looking for a versatile degree, a career as a historian can be an excellent option for you. As a historian, you can apply your skills and knowledge to various career fields that include academics, media, law, and government work.

The occupations that can benefit from professionals that have a background in historical events are numerous. By using knowledge from the past, historians apply their skills to apply their skills to influence society’s future.

A Comprehensive List of Historian Careers and Historian Salary Prospects

Historians are no longer confined to teaching as the only viable career option. Today, the growing interest in history by local governments, ordinary citizens, corporations, along with the passage of the National Historic Preservation Act in 1966 has broadened the opportunities for historians.

1. Careers in Teaching and Research

Historians love to share their interest in the subject by becoming educators either at the secondary level or in universities. The first of these options usually requires first completing a professional teaching qualification while the second option requires completion of studies up to the Ph.D. level.

Historians in universities typically combine both research and teaching with the faculty members serving as both tutors and lecturers while also undertaking original research work in their specific areas of expertise.

Careers as historians in academia may even be a launching pad for careers in media or writing, providing historians with outlets for sharing their expertise with public readerships or audiences. The historian careers and their respective historian salary prospects in this category include:

History Teacher

Teaching is probably the best careers for historians to develop the interest of young children in the subject. As a history teacher, you can recreate historically important events of the past in fun, creative ways and show your students just how the events have helped shape the world that they live in. If you already have a history degree and would like to get started with your career, you need to complete training.

Salary Prospects: The average annual starting salary for a history teacher in the United States starts at $55,860 and goes all the way to $69,400 for experienced teachers with the average salary being $57,200.

History Professor

A history professor career is one of the most desirable jobs for most historians. However, it is probably the hardest job to obtain. Not only are there fewer history professors compared to other careers, but there are also intense academic requirements since history professors must have not less than a master’s degree in history or even a doctorate. History professors are usually part of history departments in universities and usually oversee classes, conduct research, and give lectures.

Salary Prospects: The average annual salary for a full professor in history in the United States is $82,354 while an associate professor in history earns $62,630 on average, and an assistant professor in history earns about $51,733 on average.

Historian

Historians are tasked with the responsibility for researching, analyzing, documenting, and interpreting human history. They typically specialize in a variety of areas, such as the history of a specific region, country, or groups of people. They may even specialize in the history of a particular aspect of the past, such as political or technological history.

Salary Prospects: The average annual starting salary for a historian in the United States is $38, 620 while experienced historians can earn as high as $84,180. The median salary for a historian in the United States is $60990.

Production Researcher

Production researchers are historians responsible for conducting research to collect, scientific, historical, or other kinds of factual information related to the production of a particular radio, television, or film production. They are required to verify and prepare the information properly and cite the references that are applicable.

Salary Prospects: The entry-level salary for a production researcher in the United States is $33,188 annually and the senior level salary is $54,283 annually on average. The median annual salary for a production researcher in the United States is $44,689.

Research Analyst

A research analyst career can be the perfect job for people looking to build careers as historians. Historians, through their studies, are usually very good at sorting through mountains of data, making sense of it, and presenting it succinctly. Online and print publications are often in need of research analysts. They need employees that are capable of researching stories and fact checking them for accuracy.

Salary Prospects: The annual entry-level salary for a research analyst in the United States is $41,764 while the senior level salary is as high as $70,601. The median annual salary for a research analyst is $61,114.

Ethnohistorian

Ethnohistorians are a special category of historians that study a particular group of people from a combined anthropological and historical viewpoint. To complete their studies, these professionals use oral literature, written documents, ethnographic data, material culture, and written documents.

Salary Prospects: The average annual entry-level salary for an ethnohistorian in the United States is $47,415 while the senior level salary goes as high as $81,283. The median annual salary for an ethnohistorian in the United States is $65,923.

Ethnologists

Ethnologists have the responsibility of undertaking comparative studies of cultures or various aspects of cultures to determine the historical relations and make informed generalizations pertaining to human behavior and cultural processes.

Salary Prospects: The average annual entry-level salary for an ethnologist in the United States is $45,805 while the senior level salary is as high as $78,348. The median annual salary for an ethnologist in the United States is $63,595.

2. Careers in Archiving and Heritage

Libraries, galleries, museums, and other historical archives all provide excellent opportunities for historians to pursue careers in archiving and heritage. Unlike academic research, the focus of careers in archiving and heritage is on the organization and upkeep of historical artifacts. The artifacts may range from famous paintings to taxidermy animals and everything in between.

Historians in this field have the potential to excel in such roles because of their understanding of the importance of history along with a strong desire for preserving it for mankind’s benefit, today as well as in the future.

Roles in this category tend to be quite diverse. While some roles will be curatorial and administrative, others will be in research, focused on digging deep into historical knowledge to add to the body of knowledge about human history and heritage. The list of historian careers along with their historian salary prospects in this category include:

Anthropologists

Anthropologists are responsible for studying, analyzing, and interpreting different aspects of both human and non-human primate culture and society. These professionals develop theories and undertake research regarding the cultural and biological makeup of human beings along with their primate relatives to either prove or disprove such theories.

Salary Prospects: The average annual entry-level salary for an anthropologist is $57,672 while the senior level salary is $73,965. The average median annual salary for an anthropologist in the United States is $91,424.

Archeologists

Archeologists undertake research in an attempt at reconstructing past human life and culture from artifacts, human remains, structures, and architectural features recovered through underwater discovery, excavation, or various other means of discovery.

Salary Prospects: The average annual entry-level salary for an archeologist in the United States is $53,576 while the senior level salary is as high as $93,070. The median annual salary for an archeologist is $75,235.

Biographers

Biographers are responsible for creating written summaries of people’s lives. They have to compose an accurate and compelling account of a person’s life, which outlines specific elements of the life of that person.

Salary Prospects: The average annual entry-level salary for a biographer in the United States is $47,607 while the senior level salary is as high as $81,729. The median annual salary for a biographer is $66,285.

Genealogists

The primary responsibility of genealogists is to conduct research into the background of families or individuals to establish the specific ancestor that they descended from. They might even act in a consulting capacity, which involves directing the research of records clerks and archival technicians as well as compiling their research findings into a report that’s presented to a client.

Salary Prospects: The average annual entry-level salary for a genealogist in the United States is $48,214 while the senior level salary is as high as $85,524. The median salary for genealogists is $67,034.

Archivists

Archivists are the custodians of historical information. They are responsible for acquiring, appraising, preserving, describing, and facilitating access to records that have timeless value. Some archivists even do historical research. Archivists typically work with records throughout their professional lives and oversee the retention or disposal of the same in an archive.

Salary Prospects: The average annual entry-level salary for an archivist in the United States is $42,594 while the senior level salary is as high as $72,166. The median salary for an archivist is $58,723.

Archive Assistants

Archive assistants have the responsibility of overseeing archive collection holdings. They are required to administer the acquisition, retention, storage, organizing, and disposal of archived documents as well as records.

Salary Prospects: The average annual entry-level salary for an archive assistant in the United States is $42,368 while the senior level salary for the position is as high as $71,722. The median salary for an archive assistant is $58,410.

Archival Technicians

Archival technicians have the responsibility of helping users access archived resources. They are also required to participate in archive storage and processing. Archival technicians are typically employed by organizations with archive services, records management branches, or even libraries.

Salary Prospects: The average annual entry-level salary for an archival technician in the United States is $40,619 while the senior level salary for the same position is as high as $68,360. The median salary for an archival technician is $55,765.

Historic Preservationists

Historical preservationists have the responsibility of ensuring the preservation and survival of historic sites, neighborhoods, and buildings. They try to find ways to preserve historic sites, neighborhoods, and buildings by either making them into museums or making the changes required for new life as well as adapting them for new users. When trying to adapt historic sites and buildings to new uses, historic preservationists are required to undertake careful research into where demand exists for potential future uses along with a search for tax credits, grants, and loans.

Salary Prospects: The average annual entry-level salary for a historic preservationist in the United States is $44,060 while the senior level salary for the same position is as high as $75, 089. The median salary for a historic preservationist is $61,000.

Gallery Assistants

Gallery assistants are tasked with the responsibility of offering all-round assistance in a gallery. These professionals ensure that all collection pieces and items have been accounted for by tracking their acquisition and release. Gallery assistants also ensure proper coordination of the exhibits and act as a liaison between the gallery’s patrons and its management.

Salary Prospects: The average annual entry-level salary for a gallery assistant in the United States is $20,678 while the senior level salary for the same position is as high as $46,634. The median salary for a gallery assistant is $31,000.

Catalogers

A cataloger is responsible for coding and storing journals, books, photos, electronic resources, and other printed materials. These professionals are required to perform their duties in such a way that library employees and patrons enjoy easy access to the resources.

Salary Prospects: The average annual entry-level salary for a cataloger in the United States is $38,008 while the senior level salary for the same position is $63,453. The median salary for a cataloger is $51,891.

Librarians

The role of a librarian is one of the most commonly pursued by history majors. History is often cited as a background for one to become a librarian since the degree primes a person for researching and organizing information. In this line of work, a person spends most of his/her working time organizing and filing information and data according to various categorizations and classifications.

Salary Prospects: The average annual entry-level salary for a librarian in the United States is $44,282 while the senior level salary for the same position is as high as $75,745. The median salary for a librarian is $61,584.

Museum Conservators

Museum conservators are professions where one becomes a key contributor to the preservation of mankind’s history. The role involves recording, storing, and preserving specimens, artifacts, and various other items of archeological, historical, or scientific significance. Besides helping to set up exhibits, individuals hired for this rile will be responsible for making sure that everything is properly stored and accounted for when exhibits are dismantled. They also ensure that storage conditions are appropriate and handle the repair and preservation of items.

Salary Prospects: The average annual entry-level salary for a museum conservator in the United States is $44,060 while the senior level salary for the same position is as high as $75,089. The median salary for the position is $61,000.

Museum Curators

Museum curators are typically responsible for the acquisition, documentation, study, interpretation, and provision of access to natural history specimens, artifacts, or pieces of cultural heritage. In smaller galleries, museums, or historic sites, curators may be responsible for the management of the facility while in larger institutions, they may only be responsible for specific collections.

Salary Prospects: The average annual entry-level salary for a museum curator in the United States is $52,823 while the senior level salary for the same position is as high as $91,555. The median annual salary for a museum curator is $74,071.

Museum Interpreters

Museum interpreters or interpretive guides are responsible for providing factual historical information for visitors to museum and gallery exhibits by role-playing or conducting tours. They need to find out about the individuals or groups they will be guided to choose points of interest and provide commentary that’s appropriate for their interests and age.

Salary Prospects: The average annual entry-level salary for a museum interpreter in the United States is $29,118 while the senior level salary for the same position is as high as $46,526. The median annual salary for the position is $38,626.

3. Careers in Media, Editing, and Publishing

Historians don’t have to be confined to working in the classroom or museum. Some are more interested in teaching the public about history through books, journals, documentaries, and magazines. An undergraduate degree is typically required for an entry level at a publisher. Specialized responsibilities such as editing require additional experience and training.

Careers in media, editing, and publishing for historians include writing, broadcasting, journalism, editing, and anything media related. Media roles are surprisingly popular career options for historians primarily because of the role played by media in the dissemination of news and information to large audiences. Knowledge of history in such roles gives one cultural understanding and sensitivity and informs one of the current social and political issues.

A list of historian careers along with their historian salary prospects in this list include:

Journalist

To excel in the role of a journalist, one has to have excellent communication skills, impeccable writing skills, and a keen eye for research. Fortunately, as one earns a degree in history he/she hones in on these skills, sharpens them, and improves one’s value to the world as a journalist. Being a historian is a great way for one to set himself/herself up perfectly whether he/she wishes to be a journalist for a TV station, newspaper, or magazine.

Salary Prospects: The average annual entry-level salary for a journalist in the United States is $47,397 while the senior level salary is as high as $107,461. The median annual salary for a journalist is $86,654.

Communications Officer

One might not set out to earn a history degree to work as a communications officer, but the career can be incredibly rewarding. Communication officers typically work for the government, which means that they enjoy access to a decent pension, work short hours, and have lots of vacation time. The primary duties of a communications officer include researching, writing, creating press releases, providing social media updates, developing web content, and more.

Salary Prospects: The average entry-level salary for a communications officer in the United States is $47,397 while the senior level salary for the same position is as high as $81,368. The median annual salary for a communications officer is $65,992.

Staff Writer

A staff writer is responsible for composing articles, features, and general content for journals, newsletters, websites, magazines, and other informational outlets. Staff writers may compose articles of varying subject matter depending on the employer requirements.

Salary Prospects: The average annual entry-level salary for a staff writer in the United States is $48,517 while the senior level salary for the same position is $83,477. The median annual salary for the position is $67,647.

Technical Writer

A technical writer is responsible for the conversion of complex technical information into a simpler language to allow those that don’t possess a technical background to understand it easily. They are required to shape and deliver information in such a way that it meets the needs of the intended target audience.

Salary Prospects: The average annual entry-level salary for a technical writer in the United States is $54,790 while the senior level salary for the same position is as high as $95,314. The median annual salary for a technical writer is $77,048.

Final Thoughts

A career as a historian can be very rewarding and advantageous when it comes to the corporate world. Historians are usually well-equipped to have a thorough understanding of the influence that societal development plays on both the financial and non-financial events of the world.

A person that chooses to become a historian will have a versatile set of skills that are welcome in multiple industries. However, earning a degree in history takes years, particularly if one pursues a master’s or doctorate level degree.

Fortunately, the job market for historians is quite good as evidenced by the historian career options and historian salary prospects discussed here.

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