Historians typically need a master’s degree or Ph. D. to enter the occupation. Many historians have a master’s degree in history or public history. Others complete degrees in related fields, such as museum studies, historical preservation, or archival management.

Become a Historian in 2021? Salary, Jobs Education

What does a historian do?

The majority of their time is spent conducting field research, analyzing historical documents, and interpreting them to shed more light on those events. Some of their primary responsibilities include:

What is a historian?

A historian is a specialist in the social sciences who researches and writes about historical occurrences like political turning points, armed conflicts, and social movements. The primary goal of historians is to gather, examine, interpret, and record historical information.

History can be categorized in a wide variety of ways, just like most other fields in the social sciences. Most of the time, historians focus on a particular historical era or historical phenomenon. They may decide to investigate and analyze history from a particular perspective or concentrate on a particular time period.

Work environment for a historian

Historians typically work full-time schedules during regular business hours. Many historians work for museums and other institutions, and in such cases, they might need to work on the weekends or in the evenings. Some historians operate independently, and those who do so can decide their own work hours. Travel may be required to conduct interviews, gather artifacts, or visit an area to better understand the environment and culture, depending on the field they specialize in.

How to become a historian

The following are the fundamental actions you must take to pursue a career as a historian:

1. Earn a bachelors degree

To become a historian, you must possess a bachelor’s degree at the very least. Most historian positions above entry-level require you to hold a graduate degree. The best preparation for a career as a historian is an undergraduate degree in history, though you can also be prepared with a degree in the social sciences, humanities, legal studies, or English. It’s crucial to take history classes in your coursework if you decide to pursue a degree in a subject other than history, especially those that give you the chance to conduct research.

2. Complete an internship

Any relevant experience you list on your resume will help you stand out as a more competitive applicant. Many undergraduate degree programs include internship opportunities. If yours doesn’t, look for internship opportunities or the chance to assist with fieldwork in order to gain practical experience and learn from seasoned historians.

3. Choose an area of specialization

It’s crucial to decide which historical period you want to concentrate your research on, preferably while you’re still pursuing your undergraduate degree. Your ability to choose courses that allow you to focus on a particular area will increase as soon as you decide on your area of specialization. That could get you ready for a certain area of specialization in graduate school. It also positions you as a specialist with future employers.

4. Pursue a masters or PhD

For the first two or three years of your graduate coursework, you typically take both colloquia and seminars. Try to enroll in courses that are both in your area of expertise and in subjects that are unrelated to it. This can help you gain a deeper understanding of the period or event you want to concentrate on while also gaining a general understanding of history, which can help you gain new perspectives on the material you’re studying.

When you enroll in graduate school, especially at the doctoral level, you should have already focused on a particular era, culture, or region. When pursuing a graduate degree, if at all possible, try to find a position as a graduate assistant. This may provide you with teaching experience and a chance to hone your research abilities.

Skills you need to become a historian

To succeed in the role of a historian, you must possess a number of skills. Some of the top skills include:

Frequently asked questions about being a historian

The following are some of the most typical queries about being a historian:

What is the average salary for historians?

What is the job outlook for historians?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment of historians will increase by 6% between 2018 and 2028, which is in line with the projected average growth for all occupations. The growth of this career depends on the amount of funding available for the organizations that employ historians, as these organizations frequently rely on public funding.


What qualifications do I need to be an historian?

A bachelor’s degree in history is necessary to work as a historian. The majority of historians then pursue a master’s or doctoral degree, during which time they conduct research and write a thesis on a topic of their choice.

Do historians make good money?

The average salary for a historian is between $29,540 and $116,340, depending on experience and field knowledge. receive a yearly salary of sixty-eight thousand four hundred dollars on average have the highest average salaries in Alaska, where their annual salaries hover around $101,900.

Is historian a good job?

Being a historian makes sense if you are interested in history and want to pursue a career in it. For those who are interested in learning about the past, this is a great career. You’ll probably need to perform well and enjoy your high school history classes.

Is there money in being a historian?

You can find employers willing to pay you for being a historian if you know where to look. Museums, research institutions, historical societies, non-profit organizations, and archives all employ historians.

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