Students attracted to the study of history are as diverse as history itself and so the love of history can be a launching pad into a variety of career fields.
Individuals who are interested in the concepts and research associated with a history degree engage in careers involving:
Those interested in the material side of history seek career opportunities as:
• Museum curators
• Exhibit designers
• Tour guides at historic sites
• Historic preservationists
• Restoration of historic buildings or furnishings
Careers in Teaching
Becoming a teacher of history, at the elementary, secondary, or college level, is a popular career choice for history majors
Careers in Law
History is a common undergraduate major for students planning to enter law. Students who do not wish to pursue an advanced degree may consider careers as a paralegal or legal researcher. Some history major's combine their interest in history with an interest in criminal justice, pursuing careers in law enforcement.
Career in Government
A history graduate is prepared for many careers in government, including with federal agencies like:
The Smithsonian Institute, National Archives and Records, Library of Congress, National Park Service, Intelligence services, Foreign service and state and local agencies like archives, libraries, museums, parks and historic sites, municipal archives and arts and humanities organizations.
Careers in Business
An undergraduate degree in history with a business minor and/or plans for advanced study in business is often an ideal plan for aspiring business leaders. With a history degree, students learn about different cultures and regions of the world and learn to appreciate differences and recognize similarities among diverse groups of people. An open mind eager for new ideas and always ready to learn is a major advantage for future leaders in business.
Careers in Communications
Like aspiring business leaders, the future journalist and communicators of the world must first learn about the people, events and trends that have created the histories of this nation and nations across the globe. Writing and information gathering skills used by historians can serve journalists, reporters and documentary makers, too, and the wider breadth of knowledge about the world will lead to more opportunities for news reports, articles and features that delve beyond the surface issues and get to the root of an issue.
Careers in Research
Individuals interested in historical research find careers in historical libraries or archives. There are many such opportunities nationally, particularly for the student willing to take instruction in various aspects of computer and internet applications. Libraries and archives are joining in the information explosion, making large portions of their collections available online, as well as providing computerized indices of the collections and hands-on displays for visitors to the site.
Careers in Material Culture
Material culture is the term often used to describe the physical stuff of history collected in museums and historic sites. It encompasses the artifacts of everyday life - the dishes we use, the clothes we wear, the chairs we sit upon. Often students interested in material culture go into careers that restore or preserve artifacts of the past. Careers in restoration include restoration architects, furniture restorers, and artisans of all kinds.
Careers in Public History
An interest in preservation often leads students to enter careers in public history, working in museums or becoming part of the political process of preserving historic buildings and sites. The administration of museums is a field that is just now developing national standards. Other careers in public history involve working at historic sites as a tour guide or character interpreter, working as a park ranger who takes part in interpretative presentations at historic sites, or working at historical societies.
Transferable Skills to Other Careers
The skills of the historian - research, writing, critical reading, and the ability to analyze information for patterns - are also skills valued by fields not traditionally linked with the study of history. History majors form successful careers in marketing and public relations, as information officers, foreign and civil service officers, journalists and as documentary writers and editors. Click here for more information on the transferable skills developed through the study of history.
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