Historian Job Description
Historians study historical sources and documents to research and interpret the past. Newspapers, interviews, photographs, books, and diaries are all examples of documents that historians frequently use in their research.
History is a very broad field that spans many regions, times, and cultures, and a single person could never hope to have a deep understanding of all of it. For this reason, most historians specialize in studying a particular time period, geographic region, person, or country.
For instance, a historian may dedicate their career to studying topics like the life and times of Abraham Lincoln, the Vietnam War, or the American civil rights movement.
The exact responsibilities for historians vary depending on the type of work that they do, but most spend considerable time researching and writing about their areas of interest.
Work Environment and Schedule
The majority of historians work for colleges and universities, but there are also opportunities for employment with museums, historical archives, government agencies, research organizations, and nonprofit groups.
The work schedule for historians varies depending on the type of work they do. For instance, history teachers do the majority of their work during the working week, while historians who work at a museum may need to work on weekends when the facilities are most visited.
Most historians work full time, but there are some part time positions available in non-academic environments.
How to Become a Historian
A graduate degree is required for most historian jobs. While it’s possible to find a research position with a bachelor’s degree in history, those types of opportunities are rare.
If you want to perform advanced research or become a professor at a college or university, a Ph.D is normally required. While in graduate school, Ph.D candidates specialize in studying a particular person, period, or region. The specialty you choose can have a big impact on the career options available to you, so choose wisely.
There are currently 4,000 historians in the United States, with 240 new historian job openings created each year.
Historian jobs are not expected to see much growth beyond their current levels in the next decade.
Historian salaries can vary depending on your experience, the location, company, industry, and benefits provided. Nationwide, most historians make between $34,900 – $76,000 per year, or $16.78 – $36.56 per hour.