March 22, 2021

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Archivist Job Description – How to Become an Archivist

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Archivist Job Description

Archivists are responsible for preserving and organizing historically valuable or otherwise important documents or records.

While some archivists work with all types of records, others specialize in a particular area of history (such as the Revolutionary War) or medium (such as manuscripts).

Today, many archivists use computers to create electronic copies of important records. The electronic versions ensure that the records are preserved, while also allowing people worldwide to view them if published on the internet.

Common responsibilities for archivist jobs include:

  • Organizing and classifying archival records.
  • Authenticating historical documents.
  • Providing reference services for users needing archival materials.
  • Locating new materials for acquisition or display.
  • Reserving records as necessary.

Work Environment and Schedule

The majority of archivists are employed by colleges and universities, museums, and the government.

Archivists normally maintain a regular schedule and work during normal business hours.

How to Become an Archivist

At a minimum, a bachelor’s degree is required to get a job as an archivist. If you have your heart set on a job in this field, it’s generally best to get a degree in library science, history, or a related subject. Many employers require a graduate degree to be considered for employment, however.

In addition to the specialized degree required to perform the basic archivist job functions, archivists also need to be very knowledgeable about the subject they wish to archive. A double major or internship are both great ways to learn more about a subject that interests you.

If you want to try and stand out a little bit, there is an archivist certification offered by the Academy of Certified Archivists. Most employers do not require a certification, but it’s still available to you if you wish to pursue it.

Required Skills

In order to understand, access, and organize archived items, archivists must have strong analytical, organizational, and computer skills. Working well with people is also important, as archivists may spend a lot of their time helping people find items they are looking for.

Related Occupations

Employment Outlook

There are currently 6,100 archivists in the United States, with 240 new archivist job openings created each year.

Archivist jobs are not expected to see much growth beyond their current levels in the next decade.

Archivist Salaries

Overall Salaries

Archivist salaries can vary depending on your experience, the location, company, industry, and benefits provided. Nationwide, most archivists make between $36,000 – $60,600 per year, or $17.32 – $29.12 per hour.

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