Historians may have the opportunity to pursue careers that might enable them to work in a variety of roles. Generally historians work to research, analyze, and share history, often times in ways that make their findings accessible to the general public. Historians may also contribute their skills to particular fields such as academia, law, or entertainment.
2012 Median Annual Salary for Historians
Broadly defined, historians work in a variety of settings and capacities. They may work as educators, consultants, archivists, curators, and more. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, historians earned an annual median salary of $52,480 in 2012.
Within the field of history, there are numerous occupations in which historians might choose to pursue potential career opportunities including:
Historians with master’s degrees or PhDs might pursue careers as archivists, curators, or museum workers. In such positions, historians manage artifacts, documents, and other components of the historical record. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, archivists, curators, and museum workers earned a median salary of $44,410 in 2012. The BLS estimates that the field will grow by 11% between 2012 and the year 2022.
Historians with bachelor’s or master’s degree might also choose to pursue a career as a high school teacher. As high school teachers, history specialists might teach social studies, U.S. history, world history, economics, government, or other similar subjects. To become teachers, history majors typically must earn a teaching certification in the state in which they wish to teach. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, high school teachers earned a median salary of $55,050 in 2012. The BLS estimates that the field will grow by 6% between 2012 and the year 2022.
Historians with graduate degrees might want to explore potential career opportunities in academia. Those with an interest in pursuing a career in higher education or research might pursue careers as postsecondary teachers in community, four-year, or graduate-level colleges and universities. Postsecondary teachers typically teach in the classroom, serve as advisors to students, contribute service to their departments, and also conduct research, write books and articles, and publish their work. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, postsecondary teachers earned a median salary of $68,970 in 2012. History teachers may earn more or less than this depending on where they live and work. The BLS estimates that the field will grow by 19% between 2012 and the year 2022.
Depending on their emphases in school, historians may also pursue careers in other disciplines such as economics, political science, anthropology, geography, or others. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, economists earned a median salary of $91,860 in 2012, political scientists earned a median salary of $102,000 in 2012, anthropologists earned a median salary of $57,420 in 2012, and geographers earned a median salary of $74,760 in 2012. For more information about the work within these disciplines, visit here.
Also, within any of the capacities outlined above, historians may work in a variety of roles. They may, for example, serve as editors, writers and authors, research and teaching assistants, consultants, and more. Within these roles, historians emphasize their fields of study, skill-sets, and areas of interest to support the unraveling and sharing of history.
Earning a graduate degree in history may help individuals become qualified to pursue potential career opportunities in a variety of fields. These careers can exist inside and outside of academia or research, but they give historians the opportunity to continuously engage in learning more about subjects that interest them. Individuals interested in pursuing potential career opportunities in fields that would utilize their historical expertise may want to earn a graduate degree as some occupations in this field may require job applicants to be able to demonstrate advanced educational credentials.