Careers in History

What careers are open to History majors?

TABLE OF CONTENTS

What is the value of a History degree?
Jobs for History BAs
Jobs for Humanities BAs
History as preparation for graduate and professional school
Famous History grads
Resources on the web

WHAT IS THE VALUE OF A HISTORY DEGREE?

A degree in History indicates that a person has developed the following skills:

  • Ability to find information in paper and electronic sources
  • Ability to read, understand, evaluate, and synthesize information from a variety of sources
  • Ability to explain complex ideas orally and in writing
  • Ability to put events in a larger chronological and cultural context
  • Ability to adapt to changes in the workplace and learn new skills quickly
  • Ability to recognize ethical dimensions of workplace decisions and practices

For discussion of the History major in particular, go to http://www.historians.org/pubs/Free/careers/Index.htm (American Historical Association, Careers for History Majors).

"Historian" has been rated as one of the ten best jobs in the United States based on "stress, physical demands, hiring outlook, compensation and work environment."  See http://www.careercast.com/jobs/content/JobsRated_10BestJobs

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JOBS FOR HISTORY BAs

Most students, when they think of jobs in History, immediately think of teaching.  That is probably the most common career path for historians.  Whether at the elementary, secondary, or post-secondary (collegiate) level, teaching is a rewarding career.  Students wishing to teach in public schools will need teacher certification/licensure.  Most would-be public school teachers will pursue licensure at the undergraduate level.  Some students, however, may decide to pursue a plain BA degree and acquire certification afterwards.  Teaching in private schools does not always require licensure.  Career advancement in either type of school often depends on getting a master's or doctoral degree (either PhD or EdD).  College and university teaching requires a minimum of a master's degree, but more often a PhD in History.

Another fruitful field for history majors is Public History.  This field traditionally includes historic preservation, museum studies, and archival management, but can also extend to documentary films, collecting of recordings for oral history archives, and digitization of historical records.  Students can start working in Public History with a B.A., but a Master's of Public History is desirable if they want to advance in the field. For more information, check out http://www.publichistory.org/.

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JOBS FOR HUMANITIES BAs

History shares a lot of career opportunities with other Humanities and Liberal Arts degrees.  Employers in a wide variety of fields are looking for people who have good skills in writing, oral communication, and organization and are prepared to be life-long learners.  The number of possible fields is enormous, but some particularly good fits would be in diplomacy, intelligence, non-profits, business, publishing, and journalism.

Many History majors decide to be self-employed.  Some may start up their own businesses.  Others may become writers, either of books (history books or novels, for example) or as free-lance writers for magazines and newsletters or as technical writers.

For a detailed discussion of the value of a liberal arts program go to http://www.iseek.org/education/liberalarts.html (iseek, "Minnesota's gateway to career, education, employment and business information").

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HISTORY AS PREPARATION FOR GRADUATE AND PROFESSIONAL SCHOOLS

History is also excellent preparation for graduate and professional schools.  Graduate study in History is just one possibility.  History is one of the most popular pre-law majors.  Many history majors go on to get a Masters of Library Science.  Business School is another opportunity.  Humanities majors generally do very well on the GMAT (Graduate Management Test), substantially better than Business majors.  Public Administration is another good field for historians.  Even more science-oriented fields, such as health care, have a place for historians.

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FAMOUS HISTORY GRADS


POWER POINT PRESENTATION ON CAREERS IN HISTORY


RESOURCES ON THE WEB

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Elizabeth Dachowski