What Can You Do With a History Degree? (With Salaries)
Updated 16 March 2023
History is the study of changes that have occurred over time and covers all aspects of human society. If history is your passion and you choose to major in history, there are many career options available to you upon graduation. Understanding the types of jobs that you can hold in the future with a history degree may help you decide if you want to pursue this degree. In this article, we look at 11 of the possible career options available to you as a history major and find out how much you can earn for each one.
What can you do with a history degree?
The following jobs are career options for history degree holders:
National average salary: $14,481 per month
Primary duties: As a history professor, your job involves educating university undergraduates on history. In addition to teaching students content knowledge, you also equip students with essential skills to prepare them for life after graduation. University professors give lectures and meet with college students in small groups. They often conduct historical research and publish their findings in addition to their teaching role. To become a history professor at a university, it's necessary for you to have a master's degree or a PhD.
2. Park ranger
National average salary: $2,589 per month
Primary duties: Park rangers often combine their background in history with their love for and knowledge of nature. Some rangers become trusted outdoor guides who know the history of historical sites and the impact of that history on the park, the greater area and the country. Park rangers are often in charge of a park's visitor centre and they lead guided tours and prepare materials to educate visitors. You may find a job in national parks or other nature conservation areas and reserves.
National average salary: $4,403 per month
Primary duties: During your studies towards a history degree, you would have developed your skills to find information and analyse sources. These are librarians' skills to help library users find research material, publications, books and other resources. Librarians may also organise and promote educational programmes to people of various ages. Librarians can typically work for a public library, school, university or organisation specialising in history. Libraries may appoint people in entry-level history jobs or in more senior positions that require a post-graduate qualification in Library Science.
National average salary: $5,855 per month
Primary duties: Museums display and interpret historical artefacts. As a museum archivist, you work with artefacts, historical documents and art. You may also be responsible for proper storage and preparation. Museum curators are good at ordering and organising material and information. They use classification systems and databases to trace important objects and records. They work on the design of public exhibitions, conduct research and occasionally write about historical events.
National average salary: $3,469 per month
Primary duties: As a writer or editor who specialises in historical events and facts, you're in an excellent position to use your good research and communication skills to write about historical events in an exciting way. Pursuing a career in writing can be a great way to use and share your knowledge about history. There are many different types of writing that you could specialise in. Some of the possible writer jobs you can have include:
historical fiction novelist
speechwriter for politicians
content writer for magazines
ghostwriter for biographies
National average salary: $5,680 per month
Primary duties: Business consultants with a degree in history often advise museums, institutions or historical sites. You may become an expert on a specific topic, such as archives and preservation, or a particular period, such as the Second World War. Consultants often offer their services as contractors, working for many organisations in a year, depending on the contract periods they enter into. Consultants can earn a decent income especially when they accept leadership roles.
National average salary: $3,587 per month
Primary duties: Many roles in the legal world require further qualifications, but history graduates are suitable for administration and office roles in the legal sector. For example, if you're a legal assistant or paralegal, your history degree may be helpful when you do legal research, draft legal documents and gather historical documents and evidence. Most people at this level have a bachelor's degree and working as a paralegal can be an excellent entry-level job for history majors.
National average salary: $6,596 per month
Primary duties: Researchers or research assistants work with a team to find information and bring data together on particular topics. They use their critical and analytical thinking skills to observe facts and interpret what they see. Market analysts monitor trends and developments in a market and serve as experts on target markets and competitors. They collect data, analyse information and include figures and trends into reports. Having a background in history can be helpful as their skills enable them to interpret data, identify patterns and trends.
National average salary: $4,629 per month
Primary duties: A deep understanding of history and cultural conflicts of the past can help journalists be more sensitive when reporting on current events. A history degree can also inform their understanding of current political and social issues. In addition, the skills that you learn as a history major can help you conduct in-depth investigations to understand the background to the issues you're writing about. Whether in hard copy or digital newspapers, journalists can find exciting careers in the news industry.
National average salary: $2,109 per month
Primary duties: Political assistants often work on their employer's political campaigns. They research issues and formulate the information to tell a story that supports their candidate's vision and campaign. Understanding old and recent history helps them create a compelling and factual narrative that supports the candidate.
11. Media director
National average salary: $9,522 per month
Primary duties: A media director is an individual who plans and manages advertising campaigns for the organisations they're employed by. Although the role of a media director may seem unsuitable for history majors, they may be ideal for this role due to their skill set. History majors often learn to communicate effectively during their course of study and this can translate to an ability to create effective media campaigns.
Why is a history degree important?
History is the study of changes that occurred over time. It's widely applicable as it covers all aspects of human society including political, social, economic, scientific, technological, medical, cultural, intellectual, religious and military elements. History is also a science that tries to understand past events by studying past societies' ways of thinking, their actions and the consequences.
While studying for a history degree, students gain a better understanding of the world in which they live by observing and analysing how people groups acted and behaved over time. By building knowledge and understanding of historical events and trends, they can learn to appreciate current events today.
What skills do history majors have?
Here are some of the skills of history majors:
Communication and writing
A history degree is largely a writing-based degree. As such, history majors hone their writing and communication skills while studying for their degrees. This can translate to excellent written and verbal communication skills once they start working, which can be beneficial for jobs that require strong communicators or writers.
Related: 4 Types of Communication
History majors often have to conduct in-depth research into historical events and documents for their papers. This improves their ability to conduct research and find relevant information on a topic in a short time. Thus, history majors are suitable for roles that require a strong research ability.
When studying for a history degree, undergraduates typically analyse various historical events and present their views in academic papers. Such papers often require undergraduates to think of unique ideas and provide well-reasoned viewpoints. This process can often require deep thinking and careful consideration of different perspectives. As such, history majors graduate with strong critical thinking skills and can often think of unique perspectives and solutions to problems that may have arisen in their workplaces.
Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.
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