Top 10 Jobs for History Majors

What to Do With a Degree in History

Studying the history of Ancient Egypt
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Do you enjoy learning about history and perhaps are even considering majoring in this subject in college? Some people in your life—for example, your parents—may have expressed their concern that you will be unemployable after graduation. Tell them not to worry. There are plenty of jobs for history majors.

Earning a bachelor's degree in history will provide a lot of career choices. In addition to gaining in-depth knowledge about the past, you will acquire the soft skills that many employers value. They include writing, critical thinking, and organizational skills. All are useful regardless of your aspirations, but these attributes are essential in many occupations.

Here are 10 of those careers. While a few of these options require only a B.A. in History, plan to earn a master's degree or doctorate if you want to pursue others. Your undergraduate education will provide an excellent foundation for graduate school.

Historian

Let's begin with the most obvious choice, but far from the only one, for a history major. Historians study personal letters and diaries, newspapers, photographs, and other resources to research the past. They gather, analyze, and interpret information. Historians make presentations and write articles and books on their findings and theories.

Governments, businesses, historical associations, and non-profit organizations employ them. They also teach in colleges and universities. Most jobs require a master's degree or doctorate.

Median Annual Salary (2017): $59,120

Number of People Employed (2016): 3,300

Projected Job Growth (2016-2026): 6 percent (as fast as the average for all occupations)

Projected Job Openings (2016-2026): 200

Archivist

Archivists specialize in acquiring, preserving, and organizing historically significant documents and making them available to those who need to access them. They work for museums, colleges, governments, corporations, and other institutions.

First, earn a B.A. in History. Then continue studying history in graduate school or get a master's degree in library science, archival science, or records management.

Median Annual Salary (2017): $51,760

Number of People Employed (2016): 6,800

Projected Job Growth (2016-2026): 14 percent (faster than the average for all occupations)

Projected Job Openings (2016-2026): 1,000

Attorney

Attorneys, also known as lawyers, represent clients in civil and criminal cases and advise them on legal matters. They research and analyze the facts surrounding those cases.

To pursue this career, earn a law degree after graduating from college. Many law school applicants have history degrees.

Median Annual Salary (2017): $119,250

Number of People Employed (2016): 792,500

Projected Job Growth (2016-2026): 8 percent (as fast as the average for all occupations)

Projected Job Openings (2016-2026): 65,000

Librarian

Librarians make information accessible to the people who need it. They select, organize, and show patrons how to use these materials effectively. To become a librarian, earn a Master's Degree in Library Science (M.L.S.).

Librarians who work in academic, public, school, law, or business libraries will be able to utilize the general skills they acquired through their college major. They are proficient researchers, excellent communicators, have great critical thinking skills, and are adept at explaining things to others. Since academic librarians must be subject specialists, a B.A. in history will provide the required background.

Median Annual Salary (2017): $58,520

Number of People Employed (2016): 138,200

Projected Job Growth (2016-2026): 9 percent (faster than the average for all occupations)

Projected Job Openings (2016-2026): 12,400

Writer or Editor

Writers create content for books and other print publications, as well as online media. Editors select and evaluate material for publication. Writers, of course, must be able to express themselves through the written word, but did you know editors must have that skill as well? Both need excellent research skills too.

Writers or editors of non-fiction content can even choose to specialize in history. Your background will provide a lot of subject material. There is also a big market for historical fiction. If you are creative, use your expertise to write novels.

Median Annual Salary (2017): $61,820 (Writer); $58,770 (Editor)

Number of People Employed (2016): 131,200 (Writer); 127,400 (Editor)

Projected Job Change (2016-2026): 8 percent increase (Writer - faster than the average for all occupations); 1 percent decrease (Editor)

Projected Job Openings (2016-2026): 10,000 (Writer); -1,800 (Editor)

Park Naturalist

Park naturalists, also called park rangers and interpretive specialists, work for the National Park Service, which hires history majors to work in its parks, landmarks, and heritage sites around the United States. They also work in state parks.

Park naturalists teach visitors—children and adults—about a site's history and features. They spend their days guiding travelers on tours, planning and conducting workshops, and answering questions in visitors' centers. Park rangers working in America's national parks and other sites are federal government employees. Those who work in local or state facilities are usually employed by those municipalities.

Median Annual Salary (2017): $61,480

Number of People Employed (2016): 22,000

Projected Job Growth (2016-2026): 5-9 percent (as fast as the average for all occupations)

Projected Job Openings (2016-2026): 2,000

Middle or High School Teacher

A middle or high school teacher instructs students in a particular subject. If you are passionate about sharing your love of history with others, consider becoming a high school or middle school history or social studies teacher. In addition to a degree in history, an education degree may also be required to become a teacher.

Median Annual Salary (2017): $57,720 (Middle School); $59,170 (High School)

Number of People Employed (2016): 630,300 (Middle School); Over One Million (High School)

Projected Job Growth (2016-2026): 8 percent (Both Middle and High School - as fast as the average for all occupations)

Projected Job Openings (2016-2026): 47,300 (Middle School); 76,800 (High School)

Reporter

Reporters investigate and write news stories and deliver them to the public. The research and writing skills you acquired while earning your degree will help you succeed in this career. 

While many employers prefer to hire job candidates who have journalism degrees, some are willing to hire reporters who have majored in other subjects.

Median Annual Salary (2017): $39,370

Number of People Employed (2016): 44,700

Projected Job Change (2016-2026): -10 percent (decline)

Projected Job Decrease (2016-2026): 4,500 fewer jobs

Management Analyst or Consultant

Management analysts help companies become more profitable, improve their efficiency, or successfully change their business structures. Some are self-employed—they are called management consultants—but most management analysts are full-time employees.

How can majoring in history prepare you for this business career? History majors are well schooled in the concept that learning from the past informs the future and can use research skills to learn about a company's history. Your critical thinking skills will allow you to make well-informed decisions about strategies going forward. Earning a master's degree in business (M.B.A.) may allow for career advancement, but your undergraduate history degree will provide many of the skills needed to succeed in this field. 

Median Annual Salary (2017): $82,450

Number of People Employed (2016): 806,400

Projected Job Growth (2016-2026): 14 percent (faster than the average for all occupations)

Projected Job Openings (2016-2026): 115,200

Tour Guide

Tour guides escort groups of travelers on sightseeing excursions and plan educational activities for school-age children. They need to have knowledge about the locations they are exploring, including its history.

While a tour guide doesn't always need a bachelor's degree, having one in history can prove to be extremely valuable. It will be an asset when it comes to gathering information and presenting it to tourists.

Median Annual Salary (2017): $25,770

Number of People Employed (2016): 46,000

Projected Job Growth (2016-2026): 10-14 percent (faster than the average for all occupations)

Projected Job Openings (2016-2026): 8,700