Careers for Students of History
Information from the AHA's Careers for Students of History
Note: the below information is strictly confined to ways you can use a history degree to become a historian, with or without teaching. It is important to bear in mind that there is nothing about a history degree that restricts you to being a historian. The skills that you must have in order to excel in Bucknell's history program--being able to read, comprehend, and synthesize information--are applicable in many different fields. As you can see from the preceding page, Bucknell history graduates go into quite diverse fields, and you can, too.
You can teach at a primary or secondary school with a bachelor's degree.
You can teach at a college or university, but:
-- You will almost definitely need a Ph.D.
-- The job market is highly competitive.
There is more demand for scholars in areas such as Asian, Pacific Rim, African, Middle Eastern, Atlantic World, and Latin American history, as well as issues of gender, race, ethnicity, and political economy.
It is beneficial to get involved in professional organizations.
You can be a museum professional, such as:
-- A marketer.
-- A designer.
-- A fundraiser.
-- A photographer.
-- A data processor.
-- A curator (Ph.D usually required).
For jobs other than curator, an MA and three years' experience is usually required. Internships and volunteering are quite helpful in this regard.
For more information, visit Museum Job Resources Online.
You can work in editing and publishing:
-- By helping prepare documentary editions (especially if you have an aptitude and interest in computing).
-- By doing scholarly editing and publishing.
A BA can get you an entry-level job, but further education in the mechanics of editing and publishing is usually required for advancement.
For more information, visit the Association for Documentary Editing.
You can work in archives.
-- What kind of research could historians do without archives?
-- Corporations also commonly have archives.
-- Many archivists help present information to the public.
An MA is usually required.
For more information, visit the Society of American Archivists.
You can work in historical preservation.
-- This field involves working to identify, evaluate, preserve, and interpret historically and culturally significant sites.
-- Professionals commonly work with federal agencies, but there are also state, local, and private nonprofit organizations.
Qualifications vary, but an MA in historic preservation (often available at large public universities) can be very useful.
For more information, see articles by George W. McDaniel and Antoinette J. Lee in Public History: Essays from the Field.
You can be a consultant or contractor.
-- This is ideal for historians with a sense of adventure, or for those who prefer flexibility and a variety of projects.
-- This is a growing field, with professionals who perform almost all the jobs described above
-- Common areas in the job market include preservation/land use, museums, archives, and the media.
A strong foundation in history is definitely necessary, and familiarity with the bidding process is also useful.
For more information, visit the Association of Cultural Resource Agencies.