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While many professional undergraduate degrees lead to jobs directly related to their major, such as engineering, history majors can often choose from many different jobs in a wide range of industries. Whether you want to research, write, educate or consult, you have many different options. Discover what to do with a history major and draw inspiration from this list of careers.
10 history degree jobs
1. Park ranger
National average salary: $14.33 per hour
Park rangers are knowledgeable naturalists and outdoor guides who often have backgrounds in history. If you're seeking careers with a history degree that allow you to work at historical sites by sharing information with patrons, becoming a park ranger might be a good fit for you. As a park ranger, you might oversee the visitor center for a historical site, lead guided tours through a historic building or complex or prepare materials for visitors to consume.
Since county, state and national parks host many of the available positions in this field, park rangers have access to some of the best history degree jobs in government settings. If you'd rather work for a private or public organization, you can find select park ranger jobs at historical non-profits as well.
National average salary: $52,389 per year
Museums specialize in displaying and interpreting historical artifacts. When you work at a museum, you'll get hands-on experience with art, artifacts and historical documents, no matter which role you decide to pursue. Museum archivists also appraise and research artifacts, and they often take responsibility for storage and preparation as well.
Archivists excel at organization and use databases and classification systems to track important objects and records. Museum curators acquire objects and build collections of artifacts or artwork for their institutions. They design exhibitions for the public or select groups to view, and they may also research or write about historical topics.
National average salary: $56,275 per year
With your history degree, you likely developed abilities in finding information and analyzing sources. Librarians use these skills to help patrons find content, resources, research books and other publications as well as answer customer questions. You may also build databases for patrons and institutions or curate collections based on certain topics. Librarians also sometimes offer educational programs or teach patrons how to use tools and resources.
If you pursue a career as a librarian, you could work for a school or university, a highly specialized institution or a public organization. Depending on their areas of specialty and the types of history majors they employ, libraries may hire for entry-level history jobs or for advanced positions that require a Master's Degree in Library Science. Librarians who can easily adapt to the latest technology are more competitive candidates as research shifts toward the digital sphere.
National average salary: $56,366 per year
As you author research papers and historical essays for your degree, you will build skills in conducting research, communicating facts and sharing historical information in an engaging way. Jobs in writing and editing could be a good fit for using your history knowledge and writing skills.
You can become a nonfiction writer who specializes in select historical figures, events or locations, or a novelist who uses the past as inspiration for fictional stories. You can also handle speech writing for politicians and other leaders or pursue content writing for magazines and digital publications. If you excel at conceptualizing stories and perfecting the content that others have written in this field, seeking a career as an editor could be an option as well.
National average salary: $70,134 per year
Business consultants with a specialty in history commonly advise museums, institutions or historical sites. In this type of role, you'll serve as an expert on a specific topic, such as archives and preservation, or a certain time period, such as the prehistoric era or the Civil War.
As a consultant, you'll contract your services on a per-project basis, working for different organizations for weeks, months or years at a time. Since consultants lend their expertise and take on leadership roles, they have high earning potential. Because many organizations have funding that's too limited for full-time hires but sufficient for project-based contractors, historical consultants may find substantial job growth in the next few years.
National average salary: $73,352 per year
Paralegals and legal assistants provide support for attorneys and law offices. In this role, your history degree can help you excel at legal research, gathering and analyzing evidence and drafting legal documents. You might also file briefs and appeals or review court transcripts. Since most professionals at this level have a bachelor's degree, working as a paralegal can be a great entry-level job for history majors.
As a lawyer, you'll interpret laws and regulations and research and analyze legal precedents. You may also advise clients, represent them in court and argue on their behalf. Whether you work as a defense attorney, a prosecutor or legal counsel, you'll need an advanced degree to supplement your Bachelor of Arts in History. You will also need a J.D. degree from an accredited law school, which typically takes about three years of graduate-level education.
National average salary: $73,587 per year
Professional researchers and market analysts are two of the most popular entry-level jobs for history majors.
As a research assistant, you'll work with a team to uncover information and gather data on specific topics. You will use your analytical and critical thinking skills to make observations and draw conclusions. In this role, you can work in a wide variety of industries and find employment in the public, private and government sectors.
Market analysts monitor trends and developments in a specific market and serve as experts on certain target markets and competitors. You'll collect data, analyze information and translate figures and trends into reports. Having a background in history can be a significant advantage for market analysts and researchers as your learned skills can help you interpret data and find patterns that point to future trends.
National average salary: $74,158 per year
In this profession, you will continue to build and master many of the skills you learned while working toward your history degree, from researching and analyzing to writing and presenting about historical matters of interest.
Professional historians study information from texts and artifacts, tie historical developments together, advise on preservation methods and prepare reports or books on select topics. Historians can work for private businesses, government agencies, nonprofit organizations or individual employers. Many historians travel extensively for their jobs, often if they are required to analyze original documents or artifacts.
While historians often work behind the scenes, many build public personas. For example, historians can publish books, offer presentations and classes or offer guidance to professional groups. Professional historians typically specialize in certain time periods, geographic areas or historical topics, serving as experts in these niches.
National average salary: $37.66 per hour
While many historians write fiction or non-fiction, a history degree can also prepare you for a career as a reporter or journalist. With a degree in history, you'll have a strong understanding of the background of the issues you're covering, which allows you to conduct high-quality investigations.
Although newspapers may be experiencing a decrease in circulation and staff numbers, journalists can still pursue exciting careers in the news industry. Reporters often create investigative content for online and print newspapers, while multimedia journalists often produce video-based stories for news outlets.
Whether you want to pursue full-time or freelance jobs, you can seek out a position as a reporter, correspondent or journalist. Most professionals in this field have a bachelor's degree and relevant experience with writing, reporting and multimedia.
National average salary: $76,135 per year
If you have strong leadership skills and enjoy explaining history concepts to others, teaching could be a good career choice for you. History teachers work at every level of the education system, so you could work as a high school teacher in a public or private school or as a history professor in a state or private university.
High school history teachers typically plan lessons, assist students with assignments and administer tests and assignments to assess student progress. History teachers at this level may work with students in large classes or small groups. They may also take responsibility for working with individual students and communicating with parents.
University professors generally give lectures and meet with college students in small groups. They may also take responsibility for advising students about academic progress and goals. Unlike high school teachers, university professors often pursue history-related research and publish their work in addition to their teaching duties. While high school teachers generally need a bachelor's degree, professors typically need a master's degree or a Ph.D.
Want to learn more about the jobs you can get with a history degree? Explore history degree jobs by industry to find the career path that works for your unique skill set and interests.