What Does a Historian Do?
Historians typically work for academic or government institutions to teach or provide scholarly context for current events. They source documents related to past events, conduct interviews with eyewitnesses of key occurrences and research related publications by other academics to build a narrative about history. Historians often specialize in a particular subject and become experts in all of the political, economic, social and cultural aspects of that event or time period. Their job is to convey insights about the past and relate them to the development of society and modern ways of life.
Historian Skills and Qualifications
With a variety of locations and types of employment available, the Historian can have a range of skills that can be helpful depending on the position they have contracted. Some skills will carry across many possible roles.
- Attention to detail: The Historian should have a strong attention to detail in almost every capacity. Whether researching written documents or combing a private collection, the ability to note the slightest detail will enhance their research and uncover a more well-rounded story of the past.
- Determination: The dedication to the role and determination to see it through is important as a Historian. Many answers are difficult to find and can be buried in the past. Sticking to the goal and the determination to find the answers benefits the Historian and will help them to become a better researcher.
- Advanced communication skills: Whether teaching or presenting to museum-goers, the Historian should have strong communication skills. The ability to relay a thought and tell a story is integral in this role in both verbal and written capacities.
Historian Salary Expectations
Historians have a have an average annual salary of $75,762 per year. The lower end of the range can be found when a Historian is employed with a private collector or a small locale. As a Historian for the federal government or the U.S. military, you will find the higher range of pay associated with available positions.
Historian Education and Training Requirements
A bachelor’s degree is the minimum level of education required for many Historian positions. However, almost all Historians have a master’s or doctorate degree in history. It is even encouraged to get more than one post-graduate degree as the bachelor’s degree alone will rarely allow you to teach. With the limited number of jobs available to this specialty, more education will only benefit potential employees.
Historian Experience Requirements
Previous work in the field of history is expected to become a Historian. Internships, volunteer experience and previous employment at a museum are examples of quality experience that can be achieved while still in school. Assisting with historical research or graduate-level research is also considered an acceptable example of previous experience.
Job Description Samples for Similar Positions
This is a job description sample for the Historian position. If doesn’t perfectly fit your open position, additional sample descriptions with a similar position can be found below: