When considering a degree in history, your career options may seem limited to history teacher, professional historian or barista at your local coffee shop. In reality, history majors are qualified for a fairly diverse range of careers. This list will cover five potential career paths that history majors may not have considered before.
Information management is one of the core skills that comes with a history degree. Because you are already well-trained in how to properly deal with all manner of documents, a career in the library is often a natural next step. Many historians will go on to complete a short graduate program in library studies or archives management, which allows them to work as archivists, librarians or records managers.
For history majors who enjoy analyzing and evaluating information, a career as a researcher might be a good choice. Historians who become researchers often fill job titles such as public historian, museum researcher, historic preservationist and culture resource professional. In addition, they can also become policy advisers that serve as planners, evaluators and policy analysts. Policy advisors can work in state, local or even federal governments. Historians make excellent researchers and policy advisors, because they have honed their ability think critically and articulate well.
While this may not seem like a logical career path to follow, history majors often excel in the field of law. Years of historical training and critical thinking skills are the ideal preparation for a law student. Many people even say that historians and lawyers see a lot of overlap in their skill set because both must craft persuasive, accurate arguments using historical data to support their premise. Even within the field of law, there are plenty of options. Students can become lawyers or simply support litigators with their research skills by becoming a paralegal. Law school also opens up options for advocacy, public service, grant officers and even positions in the government.
Skills learned while obtaining a history degree can be invaluable to succeeding in the world of business. Historians learn how to track trends, write persuasively, think critically and stay organized, all of which are essential for a business to thrive.
Even if you do not want to start your own business, there will still be a place for you in plenty of markets. Trend tracking is important for product development and financial planning, while writing skills can give you a leg up on the competition in the fields of marketing, advertising and communications. A knack for tracking trends also makes history majors well-suited to careers in the financial sector, such as banking, stock analysis and insurance brokerage.
5. Public Educator
Even if the idea of teaching in a classroom does not appeal to you, there are many avenues to pursue that still allow you to share your knowledge and love for history. For example, educators are an integral part of places like museums and historical sites, where they perform as education directors, curators, guides and interpreters. Other possibilities for this field include public historian, writer, contract archivist and filmmaker.
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As you can see, a degree in history prepares you with an incredibly marketable set of skills that allow you to thrive in a variety of settings. If none of the options outlined above sound appealing, check out the American Historical Association web page devoted to other promising careers that history majors are eligible for.