The Diversification of History Jobs

While the traditional history career remains tied to the academe, there is a growing number of jobs requiring the Ph.D. in History that are developing outside the academe. The same is true of jobs at the B.A. and M.A. levels. While most offer full-time employment in the field of history, a growing number of jobs offer jobs involving historical skills as well as employing the historian in a variety of other roles.


Many jobs have an indirect use for employees with historical skills: a business company needs to organize its archives, a newspaper needs a photographic documentalist, a lawyer needs a land deeds researcher, a medical school will train you in biology, chemistry, etc. and give you full admission, because it values your ability to think critically, which is an essential skill for a diagnostician. Often internships in regional parks or museums start as unpaid, volunteer, part-time endeavors that blossom into full-time jobs. Remember that there is not a unique path to a great career, and that there is not a unique professional track. You may want to try history-related jobs for a while, and then return to the history profession full-time.


As with anything else, there are many ways in which you can use your skills in history. You can use them in a non-history related job (such as management, sales, even farming). You can use them in jobs related to history (such as advocacy for administrative positions in institutions that set standards, advocate, fund, preserve, history, or for historical associations, including public history). Journalism, law, urban planning / renewal, cultural resources management, policy-making, records keeping, documentation and research, especially photographic and material culture documentation, research assistant or publishing, to name a few. Newer professions include historical consultant and digital consultant. Scholars may work independently or for a national, state, or local institution, in academic or non-academic settings. A wide range of jobs are available in the nonprofit, private, and public sectors.


Public history offers another whole range of jobs, in archives (government, libraries, museums, businesses), library and information services, museums, contract work and consulting (business history, industrial history, community history, citations for the National Registry of Historic Sites, grant writing, urban history, oral history, historic preservation, historical administration, local history, and material culture).



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