What to Do With a Degree in History

Top 10 Jobs for History Majors

Studying the history of Ancient Egypt
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Do you enjoy learning about the past? You may have even thought about getting a degree in history but dismissed the idea because you are worried you won't be able to find a job after you graduate. Many people don't think there are a lot of career options with this college major. They are wrong. You will be able to get a job. Tell your parents not to worry.

Earning a bachelor's degree in history will prepare you for a wide array of occupations.

Through your studies, you will acquire many soft skills including writing, critical thinking, and organizational skills. These are all good to have regardless of what you do, but they essential in many occupations.

Here are 10 of those careers. To enter some, you will need no more than your B.A. in History. An advanced degree is required to pursue the others. Your undergraduate education will provide a wonderful foundation for graduate school.

Historian

Let's begin with the most obvious choice, but far from the only one, for a history major. Historians study personal letters and diaries, newspapers, photographs, and other resources to research the past. They gather, analyze, and interpret information. Historians make presentations and write articles and books on their findings and theories.

Governments, businesses, historical associations, and non-profit organizations employ them. They also teach in colleges and universities.

Most jobs require a master's degree or doctorate.

Archivist

Archivists specialize in acquiring, preserving, and organizing historically significant documents and making them available to those who need to access them. They work for museums, colleges, governments, corporations, and other institutions.

After you complete your B.A. in History, you will have to get a master's degree. You can continue your education in history, or you can study library science or archival science in graduate school.

Attorney

Attorneys, also known as lawyers, represent clients in civil and criminal cases and advise them on legal matters. They research and analyze the facts surrounding those cases.

If you want to pursue this career, you will have to earn a law degree after you graduate from college. Many law school applicants have history degrees.

Librarian

Librarians make information accessible to the people who need it. They select, organize, and show patrons how to use these materials effectively. To become a librarian you will have to earn a Master's Degree in Library Science (M.L.S.).

Librarians who work in academic, public, school, law, or business libraries will be able to utilize the general skills they acquired through their college major. They are proficient researchers, excellent communicators, have great critical thinking skills, and are adept at explaining things to others. Since academic librarians must be subject specialists, a B.A. in history will provide the required background.

Writer or Editor

Writers create content for books and other print publications, as well as for online media.

Editors select and evaluate material. You know, of course, that writers must be able to write, but did you know editors must have that skill as well? Both need excellent research skills too.

If you want to write or edit non-fiction content, you can even choose to specialize in history. Your background will provide you with a lot of subject material. There is also a big market for historical fiction. If you are creative, you can use your background to write novels.

Park Ranger

Park rangers, also called park naturalists and interpretive specialists, work in national, state, and local parks. One employer, the U.S. National Park Service, hires history majors to work in their parks, landmarks, and heritage sites around the country.

Park rangers teach visitors—children and adults—about a site's history and features.

They spend their days guiding travelers on tours, planning and conducting workshops, and answering questions in visitors' centers. Park rangers working in America's national parks and other sites are federal government employees. Those who work in local or state facilities are usually employed by those municipalities.

Secondary School Teacher

A secondary school teacher instructs students in a particular subject. If you are passionate about sharing your love of history with others, consider becoming a high school or middle school history or social studies teacher.

You will most likely have to earn a degree in education before you can become a teacher. If you already have a degree in history, find out what you have to do to teach in the state in which you want to work. Use CareerOneStop's License Finder to get this information.

Reporter

Reporters investigate and write news stories and deliver them to the public. The research and writing skills you acquired while earning your degree will help you succeed in this career. 

While many employers prefer to hire job candidates who have journalism degrees, some are willing to hire reporters who have majored in other subjects.

Management Analyst or Consultant

Management analysts help companies become more profitable, improve their efficiency, or successfully change their business structures. Some are self-employed—they are called management consultants—but most management analysts are full-time employees.

How can majoring in history prepare you for this business career? History majors are well schooled in the concept that learning from the past informs the future. Your research skills will help you learn about a company's history. Your critical thinking skills will allow you to make well-informed decisions about strategies going forward. While you may eventually want to earn a master's degree in business (M.B.A.), your undergraduate history degree will give you many of the skills you need to succeed in this field. 

Tour Guide

Tour guides escort groups of travelers on sightseeing excursions. They plan educational activities for school-age children. They need to have knowledge about the area they are exploring, including its history.

While a tour guide doesn't always need a bachelor's degree, having one in history can prove to be extremely valuable. It will be an asset when it comes to gathering information and presenting it to tourists.