History Degree Careers
A post-secondary degree in history is often considered limited in career options. If you were to ask most people what kind of careers you can get with a history degree, a very small number of the same kind of jobs would come up – university professor, high-school teacher, librarian, historian, or archivist. While these jobs are undoubtedly the ones most often associated with a history degree, they are just the tip of the iceberg. In reality, today’s history majors have a very large array of possible positions in many different fields, ranging from business to politics.
Why does History have so many career options?
The reason why a history degree gives such a large number of career paths is because of the valuable skills it provides. Students learn and refine 6 major skills, usable in almost any facet of human life:
- Research skills
- Writing skills
- Communication skills
- Ability to put forth arguments and ideas in a clear and logical manner
- Thinking and reading critically
- Organizational skills
These skills make history majors very attractive to potential employees. Whether you want to be a politician, who needs to have excellent problem-solving and oral skills, or an archivist, who needs to be able to research, collect, and interpret documents, history provides everything required.
Major Career Options
Below you can find the major career fields for a history major, along with some typical jobs in every field. Keep in mind there is some overlap between these areas, and some suggest an appropriate minor degree to supplement your history major.
These are your obvious history-centric positions, which often require, (or highly suggest) a master’s degree in a history-related subject. History professor, high school history teacher, archivist, researcher, historian, are all positions which fall under this category.
These jobs have everything to do with collecting, analyzing, using and presenting information. As such, they employ practically every one of the major skills outlined above. Possible positions here include journalist, news anchor, reporter, editor, public relations jobs, author, writer, broadcaster and many more. As a final note, an English or writing-related minor to combine with your history major is very helpful here, as it gives you even more specific skills for the field.
Business sounds like an odd place for a history major, but you’d be surprised how many different jobs are available here. Some of the more popular positions are manager, research analyst, sales representative, consultant, lobbyist, corporate historian, marketing and advertiser jobs. Adding in a business-related minor is also very helpful here.
Working for the government requires all of the 6 main skills of a history major. Possible positions here include campaign worker, congressional aide, intelligence agent, lobbyist, politician and clerical jobs. As an interesting fact, a lot of high-level politicians are history majors. Some notable examples include Gordon Brown, the recent Prime Minister of Britain, and a large number of past US presidents, like Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson and George W. Bush. A politics-related minor degree is a good addition for this field.
Law-related jobs require high-level analysis and research skills. Some of the possible positions here include paralegal, lawyer, articling student, secretary, litigation officer, legal assistant, solicitor, and accountant. A complementary political science/economy degree can be useful here to get ahead of other applicants.
If you are thinking about which degree to take in college/university, or want to switch your program to something else, don't underestimate history as a possible candidate. Just make sure you have a general idea of what you want to do with your degree after your 4 (or 6, for a master's) years of post-secondary education. The options are almost limitless.
Interested in the Pros and Cons of Government Jobs? Check out this hub.