What Can I do With a Major in History?

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It’s true: a bachelor’s degree in history won’t specifically prepare you for a particular type of career. Many history majors have parents, friends, and advisors who suggest that they should pursue a more ‘marketable’ degree that will directly prepare them for work in a specific occupation. And though those people aren’t necessarily wrong, it’s safe to say that they don’t see the big picture of what a history degree has to offer.

Courses in history teach students to consume long documents, write effective arguments, and analyze statistical data. These skills are required in many occupations, and it should come as no surprise that many history majors end up working as lawyers and writers. The extensive reading and writing requirements do a good job of preparing students for careers in those occupations. What might surprise you is that many history majors are actually premed students, who supplement their liberal arts degree with courses in the sciences.

Only a small minority of history majors go on to become historians. Becoming a historian requires additional education in graduate school. And though many history majors do attend graduate school, most go on to study other subjects.

The simple truth is this: for most people in the working world, the degree they earn in college is pretty much irrelevant within a few years of graduation. Once you snag your first entry level job, the rest tends to flow pretty naturally. And the best way to ensure a happy life is to always follow your passions (it’s ok if they change).

Careers for History Majors

Here is a list of some of the careers most highly related to the skills that knowledge that history majors learn. Note: this is by no means a complete list. History majors go on to work in every imaginable industry, and work in too many occupations to list.

Occupation Median Salary Median Hourly Current jobs Outlook Required Education
Anthropologist $54,230 $26.07 5,790 Good Master’s degree
Archaeologist $54,230 $26.07 5,790 Good Master’s degree
Archivist $45,200 $21.73 6,300 Normal Master’s degree
Curator $48,450 $23.29 11,710 Good Master’s Degree
Editor $51,470 $24.75 129,600 Normal Bachelor’s Degree
Elementary School Teacher $51,660 $24.84 1,549,520 Good Bachelor’s Degree
High School Teacher $53,230 $25.59 1,109,500 Good Bachelor’s Degree
Historian $67,090 $32.25 4,050 Normal Master’s Degree
Kindergarten Teacher $48,800 $23.46 179,520 Normal Bachelor’s Degree
Lawyer $112,760 $54.21 759,190 Good Law Degree
Legislator $19,260 $9.26 67,700 Normal Bachelor’s Degree
Librarian $54,500 $26.20 159,940 Normal Master’s Degree
Market Research Analyst $60,660 $29.16 249,810 Good Bachelor’s degree
Middle School Teacher $51,960 $24.98 659,460 Good Bachelor’s Degree