When most students elect to major in history, their decision is mostly influenced by their interest in the subject rather than their future career goals. Often after completing their degree, history graduates are unsure what career pathway to pursue.
While history students might find it difficult to see how they can succeed outside of their field, a degree in the subject opens up many opportunities in a variety of sectors and industries.
Our guide will provide an overview of the skills that you can gain in a history degree, in addition to the variety of roles that you can comfortably fill thanks to majoring in the subject.
Why are history graduates so employable?
Even though it may not be obvious at first, history majors are highly valued employees in a variety of sectors. This is because the skills that they have gained on their course are easily transferrable into the work environment.
For example, throughout their degrees, history students have to analyze a variety of historical sources and process the information in order to construct a thorough argument. More importantly, they are able to do so by communicating conclusions in a comprehensive manner.
Employers will not only appreciate your ability to analyze data that you are presented, but they will admire your capacity to present research findings to different audiences, including to co-workers, other companies, and to the general public.
Students who major in history also have to be able to think critically of the range of arguments that they are presented and research during their program. Being critical allows history graduates to gain a holistic view of the different discussions that take place in the workplace and thus choose the best option for their organization or company.
Furthermore, during their studies, history students will often find themselves having to tackle assignments independently with little contact time with professors and tutors. Acquiring this skill will allow employers to trust you to carry out various tasks individually.
The transferrable skills that you have acquired on your history degree will be invaluable when you start forging your chosen career pathway.
What career pathways can I pursue with a history degree?
Whether it is related to their major or not, history graduates can enter a wide variety of fields thanks to the skills that they have gained on their course.
Are you passionate about history and want to explore the past further? For most history enthusiasts who want to continue their research or stay in the field, becoming a historian or history professor is the most conventional route.
This usually involves studying history at a post-graduate level for two years to obtain a master’s degree, which is followed by the completion of a Ph.D.
It may take up to 4 years to earn your doctorate. However, after obtaining it you will have the opportunity to get paid to conduct your own research in a field that you are passionate about, all the while inspiring the next generation of historians through teaching.
Working in museums and at heritage sites
Are you interested in continuing to work with history, but you are not necessarily keen on working in academia?
If the answer is yes to the question above, you might want to consider positions in a museum as a curator or an archivist.
While archivists are responsible for making sure that artefacts and historical documents are well preserved and available for researchers outside of the collection, curators are the ones who design exhibitions in museums.
By being a specialist in a particular field, you are able to assist researchers and academics with their work and create exhibitions that tell the story of a particular historical period in the most informative and objective manner possible.
Heritage sites also offer plenty of opportunities for history graduates. If you have an interest in education, it may be worth considering this route as it allows you to teach about a historical site to visitors.
The National Park Service in particular has been increasing the number of history majors they hire, especially those who have specialized in Native American history. These roles would be chiefly suitable for those who are also keen on spending time outdoors.
➔ READ MORE: What’s it like to work in a museum or gallery?
Opportunities in marketing and advertising
As mentioned previously, the skills you have gained on your history degree are transferrable to other fields. One of the most important skills that you will have gained on your course is the ability to carry out extensive research independently.
This trait will make you an attractive candidate for the marketing and advertising departments of businesses. You could be at the heart of a company’s marketing campaigns, researching how to best reach out to potential customers.
Working in the media
Throughout your history degree, you will have been given plenty of essay assignments. By the end of your course, you will have successfully mastered the art of writing, which would put you in a good position to apply for positions in the media.
Your ability to write long pieces of texts and present arguments in a comprehensive manner will allow you to succeed in journalism and produce press releases for organizations and businesses.
You may find it difficult to see what you can do with your history degree after graduation, but as we have shown, there are plenty of opportunities out there for you in a variety of fields.