College Major of the Month: History
College majors in the humanities or the liberal arts often get a bad rap, but there are plenty of career opportunities for students interested in these traditional subjects. To highlight some of these career opportunities in humanities fields, we’re featuring history as My College Guide’s College Major of the Month.
What can history majors do for a career? A degree in history can prepare you to work for government agencies, museums, archives, historical societies, research organizations and consulting firms. For example, you could be a director of a museum, or you could be an archivist that preserves and displays historical artifacts. Or, you could manage a state or national historic site that’s open to the public.
Additionally, you could work for a government agency to research and provide historical context on current policy issues. You also could become a high school history or social studies teacher.
What education and experience is required for history majors? History majors need to develop strong analytical communication, problem-solving, research and writing skills.
Most historian jobs require you to have at least a master’s degree, although you can get some entry-level positions with a bachelor’s degree. While your bachelor’s degree may be in history, your master’s degree may be in a more specific area such as museum studies, historical preservation or archival management, depending on the career path that interests you.
How much money do history majors make? Historians make a median annual salary of $52,480, while archivists, curators and museum workers make a median annual salary of $44,410, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
How should I prepare in high school to major in history? Take as many AP history, social studies and government classes as you can. Studying a foreign language is also beneficial. Volunteer at your local historical or genealogical society or a local museum to get experience researching historical topics or learning how museums operate. Start developing your research skills by researching your family’s history in old documents, newspapers and more.
What scholarships are available for history majors? College scholarships are available to students majoring in history. Check with national historical organizations, such as the Daughters of the American Revolution or National Society, Sons of the American Revolution for information on scholarships and essay contests. Also check with museums, historical societies and genealogical societies in your area.
Get more advice and information on choosing a major.
Image credit: Courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration (165-SB-62); photo by Timothy H. O’Sullivan. The photo shows the construction of telegraph lines, April 1864, during the Civil War.
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