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What Does it Take to Be an Archivist?

Job Description: Appraise, edit, and direct safekeeping of permanent records and historically valuable documents. Participate in research activities based on archival materials.

What do Archivists do On a Daily Basis?

  • Establish and administer policy guidelines concerning public access and use of materials.
  • Prepare archival records, such as document descriptions, to allow easy access to information.
  • Authenticate and appraise historical documents and archival materials.
  • Create and maintain accessible, retrievable computer archives and databases, incorporating current advances in electronic information storage technology.
  • Coordinate educational and public outreach programs, such as tours, workshops, lectures, and classes.
  • Provide reference services and assistance for users needing archival materials.

What an Archivist Should Know

When polled, Archivists say the following skills are most frequently used in their jobs:

Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Writing: Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

  • Archives and Historical Documents Director
  • Digital Archivist
  • Curator
  • Records Manager
  • Curatorial Specialist

Are There Job Opportunities for Archivists?

There were about 6,800 jobs for Archivists in 2016 (in the United States).

New jobs are being produced at a rate of 14.3% which is lower than average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 1,000 new jobs for Archivists by 2026. Due to new job openings and attrition, there will be an average of 800 job openings in this field each year.

Forecasted Number of Jobs for Archivists in U.S.

The states with the most job growth for Archivists are New York, Missouri, and Florida.

Watch out if you plan on working in Wyoming, Vermont, or Oklahoma. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Archivist Average Salary

The salary for Archivists ranges between about $30,440 and $90,830 a year. An Archivist median salary is $52,240.

Salary Ranges for Archivists

Below is a list of the median annual salaries for jobs of this type in different U.S. states.

Annual Mean Salary by State
State Annual Mean Salary

District of Columbia

$74,860

California

$72,240

Maryland

$67,360

New Jersey

$67,110

Texas

$66,120

Georgia

$64,160

Massachusetts

$63,270

Illinois

$63,200

Connecticut

$62,910

Rhode Island

$59,520

Arkansas

$59,480

Washington

$56,690

New York

$56,270

Virginia

$55,400

Pennsylvania

$52,800

Michigan

$52,380

North Carolina

$51,960

Missouri

$51,410

Colorado

$51,080

Alabama

$50,790

Wisconsin

$47,800

Minnesota

$46,700

Ohio

$46,610

Vermont

$46,610

Maine

$46,440

New Mexico

$46,420

Florida

$46,370

Delaware

$46,080

Louisiana

$45,480

Kentucky

$44,410

Arizona

$43,890

Oregon

$43,470

Kansas

$42,860

South Carolina

$42,530

Oklahoma

$41,790

Indiana

$40,920

Montana

$38,870

Tennessee

$38,430

Utah

$34,400

What Tools & Technology do Archivists Use?

Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Archivists:

  • Adobe Systems Adobe Photoshop
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Adobe Systems Adobe Acrobat
  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft Access
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Hypertext markup language HTML
  • Extensible markup language XML
  • Microsoft Excel

Where do Archivists Work?

Archivist Sectors

You May Also Be Interested In…

Those thinking about becoming Archivists might also be interested in the following careers:

  • Library Technicians
  • Survey Researchers
  • Graduate Teaching Assistants

References

Bureau of Labor Statistics

College Factual

O*NET Online

Image Credit: Via Wikimedia Commons

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