What Does it Take to Be a Historian?
Historian Definition Research, analyze, record, and interpret the past as recorded in sources, such as government and institutional records, newspapers and other periodicals, photographs, interviews, films, electronic media, and unpublished manuscripts, such as personal diaries and letters.
Life As a Historian: What Do They Do?
- Determine which topics to research, or pursue research topics specified by clients or employers.
- Prepare publications and exhibits, or review those prepared by others, to ensure their historical accuracy.
- Organize information for publication and for other means of dissemination, such as use in CD-ROMs or Internet sites.
- Conduct historical research as a basis for the identification, conservation, and reconstruction of historic places and materials.
- Coordinate activities of workers engaged in cataloging and filing materials.
- Research the history of a particular country or region, or of a specific time period.
Below is a list of the skills most Historians say are important on the job.
Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
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.
Writing: Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Active Learning: Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
Related Job Titles for this Occupation:
- Supervisory Historian
- Historic Preservationist
- State Historical Society Director
- Historic Interpreter
Job Outlook for Historians
In 2016, there was an estimated number of 3,300 jobs in the United States for Historian. New jobs are being produced at a rate of 6.1% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 200 new jobs for Historian by 2026. The BLS estimates 300 yearly job openings in this field.
The states with the most job growth for Historian are South Carolina, Utah, and Colorado. Watch out if you plan on working in New Jersey, Wisconsin, or Washington. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.
Salary for a Historian
Historians make between $29,270 and $110,670 a year.
Historians who work in District of Columbia, Colorado, or California, make the highest salaries.
How much do Historians make in each U.S. state?
|State||Annual Mean Salary|
|District of Columbia||$107,440|
Tools & Technologies Used by Historians
Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Historians:
- Microsoft Excel
- Microsoft Word
- Microsoft Office
- Web browser software
- Email software
- Adobe Systems Adobe Acrobat
- Adobe Systems Adobe Photoshop
- Structured query language SQL
- Extensible markup language XML
- IBM SPSS Statistics
- Adobe Systems Adobe InDesign
- Geographic information system GIS software
- Adobe Systems Adobe Dreamweaver
- Corel WordPerfect
- Statistical analysis software
- Scanning software
- Text mining software
- Audio editing software
- Digital mapping software
Becoming a Historian
Learn what Historian education requirements there are.
How Long Does it Take to Become a Historian?
The table below shows some of the most common industries where those employed in this career field work.
More about our data sources and methodologies.
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