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Life As 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and institutional records, newspapers and other periodicals, photographs, interviews, films, electronic media, and unpublished manuscripts, such as personal diaries and letters.

Daily Life Of a Historian

  • Organize information for publication and for other means of dissemination, such as use in CD-ROMs or Internet sites.
  • Coordinate activities of workers engaged in cataloging and filing materials.
  • Advise or consult with individuals and institutions regarding issues such as the historical authenticity of materials or the customs of a specific historical period.
  • Collect detailed information on individuals for use in biographies.
  • Trace historical development in a particular field, such as social, cultural, political, or diplomatic history.
  • Research the history of a particular country or region, or of a specific time period.

Historian Needed Skills

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.

  • Historian Developer
  • State Historical Society Director
  • Genealogist Researcher
  • Research Historian
  • Historian

Historian Employment Estimates

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. There will be an estimated 300 positions for Historian per year.

Forecasted Number of Jobs for Historians in U.S.

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.

What is the Average Salary of a Historian

Historians make between $29,270 and $110,670 a year.

Salary Ranges for Historians

Historians who work in District of Columbia, Colorado, or California, make the highest salaries.

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

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $67,870
California $88,770
Colorado $79,100
District of Columbia $107,440
Florida $60,510
Georgia $67,000
Illinois $64,050
Kentucky $50,270
Maryland $76,300
Massachusetts $69,300
Michigan $63,170
Mississippi $41,090
Missouri $49,740
Nebraska $63,690
New Jersey $76,320
New Mexico $71,800
New York $32,640
North Carolina $68,840
Ohio $74,090
Oklahoma $58,900
Pennsylvania $63,590
Texas $66,170
Utah $70,310
Virginia $80,480
Washington $74,530

Tools & Technologies Used by Historians

Below is a list of the types of tools and technologies that Historians may use on a daily basis:

  • 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
  • QuarkXPress
  • Statistical analysis software
  • Scanning software
  • Text mining software
  • Audio editing software
  • Digital mapping software

How to Become a Historian

Education needed to be a Historian:

Historian Degree Level

What work experience do I need to become a Historian?

Historian Work Experience

Who Employs Historians?

Historian Sectors

The table below shows some of the most common industries where those employed in this career field work.

Historian Industries


Image Credit: Abraham Ortelius via public domain

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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