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History Major

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History

$64,340 Median Salary

Types of Degrees History Majors Are Getting

The following table lists how many history graduations there were in 2019-2020 for each degree level.

Education Level Number of Grads
Bachelor’s Degree 26,120
Master’s Degree 3,202
Associate Degree 2,502
Doctor’s Degree 878
Graduate Certificate 149
Basic Certificate 52
Undergraduate Certificate 2

What History Majors Need to Know

In an O*NET survey, history majors were asked to rate what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important in their occupations. These answers were weighted on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the most important.

Knowledge Areas for History Majors

History majors often go into careers in which the following knowledge areas are important:

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  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
  • Administration and Management - Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • History and Archeology - Knowledge of historical events and their causes, indicators, and effects on civilizations and cultures.

Skills for History Majors

When studying history, you’ll learn many skills that will help you be successful in a wide range of jobs - even those that do not require a degree in the field. The following is a list of some of the most common skills needed for careers associated with this major:

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  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • 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.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Abilities for History Majors

As you progress with your history degree, there are several abilities you should pick up that will help you in whatever related career you choose. These abilities include:

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  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.

What Can You Do With a History Major?

People with a history degree often go into the following careers:

Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary
Archivists 14.7% $52,240
Compliance Managers 8.0% $107,480
Curators 13.7% $53,780
Historians 6.1% $61,140
History Professors 10.4% $74,590
Museum Technicians and Conservators 12.7% $43,020
Regulatory Affairs Managers 8.0% $107,480
Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 7.5% $60,320
Security Managers 8.0% $107,480

Who Is Getting a Bachelor’s Degree in History?

26,120 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
42% Percent Women
26% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities*
This major tends to be male dominated. About 58% of recent graduates are men.

Racial-Ethnic Diversity

At the countrywide level, the racial-ethnic distribution of history majors is as follows:

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Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 880
Black or African American 1,224
Hispanic or Latino 3,528
White 18,148
International Students 451
Other Races/Ethnicities 1,889

Geographic Diversity

History appeals to people across the globe. About 1.7% of those with this major are international students.

How Much Do History Majors Make?

Bachelor’s Degree Starting Salary

The U.S. Department of Education found that students who graduated in 2015-2017 with a bachelor’s degree in history made a median starting salary of $28,200 per year. During this timeframe, most salaries fell between $25,425 (25th percentile) and $31,700 (75th percentile).

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Note that some of these people may have jobs that are not directly related to a history degree.

Salaries According to BLS

Average salaries range from $56,400 to $83,990 (25th to 75th percentile) for careers related to history. This range includes all degree levels, so you may expect those with a more advanced degree to make more while those with less advanced degrees will typically make less.

To put that into context, according to BLS data from the first quarter of 2020, the typical high school graduate makes between $30,000 and $57,900 a year (25th through 75th percentile). The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $45,600 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,600 and $125,400.

Median Salary for a History Major  ( 56400 to 83990 )
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Median Salary for a High School Graduate  ( 30000 to 57900 )
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Median Salary for a Bachelor's Degree Holder  ( 45600 to 99000 )
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Median Salary for an Advanced Degree Holder  ( 55600 to 125400 )
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250K

Some degrees associated with history may require an advanced degree, while others may not even require a bachelor’s in the field. In general, the more advanced your degree the more career options will open up to you. However, there is significant time and money that needs to be invested into your education so weigh the pros and cons.

Find out what the typical degree level is for history careers below.

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Education Level Percentage of Workers
Less than a High School Diploma 0.6%
High School Diploma - or the equivalent (for example, GED) 1.7%
Post-Secondary Certificate - awarded for training completed after high school (for example, in agriculture or natural resources, computer services, personal or culinary services, engineering technologies, healthcare, construction trades, mechanic and repair technologies, or precision production) 4.3%
Some College Courses 1.9%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 3.2%
Bachelor’s Degree 35.2%
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Baccalaureate degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees carrying the title of Master. 4.0%
Master’s Degree 33.9%
Post-Master’s Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Master’s degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees at the doctoral level. 2.8%
First Professional Degree - awarded for completion of a program that: requires at least 2 years of college work before entrance into the program, includes a total of at least 6 academic years of work to complete, and provides all remaining academic requirements to begin practice in a profession. 0.4%
Doctoral Degree 12.3%
Post-Doctoral Training 0.3%

Online History Programs

In 2019-2020, 1,488 schools offered a history program of some type. The following table lists the number of programs by degree level, along with how many schools offered online courses in the field.

Degree Level Colleges Offering Programs Colleges Offering Online Classes
Certificate (Less Than 1 Year) 0 0
Certificate (1-2 years) 7 0
Certificate (2-4 Years) 2 0
Associate’s Degree 226 28
Bachelor’s Degree 54 6
Post-Baccalaureate 0 0
Master’s Degree 428 27
Post-Master’s 14 0
Doctor’s Degree (Research) 177 0
Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice) 0 0
Doctor’s Degree (Other) 1 0

Is a Degree in History Worth It?

The median salary for a history grad is $64,340 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 61% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $488,800 after 20 years!

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You may also be interested in one of the following majors related to history.

Major Number of Grads
Education 310,601
Social Sciences 205,726
Psychology 183,889
Communication & Journalism 121,387
Family, Consumer & Human Sciences 56,273
Area, Ethnic, Culture, & Gender Studies 16,240
Library Science 5,894

References

*The racial-ethnic minorities count is calculated by taking the total number of students and subtracting white students, international students, and students whose race/ethnicity was unknown. This number is then divided by the total number of students at the school to obtain the racial-ethnic minorities percentage.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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