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History Major

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History

26,086 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
3,290 Master's Degrees Annually
#20 in Popularity
$64,340 Median Salary

Types of Degrees History Majors Are Getting

The following table lists how many history graduations there were in 2017-2018 for each degree level.

Education Level Number of Grads
Bachelor’s Degree 26,101
Master’s Degree 3,292
Associate’s Degree 2,139
Doctor’s Degree 923
Graduate Certificate 128
Basic Certificate 50
Undergraduate Certificate 11

What History Majors Need to Know

O*NET surveyed people in occupations related to history and asked them what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important for their jobs. The responses were rated on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being most important.

Knowledge Areas for History Majors

According to O*NET survey takers, a major in history should prepare you for careers in which you will need to be knowledgeable in the following areas:

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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

Some of the most crucial abilities to master while a history student include the following:

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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?

26,101 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
41% Percent Women
24% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities
This is one of the most frequently chosen undergraduate majors. It is the 20th most popular in the country with 26,086 students graduating with a bachelor’s in history in 2018. This major attracts more men than women. About 59% of the graduates in this field are male.

Racial-Ethnic Diversity

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

Racial-Ethnic Diversity of History Students with Bachelor's Degrees
Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 792
Black or African American 1,286
Hispanic or Latino 3,284
White 18,514
International Students 405
Other Races/Ethnicities 1,820

Geographic Diversity

Americans aren’t the only ones with an interest in History. About 1.6% of those with this major are international students. The most popular countries for students from outside the country are:

  • China
  • Canada
  • United Kingdom
  • South Korea
  • India

How Much Do History Majors Make?

Bachelor’s Degree Starting Salary

Data from the U.S. Department of Education shows that history students who graduated in 2015-2017 with a bachelor’s degree 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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250K
Median Salary for a High School Graduate  ( 30000 to 57900 )
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250K
Median Salary for a Bachelor's Degree Holder  ( 45600 to 99000 )
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250K
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. Whatever the case may be, pursuing more education usually means that more career options will be available to you.

How much schooling do you really need to compete in today’s job market? People currently working in careers related to history have obtained the following education levels.

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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 the 2017-2018 academic year, 1,496 schools offered some type of history program. 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) 22 1
Certificate (1-2 years) 7 0
Certificate (2-4 Years) 1 0
Associate’s Degree 218 32
Bachelor’s Degree 41 6
Post-Baccalaureate 22 1
Master’s Degree 427 30
Post-Master’s 15 0
Doctor’s Degree (Research) 181 1
Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice) 1 0
Doctor’s Degree (Other) 0 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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References

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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