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History Major

32,455 yearly degrees
#38 in popularity
$64,000 median salary

History is a major that typically falls into the History category.

There are 218 programs available throughout the country that offer an associate’s degree in history, 1,409 that offer a bachelor’s degree, and 427 that offer a master’s degree. There are also at least 182 schools in the nation where you can get your doctorate degree in the field.

Who Is Getting a History Degree?

This is one of the most frequently chosen college majors. It is the 20th most popular in the country with 26,800 students graduating with a bachelor’s in history in 2017. This major attracts more men than women. About 58.5% of the graduates in this field are male.

Racial Distribution

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

  • Asian: 3%
  • Black or African American: 4.9%
  • Hispanic or Latino: 12.6%
  • White: 70.9%
  • Non-Resident Alien: 1.6%
  • Other Races: 7%
History Majors Ethnic Diversity Statistics

Americans aren’t the only ones with an interest in history. About 1.6% of those graduating in 2017 were international students. The most popular countries sending history majors to the U.S. are China, Canada and United Kingdom.

What Will You Learn as a History Major?

An O*NET survey asked people with careers related to history to rate how important certain subject areas were to their job. The following are some of the results of that survey. Importance was rated on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being most important.

Knowledge Areas for History Majors

This major prepares you for careers in which these knowledge areas are important:

Important Knowledge Areas for History Majors

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:

Important Skills for History Majors

Abilities for History Majors

A major in history will prepare for your careers in which the following abilities are important:

Important Abilities for history Majors

What Can You Do With a History Major?

Below is a list of occupations associated with history:

Careers Related to History
Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary

Archivists

14.7%

$52,240

Curators

13.7%

$53,780

Compliance Managers

8%

$107,480

Historians

6.1%

$61,140

Regulatory Affairs Managers

8%

$107,480

Security Managers

8%

$107,480

History Professors

10.4%

$74,590

Museum Technicians and Conservators

12.7%

$43,020

Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education

7.5%

$60,320

History Major Salary

Average salaries range from $56,000 to $84,000 for careers related to history. This range includes all degree levels, so the salary for a person with just a bachelor’s degree may be a little less and the one for a person with an advanced degree may be a little more.

To put that into context, the typical high school graduate makes between $29,000 and $57,000 a year. The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $44,000 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,000 and $120,000.

Average Salary for a History Major  ( 56000 to 84000 )
$0
$200k
Average Salary for High School Graduate  ( 29000 to 57000 )
$0
$200k
Average Salary with Bachelor's Degree  ( 44000 to 99000 )
$0
$200k
Average Salary with Advanced Degree  ( 55000 to 120000 )
$0
$200k

The area of the country you choose to work in will also affect your career and salary prospects. Getting a graduate degree may open up more options with higher salary potential.

Amount of Education Required for History Major Jobs

Some careers associated with history require an advanced degree while some may not even require a bachelor’s. 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.

Education Levels for Careers Associated With History
Level of Education Percentage of Workers

Less Than a High School Diploma

0.6%

High School Diploma or Equivalent

1.7%

Post-Secondary Certificate

4.3%

Some College Courses

1.9%

Associate's Degree or Equivalent

3.2%

Bachelor's Degree

35.2%

Post-Baccalaureate Certificate

4%

Master's Degree

33.9%

Post-Master's Certificate

2.8%

First Professional Degree

0.4%

Doctoral Degree

12.3%

Post-Doctoral Training

0.3%

Online History Programs

There are 1,409 colleges that offer a bachelor’s degree in history, with 68 of them offering at least some courses online.

Online learners must listen or watch video lectures, participate in group chats or forums, submit papers and assignments electronically, take tests, and meet deadlines.

Many learners are drawn to online programs due to the ease of use and flexibility. Students should be warned that those who enroll in online programs can take longer to graduate than average and are more likely to drop out.

Is a History Major Worth It?

The median salary for a history grad is $64,000 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 65% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $508,800 after 20 years!

history salary compared to typical high school and college graduates over a 20 year period

References

Bureau of Labor Statistics
National Center for Education Statistics
O*NET Online
Image Credit: Abraham Ortelius via License

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