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Careers in History

 
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Many people think the only career option available to individuals with a history degree is teaching. While your degree will allow you to teach at a variety of levels, including community colleges and universities depending on what level of degree you obtain, you can also work in local, state, or national museums as a curator, guide, archivist, or consultant. Many large companies will hire historians to research the history of their field or the company itself. If you enjoy research, you may opt to be a research scholar, writing articles and books to further the field of history as a whole.

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Useful Skills within the History Field

Listening - Paying attention to what other people are saying, and taking time to understand the points being made.

Managing Time
- Allocating and budgeting your time for different tasks so that things get done when needed.

Reading Comprehension
- The ability to understand complex written paragraphs, instructions, or reports.

Reasoning
- Using logic to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Social Perceptiveness
- Being aware of the reactions of others, and understanding why they react the way they do.

Speaking
- Talking, giving speeches, or speaking in a group to convey information, explain ideas, or give instructions.

Teaching
- Teaching others how to do something.

Writing and Authoring
- Composing and communicating your ideas in written form.

Decision Making
- Weighing out the options in a situation or a problem and logically choosing the best course of action.

Problem Solving
- Ability to identify a problem, review related information, develop and evaluate options, and implement a solution.

Helping
- Actively looking for ways to help people.

Managing People
- Assigning duties to others, motivating them, and evaluating their performance. 

 
Careers


Career Options

To identify what education or training is typical for careers within the history field, use the O*Net hyperlinks below and click on “Job Zone.” In addition, seek out the advice of fellow students and alumni working in the industry using our mentoring program on The Quad (for current students and alumni only) or speak with a career coach. 

As with all majors, the education you receive serves as a foundation of knowledge that prepares you for what you may face in the professional world. The career field you chose may require additional education or experience.

Archivist
Credit Checker
Curator
Ethnic and Cultural Studies Teacher
Historian
History Teacher
Intelligence Specialist

Librarians
Management Analyst
Museum Technicians and Conservators
Park Naturalist
Political Science Teacher
Tour Guide
Tutor

Career Spotlight: Genealogist

A genealogist is an individual who possesses the specialized skills that are required to assist people in finding information on a person, family member, or ethnic group. Genealogists are able to work at libraries, private companies such as Ancestry.com, Family Search, and AfricanAncestry.com, historical societies and organizations, and for themselves as entrepreneurs.

How to become a Genealogist: 

Get Educated: Research university-based programs and local genealogical societies to learn more about the industry, typical educational requirements, internship opportunities, and tips and tricks for succeeding in the field:

  • Guide to Family History Research
  • The Researcher’s Guide to American Genealogy by Val D. Greenwood.
  • The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Genealogy by Christine Rose and Kay Germain Ingalls
  • How To Do Everything Genealogy by George G. Morgan

Gain Experience: Take an internship with your local historical society or volunteer at a local museum to support research.

Get Connected: Join networking sites like LinkedIn to connect with professionals working in the industry, stay up-to-date on what subjects are popular to research, join professional organizations, and read literary publications.

You may further your knowledge in the field by preparing for certification through the Board for Certification of Genealogists.

Getting Started: Internships

Gaining real-life experience is an ideal way to start a new career. Below are government-organized internship programs which provide students or recent graduates the opportunity to gain experience. Many require students to maintain either a half-time or a full-time status. The best way to identify potential opportunities such as these is to contact branch offices directly, search USAJobs.gov, or look at the agencies career portal. Keep in mind that these positions are not always posted online, so direct contact with the agency is key. 

Pathways
The Pathways Program is a federal initiative that offers internship programs for current students as well as training and career development opportunities for recent graduates. Recent graduates must apply within two years of degree or certificate completion (except for veterans; due to their military service obligation, they have up to six years to apply). The internship program for current students replaces the former Student Career Experience Program (SCEP) and Student Temporary Employment Program (STEP).

The Presidential Management Fellows Program (PMF)
PMF is designed to attract outstanding federal service members from a wide variety of academic disciplines who have a clear interest in, and commitment to, a career in the analysis and management of public policies and programs. To be eligible, an individual must be a graduate student completing or expected to complete, during the current academic year, an advanced degree. Graduate students who have had their degree conferred in the preceding two years from the opening of the vacancy announcement are also eligible for PMF. 

The Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP)
WRP is coordinated by the Office of Disability Employment Policy and the U.S. Department of Defense, and aims to provide summer work experience and, in some cases, full-time employment to college students with disabilities. The program develops partnerships with other federal agencies, each of which makes a commitment to provide summer jobs and a staff recruiter. Each year, recruiters interview about 1,500 students with disabilities at college and university campuses across the nation and develop a database listing the qualifications of each student.

Getting Hired: Government Agencies, Organizations, and Search Engines

There are several government agencies and organizations that seek candidates with degrees in history. The below list provides a few example places one might find employment using their degree along with some sample position titles to provide a glimpse of the possibilities.

Agency
Air Force Personnel Center
Army Installation Management Command
Bureau of Land Management 
Bureau of Prisons
Central Intelligence Agency
Federal Bureau of Investigation
National Archives and Records Administration
National Park Service
Naval Facilities Engineering Command
Organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Smithsonian Institute
U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
U.S. Department of Defense Education Activity

Example Positions Within Those Agencies
Analyst - Numerous Types
Archaeologist
Archivist
Clerk
Heritage Program Education Specialist
Historian
Immigration Services Officer
Intelligence Analyst
Intelligence Specialist
Library Technician
Museum Specialist
Museum Technician
Park Guide
Research Specialist
Supervisor of Teachers
Teacher

While many of the major job search engines will have positions in several fields to choose from, the list below is specific to the history field.

The American Alliance of Museums (AAM)
American Historical Association
Chronicle Careers
History News Network (HNN)
H-Net Job Guide
Museum Employment Resource Center (MERC)
The National Council on Public History (NCPH)
Organization of American Historians (OAH) Job Listings Online
Society of American Archivists (SAA)

Certifications

As in many fields, there are several certifications that individuals may obtain in order to make themselves more competitive and marketable in the job search process. Please note that these certifications are not provided by APUS nor can they be obtained through the completion of one of our certificates or degree programs (graduate or undergraduate).

Genealogy

Board for Certification of Genealogists
International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists

Archivist

The Academy of Certified Archivists

Teaching

U.S. Department of Education (contact information for each State Education Agency)

  
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Keeping Current: Professional Organizations and Associations
Conferences and Expositions

AAHM Meeting
May 4-6, 2017
Nashville, Tenn.

AAUP Annual Conference
June 14-18, 2017
Washington, D.C.

ASECS Annual Meeting
March 30-April 2, 2017
Minneapolis, Minn.

AAH Meeting
2017 TBD

NCSS Conference
Dec. 2-4, 2016
Washington, D.C.

OAH/NCPH Annual Meeting
April 6-9, 2017
New Orleans, La.

SHEAR Annual Conference
July 21-24, 2016
New Haven, Conn.

Society for Military History Annual Meeting
March 30-April 2, 2017
Jacksonville, Fla.

Get Connected: Social Media and Publications

A login may be required for access to social media.

History and Military History Programs- LinkedIn
Association for the Study of African American Life and History- Facebook
Organization of American Historians- Facebook

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