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
- 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 - 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.
To identify what education or training is typical for careers within the History and Military History field, use the O*Net hyperlinks below and click on “Job Zone.”
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.
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.
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 full-time student status. The best ways to identify potential opportunities such as these is to contact branch offices directly, to search USAJobs.gov, or to look at the agencies’ career portals. Keep in mind that these positions are not always posted online, so direct contact with the agency is key.
The Pathways Program is a federal initiative that offers internship programs for current students and 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, will 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 to federal service outstanding men and women 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 for nomination, an individual must be a graduate student completing or expected to complete, during the current academic year, an advanced degree from a qualifying college or university.
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 whom 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.
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.
- 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
- Heritage Program Education Specialist
- Immigration Services Officer
- Intelligence Analyst
- Intelligence Specialist
- Library Technician
- Museum Specialist
- Museum Technician
- Park Guide
- Research Specialist
- Supervisor of Teachers
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.
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).
- Board for Certification of Genealogists
- International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists
- The American Association for State and Local History
- The American Genealogist
- American Historical Association
- The American Historical Review
- The Association for African American Life and History
- Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM)
- The Association of Ancient Historians
- Association of Canadian Archivists (ACA)
- Association of Newfoundland and Labrador Archives (ANLA)
- Association of Professional Genealogists
- Association of Records Managers and Administrators (ARMA)
- Conference of the Inter-Mountain Archivists (CIMA)
- The Genealogist
- Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference (MARAC)
- Midwestern Archivists Conference (MAC)
- National Association of Government Archives and Records Administrators (NAGARA)
- National Council for Social Studies
- National Genealogy Society
- National Genealogical Society Quarterly
- New England Historical and Genealogical Register
- Northwest Archivist (NWA)
- The Society for Military History
- Society of American Archivists (SAA)
- Society of Rocky Mountain Archivists (SRMA)
- Society of Southwest Archivists (SSA)