Historians and Employment Opportunities

Besides, um, teaching history, what employment opportunities are there for those who have formally studied history? I’m sure they are many and myriad, but I haven’t heard of them.

More grad school, mostly. I’m going into library science.

Same here - I start my second semester in a couple of weeks.

But the running joke among my friends who graduated with history degrees the same year as me is that with a history degree you either end up in Banking/accounting or teaching. One of us is a CPA now, I spent several years as an internal auditor, and two others are teaching at the high school level - after getting certified to teach.

Wow. Sounds pretty dismal so far. Although, there is the off chance one might walk around old castles narrating specials for the History Channel.

Note to self: Be sure to double major.

Try the National Park Service. Most national parks are east of the Mississippi River and have more to do with human history than natural science. Competition is tough – even if the job is low pay and a hassle (at times) – and it is a government job.

Of course, with a Masters or a PhD you’ll still be in the same boat as someone with only a Bachelor’s degree starting out. Well, at least it was when I was there.

See http://www.nps.gov/

In spite of the negative stuff, it can be very rewarding. Things to see/do you would never dream. Strange, but interesting people. The visiting public can be the highlight as well as the crap of your job.

But remember, the current presidential administration is very down on government service and especially so with land management agencies. If he gets his way, expect land management agencies to be privatized – meaning very low pay for those who do the work, lower standards of quality service, and big bucks for company owners, all at taxpayer’s expense. Think Yellowstone Disneyland National Park, you want fries with that?

Folks I used to work with doing the everyday stuff are now park superintendents and regional folks. Some might be absorbed by the system, but I know of quite a few in positions genuinely making changes to it.

You get what you put into it.

I know 2 history major’s post-college careers:

The first got a PhD in history from a major university. Worked for a civil defense group for a while, that led to stuff with similar orgs which led to a university alliance position. Then up the university ladder and now is the president of his undergrad alma mater. Never worked a day in his life as a historian.

The second was just a BA in history but right out of college got a job at a famous writer’s house/turned museum. Quite unexpected but I guess miracles happen.