11 Careers for History Lovers that Pay Well [Check Them Out]

careers for history lovers
Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.  George Santayana, Reason in Common Sense, Volume 1


Is the past something that you enjoy learning about?

Studying history can give your career a bright future.

Knowledge of the past can help people make better decisions about their future, which opens many job opportunities.

There are several careers for history lovers which are interesting, pay well, and will allow you to pursue all your other interests.

Many of these career options can be pursued with a 4-year degree in history.


Jobs for History Lovers that Pay Well


#1. Archivist

Numerous organizations employ archivists to catalog, study, and preserve historical items that come into their possession.

Museums are a common place of employment for this career option, but governments, universities, and private collectors will also employ archivists on a regular basis.

Corporations involved with archaeology and preservation will also hire for this position.

Archivists are also asked to make specific items available when requested.

This may mean creating a museum exhibit, offering a corporate presentation, or being a guest teacher for a college-level course.

According to Recruiter.com, an archivist earns an average annual salary of $46,600.

An archivist working in Washington, DC could earn about $75,000 annually.


#2. Librarian

Being a historian means presenting information to people in a way that is interesting and applicable.

One of the places where this happens the most is at the library.

A history major can earn a job working as a front-line librarian, especially in large libraries where an entire section may be devoted to history.

To oversee a library or a network of libraries, it may be necessary to pursue a graduate degree in history or library science.

Libraries are available to the public in several different ways.

Many universities have a library available for their students.

Public libraries are in most communities.

Specialty libraries, for business or law studies, are also available.

According to Salary.com, a librarian earns an annual salary which averages $60,395.

Top librarians may earn a salary above $70,000 per year, while entry-level librarians may earn around $45,000 each year.


#3. Writer

Thanks to modern publishing methods, it is possible for every history lover to become a published author.

As a history writer, you could create your own content, publish e-books, and offer your work freelance to print and digital media.

You could also work with an agent and try to become published by one of the top New York-based publishers.

Your education as a history major makes it possible for you to write non-fiction or historical fiction, giving you more avenues toward publication success than other career fields.

Some print media organizations will hire historians for research positions as well, allowing you to work as both an archivist and a writer in the same position.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, entry-level writers earn a salary of $29,390.

The average salary for writers in all genres is just over $61,000.

Because this is a product-based career, there is also an unlimited earning potential.

It is also possible to work part-time as a writer while holding a full-time job with one of these careers for history lovers to supplement your income.


#4. Historian

If you earn a degree in history, then it makes sense to find work as a historian.

Many historians are employed to study newspaper archives, old photographs, personal letters, diary entries, government documents, and any other form of information from the past.

Then this information is analyzed and interpreted to glean facts that can help others gain insights into the data which was studied.

Historians will often make presentations, compose articles, write books, and publish scholarly content regarding their findings or theories about the past.

Non-profit organizations, historical groups and associations, and government associations hire historians frequently.

Colleges and universities may employ historians as well.

Some positions in this career category may require a graduate or doctorate degree to be considered for employment.

According to Indeed, a historian can earn an average annual salary of $62,091 per year.

Government positions tend to pay more in this career opportunity, with salary options exceeding $120,000 annually for the US Department of Justice.


#5. Teacher/Professor

Studying history means finding interesting facts that can be taught to others.

Sometimes that means the best career opportunity for a history major is to become a teacher.

With a history degree and a teaching certificate, it is possible to become a teacher at virtually any level of a public or private educational system.

History teachers are hired for middle schools, high schools, and upper-level learning.

To find work as a history professor, it may be necessary to earn a graduate degree in history.

For graduate-level teaching, a doctorate will often be required.

Working as a history teacher allows you to share what you love with others.

Some jurisdictions may require a license to teach in addition to having a certificate and a degree.

The salary which can be earned through teaching depends on which educational level you choose.

According to Glassdoor, middle school and high school history teachers earn an average salary of $49,032.

The American Historical Association lists the annual salary of a full professor in history at $82,354.


#6. Tour Guide

Many historical buildings and museums offer visitors a guided tour of their facilities.

This helps people better understand the exhibits on display or the historical significance of the location and what happened there.

Some tour guides may be asked to create educational courses or activities for visitors to enjoy.

This is an excellent career opportunity for those who may still be working on their history degree.

Advancement opportunities are often available to those who do have a degree.

Some institutions may require a graduate degree for the responsibilities offered in certain positions.

Many small museums or archaeological institutions may ask a history major to act as an archivist, a teacher, a historian, and a tour guide all rolled up into one position.

According to PayScale, the median salary for a tour guide is $11.91 per hour.

Total pay can be as high as $50,961.

Many tour guides qualify for overtime and may be allowed to receive hourly tips.

This may boost the hourly wage by as much as $9 per hour.


#7. Research Assistant

One of the best ways to break into a history-based career is to work as a research assistant.

This position is available to students and may be offered as an internship to earn credits toward the degree being pursued.

It is also a position that is in-demand with several different industries, from business to education to media.

The job of a research assistant is to verify facts that are going to be reported to the public.

It may be for something as simple as a story.

Research assistants may also be hired to verify information being reported in peer-reviewed journals based on science-based findings.

According to Monster, the median annual salary for a research assistant is $72,100.

History lovers that have a 4-year degree have a greater chance of earning a higher salary.

Entry-level research assistants may earn between $30,000-$50,000, depending on the industry employing them and the location of the position.

Rural research assistants typically earn less than those employed in urban or coastal locations.


#8. Editor

Historians often do a lot of writing.

If that doesn’t seem interesting, then there are many editorial positions that are available with a history degree.

There are strict requirements in place for employment as an editor, with requirements for understanding proper grammar, spelling, and media structure.

An attention to detail is absolute with this position.

Many editors are asked to write their own pieces occasionally, which allows you to still share your unique perspective of history.

You’ll also be helping other history lovers communicate their thoughts or ideas with greater accuracy.

Numerous industries employ editors, from marketing to media.

Museums hire editors to refine the content which is on display with their exhibits.

Other non-profits may ask editors to fill several different history-based roles to guide the organization forward.

According to Salary.com, the median salary for an editor is $64,645.

The top 10% of editors may earn above $80,000 annually, while the bottom 10% earns $47,000 or below.


#9. Paralegal

A paralegal has the same basic job responsibilities as a research assistant.

The difference is that in this career opportunity for a history lover, you’d be working in the legal field.

Paralegals work closely with attorney to research case precedents.

You’d also be required to fill out legal briefs, court documents, filing paperwork, and other tasks that help keep your employing attorney or legal firm organized.

Research includes reading through past rulings that may apply to a current case and creating notes for others to study.

You may be required to find specific regulations or laws that can help to defend (or prosecute) someone.

According to Paralegal 411, working as a paralegal in the United States earns an average salary with a range of $38,290 in Arkansas to $68,850 in Washington, DC.

Most paralegals earn somewhere between $40,000-$50,000 annually.


#10. Sales

This is an overlooked career option for history majors.

When you are studying information or collecting facts, the act of reporting your findings is the same skill that a salesperson requires.

Your reports are designed to help people see that your opinion or theory is the most likely to be correct.

In sales, your job is to help people see that your product or service is the one with the most value.

Salespeople can work “inside” or “outside” sales.

Inside sales involves following leads that are already developed and likely to convert.

Outside sales requires a salesperson to develop their own leads.

Travel is often required in this career option.

Sometimes the travel may be extensive, with several days per week required away from home.

It is also a social career, which may not suit every history major.

For those who are comfortable with a career in sales, US News and World Report notes a median annual salary of $55,730 for those who work in sales.

Many positions are commission-based, so a salary above $100,000 is entirely possible.

The bottom 10% of sales representatives earn about $28,000 per year.


#11. Social Media Manager/Consultant

History tends to show off the patterns of humanity.

That is why George Santayana makes such an accurate assessment of those who do not study history.

By recognizing these patterns, it becomes possible to avoid the mistakes our ancestors have made.

The skill of recognizing patterns can be applied to the world of social media.

When you can understand the habits and behavioral patterns of specific demographics, then it becomes easier to build relationships and brand loyalty with specific people.

This allows a business to keep growing and allows history majors to be social, but behind the safety of a computer screen or mobile device.

This job is responsible for answering consumer questions and responding to questions as a consultant.

Managers may be asked to train people in these skills.

You will also be asked to research brand analytics and adjust responses based on that information.

From data research reported by Sprout Social, the average median salary for this position ranges from $45,260-$61,000.


Which Career for a History Lover is Right for You?

If you love history, there are several different employment opportunities available right now for you.

Many of them pay well right away, even if they are classified as a part-time position.

Even hourly positions, such as a tour guide, can offer an hourly wage of up to $20 per hour, when tips are included.

Earning $20 per hour is the equivalent of a $41,600 annual salary.

Greater earning opportunities exist for those who earn a graduate or doctorate after their 4-year degree in history.

Salaries can be 20-40% higher. Specific certifications or licenses may add a further boost to the potential salary.

There is always an opportunity to follow your passion.

Select the job that is right for you and apply when you're ready.

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