Careers and Jobs

The skills you will develop as a history major will qualify you to do many different things, from working in the government to education and even business. A traditional career path would be to become a historian, researching and analyzing the past, but a history degree does not limit your choices.  In fact, majoring in history significantly broadens your options.  According to data collected by the American Community Survey, while one in five history majors went on to careers in education, another fifteen percent entered management and eleven percent went on to law.  Furthermore, nearly half of history majors go on to earn postgraduate degrees, a higher percentage than the national average, demonstrating that history is a "springboard" to graduate training.

What makes history such a flexible degree is that research, communication and quantitative skills are stressed in courses, and these are skills that employers in business, government, and education seek in employees.

Fort Wilkins. Officers' parlor.

Thunder Bay, Ont. Indian products.

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Marquette's iron ore loading dock.

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Dr. Dupras working in the Royal Armouries, Leeds, UK.
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Paper astrolabes, ancient astronomical computers, for use in class.

Government and Public Service

  • Foreign Service Officer
  • Peace Corps/Vista Volunteer
  • FBI/CIA Agent
  • Politician
  • Legislative Aide

Considerations
Foreign language skills are valuable or even required for some of these positions. You can gain excellent experience in the government field by finding an internship related to your interests.

Research and Preservation

  • Archivist
  • Historian
  • Curator
  • Librarian
  • Biographer
  • Genealogist
  • Gerontologist

Considerations
Hands-on experience is helpful when pursuing work in these areas.  Familiarity with how to read and interpret documents and other sources is essential.

Business and Industry

  • Manager
  • Research Analyst
  • Insurance Agent
  • Banker
  • Sales Representative

Considerations
A business minor may be helpful, but sometimes relevant work experience is more beneficial.  A history major will provide training in critical thinking and working with complex data which is both qualitative and quantitative.

Graduate and Professional Education

  • History
  • Law
  • Literature
  • Education
  • Philosophy

Considerations
Remember to take any necessary exams early; it can take six weeks for results to be sent to the schools to which you applied. Foreign language competency, sometimes in two languages, is required in many graduate programs.

History is a rich field which allows you to study and research past civilizations and problems, as well as major social, political, cultural, and economic events of the past. Some introductory history courses to help you decide whether history is the right major for you include HS 110: History and Pop Culture, HS 120: Turning Points in History, HS 120: Globalization, or any of the other 200-level survey courses in world or US history.

Career options improve significantly with a master's degree and Ph.D. A bachelor's degree may qualify you for a number of entry-level jobs, including positions such as a research assistant, administrative aide, or management trainee. A master's degree qualifies you to teach at the junior and community college level, while a Ph.D. is necessary to teach at four-year colleges and universities. You may qualify to work in a business environment if you have any business experiences, or a business minor or second major.

For other ideas on what to do with a history major, please visit these links, 

American Historical Association

Eastern Washington University: What to do Besides Teach

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