Historian Job Description

Posted in Job Descriptions


Historians have been indispensable assets for civilizations, shining light to the zeitgeist of the past. Dynasties, empires, conquests, defeats, progress and ideas, the growth of civilization all are chronicled and studied by the historian, giving succeeding generations guidestones for the betterment of a nation.


Besides possessing an analytical, academic mind, the historian needs to utilize technology to further enhance the accuracy of his work. Historians are academicians and many have works published in books and articles. Some historians work in museums, historical societies and special libraries. They are sought after as experts in media to discuss historical milestones and personalities.

The broad scope of history available allow historians to specialize in a particular field. For instance, some historians who specialize in tracing family trees and lineages are called genealogists.

Archivists, mostly librarian heads, preserve and catalog various historical artifacts and documents. They safe keep these documents for the benefit of further research and study. Archivists possess the acumen of selecting noteworthy materials for preservation since preserving all historical materials is untenable. They mostly work in state, private libraries and museums. Some are employed by historical societies and even by the US government to gather materials, collate data from other sources and present them in published or exhibited form to the public via the internet.

Curators, like archivists, identify and collect historical manuscripts and articles. They oversee museums and assist in scholarly work and research. Curators likewise perform as heads of historical societies. They steer activities towards research, review scholarly work and act as spokesmen for these societies.

Biographers are highly specialized historians. Their works are products of meticulous research, observation and analyses from interviews with the subject oftentimes, and always with relatives and acquaintances of the subject.

Education and Training Requirements

The title historian is only earned after graduate studies. A minimum of two foreign languages are needed for postgraduate studies. Most highly placed historians possess doctorate degrees. Apprenticeship is available with degree holders and some hold certificates for teaching in high school.

Knowledge and Skills Requirements

To become successful in this field, a historian should be a voracious reader and possess exceptional writing as well as the penchant for public speaking.

Working Conditions

A flexible schedule, a well lit place and peaceful environment are needed by the historian in his tasks, especially research.


Per US government data, the mean salary for college history teachers of four-year universities is $61,890, while community college history teachers earn $51,570, not counting benefits and incentives for both.

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