Career Guide

What Career and Salary Can I Have With a Bachelors Degree in History?

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Updated: May 3, 2024, Reading time: 11 minutes

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When I started my bachelor’s in history, I had no idea what I would do with it. I’d often wonder, “What career and salary can I have with a bachelors degree in history?” I also knew there were other students asking the same question. I started doing my research and found some fantastic insights that I’ll be sharing in this article.

College Cliffs is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

What Career and Salary Can I Have with a Bachelor’s Degree in History?

When you choose to pursue a bachelor’s degree in history, you’re beginning a journey through time, examining the complexities of past civilizations, events, and figures that have shaped modern times. In addition to this degree helping you understand human societies deeper and better, you also develop critical skills in research, analysis, and communication along the way.

A female student with her laptop open in front of her

A bachelor’s degree in history opens doors to various professions, leveraging your ability to analyze the past to shape the future. Here’s a look at some career options you can explore with this degree.  

Career PathMedian Salary 
Teaching and EducationHigh School: $65,220 College: $82,140
Research and Analysis$62,460
Museum and Archival WorkMuseum Curator: $61,750Archivist: $59,910
Writing and Journalism$57,500
Government and Public ServicePolitical Scientist: $132,350
Legal Professions$145,760
Business and ConsultingManagement Analyst: $99,410
Cultural Preservation and AdvocacyNon-Profit: $55,338

Teaching and Education

With your degree, teaching at various educational levels is accessible. You may become a high school teacher, developing curricula and cultivating a love for history in younger generations. Continuing your education can lead to becoming a university history professor, influencing future historians.

The median annual salary is $65,220 for high school teachers and $82,140 for college professors. 

Research and Analysis

As a historian wielding strong research skills, you can study and interpret historical documents. Jobs in think tanks or as a researcher for educational institutions allow you to review data and provide analysis that shapes understanding and decision-making.

The median annual salary for researchers is $62,460. You can naturally earn higher with more experience and expertise. 

Museum and Archival Work

Your expertise can shine in museum and archive settings. Positions like museum curator or archivist involve preserving history, organizing exhibits, and working with historical societies or libraries.

The median annual salary for a museum curator is $61,750, while an archivist’s is $59,910.

A man standing in front of the paintings  on a museum

Writing and Journalism

Your ability to write and communicate effectively prepares you for careers in journalism, as an editor, or crafting books and articles. Historians with penmanship skills contribute to newspapers and various publications, keeping history alive through stories.

The median annual salary for a journalist is $57,500. 

Government and Public Service

Your knowledge of political history can lead to roles in government. Opportunities as a political scientist or in public service will have you applying historical perspectives to current policies and programs.

The median annual salary for a political scientist is $132,350.

Legal Professions

History majors often find fulfilling careers in law, from being a lawyer or attorney to supporting roles such as legal assistants or paralegals. You’ll bring to court a deep understanding of legal precedents and historical laws.

The median annual salary for a lawyer is $145,760.

Business and Consulting

Consultants with a background in history can offer valuable analysis for businesses, guiding decisions with a profound understanding of economic and social trends. Working closely with clients and colleagues brings your historical insight to the commercial time.

The median annual salary for a management analyst is $99,410. 

A library full of books

Cultural Preservation and Advocacy

You can advocate for heritage and cultural sites in nonprofit organizations focused on cultural preservation. Your passion for maintaining the integrity of cultures serves a vital role in conservation efforts.

The median annual salary for people working in a non-profit organization is $55,338. 

What are the Factors Affecting Salary

Key Skills and Competencies for a Career in History

In your journey with a bachelor’s degree in history, you’ll cultivate a unique set of skills and competencies that are highly valued across various career paths. These abilities will empower you to analyze complex information, solve problems creatively, and communicate effectively.

Analysis and Interpretation

Your ability to analyze and interpret historical data, sources, and archives will be central to your role as a historian. You’ll learn to study past events, scrutinize records, and weave together narratives from disparate pieces of information. This analytical proficiency is important for research and preparing papers that contribute to the academic community and beyond.

Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving

Strong critical thinking and problem-solving skills are your arsenal for tackling the challenges you’ll encounter in the field of history. Whether you’re analyzing complex data or developing research, the ability to approach issues from various angles and propose viable solutions is invaluable. 

Your background in history already gives you a unique perspective on approaching problems. Focus on:

Communication and Presentation

Effective communication is more than just writing papers; it also encompasses your ability to deliver compelling presentations and conduct interviews. You’ll refine your written and oral communication skills, learning to craft clear reports and convey your findings persuasively to diverse audiences.

Your ability to write clearly and persuasively can be invaluable in many career paths. To develop your presentation skills, practice delivering engaging presentations to translate historical knowledge into captivating stories.

By honing these marketable skills, you’ll diversify your career options and potentially increase your earning potential in various fields.

Information Management

In an age where technology and information are proliferating, your expertise in navigating libraries and managing wide amounts of data will be indispensable. You’ll become adept at organizing and preserving information, making certain that important historical insights are accessible for future study.

Digital Literacy and Technology Skills

In the digital age, your ability to navigate and utilize technology can set you apart. You’ll want to be skilled in:

A woman on a room with historic images

Advanced Degrees and Specializations in History

Expanding your education beyond a bachelor’s degree in history opens a wealth of higher salary potentials and specialized career paths. Through further study, you can become an esteemed expert in your field, enhance your qualifications, and access new opportunities in education and beyond.

Master’s Degree

A master’s degree in history can deepen your understanding of historical methods and critical analysis. This advanced qualification typically requires one to two years of study after your bachelor’s degree. It might involve a combination of coursework and original research. With a master’s, you could qualify for roles such as a museum curator or librarian, where you’ll manage and protect historical documents and artifacts.

PhD and Beyond

Earning a PhD is a significant commitment, often involving several years of specialized research. As a PhD holder, you’re looking at academic careers as a professor or a researcher. In these roles, you can contribute original scholarship to history, influence future historians, and potentially affect policy as a political scientist.

Career Specializations

In history, specializations might include areas like ancient civilizations, military history, or digital history. As you deepen your expertise in a niche, your value in related careers grows. For instance, military historians may consult on film sets or work with government agencies. Similarly, digital historians are carving out new terrain in how history is experienced and taught.

Foreign Languages and International Opportunities

Your history degree, paired with foreign language proficiency, can open doors to international careers. It allows you to access and interpret non-English historical documents and also makes you a strong candidate for positions that involve travel. Consider roles like a diplomat or an international NGO worker, where your skills will be invaluable.

Exploring Alternative Career Options

With a bachelor’s degree in history, you have a diverse range of career paths available. The skills you’ve honed, such as critical thinking, writing, and research, are valuable in various industries. Here, we’ll focus on the potential of publishing and editing, as well as consultancy work, which could lead to satisfying and potentially lucrative careers.

Roles in Publishing and Editing

If you love the written word and have a keen eye for detail, the publishing industry may be a great fit for you. Your history degree has likely equipped you with strong research and fact-checking skills, important for editorial roles. Your options include:

In these roles, salaries vary widely; however, it’s not uncommon for experienced editors in specialized fields to earn a competitive salary.

A history book

Consultancy Opportunities

Your expertise in history can also be leveraged in consultancy work. Many businesses and educational institutions seek out consultants with a strong grasp of historical context to inform strategies or educational materials. Potential consultancy roles for history graduates might include:

Becoming a consultant can offer you the flexibility to work on various projects, sometimes commanding a substantial hourly rate depending on the complexity of the work and your experience level.

What Does Acquiring a History Degree Involve

Embarking on a history career requires a solid foundation, often starting with an undergraduate degree. Your coursework will equip you with knowledge of past events and enhance your research, writing, and analytical skills.

Undergraduate Course Work

Your journey begins with choosing the right courses during your undergraduate studies. Focus on:

Practical Experience

Seek out internships or volunteer positions that allow you to apply your historical knowledge in a professional setting. These experiences can be pivotal in shaping your career path. Remember, your chosen courses should interest you and support your career planning and long-term goals.

The framework of an education degree would typically include the following, in addition to other areas:

A teacher in front while showing a globe to her students

What are the Basic Requirements for Getting a History Degree?

The most basic requirement for getting into most undergraduate history programs is a high school diploma or equivalent. During the program, you will need to complete core courses, concentrations, or electives and conduct some historical research and academic writing assignments as well. 

What is the Highest-Paying Job With a History Degree?

Some of the highest-paying jobs with a history degree can be found within the federal executive branch. Here, historians can receive an average salary of around $103,590, as outlined by research. It’s important to be mindful that jobs at this higher pay scale often require more than a bachelor’s degree and may necessitate additional experience or education.

Is History Education a Good Course to Study?

Yes, history education is a good course to study. Studying history allows you to develop skills that can be transferred to other areas. You develop creativity, build general knowledge research skills, and enhance your ability to see things from a fresh perspective. 


With a degree in history, you can translate historical insights into lessons for today’s world, contribute to scholarly discussions, or go into analyzing historical data for various industries. Each role comes with its own requirements and rewards. However, no matter where you land, your history degree is a powerful tool that aids in preserving the past and shaping the future.