The Footnotes

ARTS & SOCIAL SCIENCES

8 careers if you love History

Hands up if you’re good at remembering dates.

If you thought your days loving tombs, mummies and the many Thutmoses of Egypt were numbered you’d be wrong.

Not only is it possible to continue a study history long into adulthood, you can even earn a pretty penny thanks to the hard skills they provide such as analysis, synthesis of large quantities of information and the ability to compile a winning argument. You know, NBD.

Here are 8 careers your love for history can take you to:

Anthropologist

An anthropologist fills their days researching and evaluating the sociohistorical, linguistic and biological aspects of humanity using artefacts, language and other archaeological evidence. Instead of being in the field full-time, an anthropologist will often work from a museum or university. There are also a variety of sub-specialities within anthropology, so you can play to your strengths. Winner.

How to get there: A number of undergraduate degrees will allow you to major in Anthropology including bachelor’s of art or social sciences. This can often be enough to get you in the door (aka entry-level positions) however a post-graduate degree is recommended due to the large scope of study.

Archivist

An archivist does a little more the catalogue bits and bobs. No, these guys are in charge of assessing the value of information then maintaining and storing it. This information, often referred to as ‘material’, can take many forms including documents, letters, photographs, videos and audio records. While it’s all well and good to maintain and store, this material also needs to be easily recalled so the archivist career is well-suited for those with a love of the alphabet or Dewey decimal system.

How to get there: An undergraduate degree in something like history or archival science is best to start with. While this can often be enough, you may want to consider a graduate degree or certification via an accredited body (e.g. the Australian Society of Archivists). Universities that teach archivist-specific courses include, Charles Sturt University, Curtin University of Technology, Edith Cowan University and Monash University.

Archaeologist

We’ll be honest here, there aren’t too many archaeologists jobs and they usually rely on funding but if you can grab one, you’re going to be the happiest of history buffs. An archaeologist will travel the world attempting to reconstruct past lives but be warned, it’s not all Egypt and Greece, the gentle work (aka dusting of dirt layers) of an archaeologist is usually required in more untouched and undiscovered areas.

How to get there: Some universities will offer a bachelor degree in archaeology (with varying majors) like Macquarie University. But for those not in NSW, or not willing to relocate, an undergraduate degree in arts or science with a major in archaeology will suit just fine. As archaeology is a largely research based career, you’ll need to continue to a Masters or PhD to be successful.

High School Teacher

This may seem like a cop out but we promise, it’s quite the opposite. Not only does this career allow you to immerse yourself daily in history but you’ll also get to flex other skills such as communication and bask in the ooey-gooey feelings that come with helping someone learn. Bonus: passion makes a great teacher, so if history really is your calling both you and your students will find it deeply rewarding.

How to get there: A Bachelor’s degree in your chosen area of history (usually modern or ancient) with a Diploma of Education is a great choice for this career. You can also do a double degree in history and education.

Professor

Looking to be the next Indiana Jones? We can’t guarantee a whip and cool hat but we can say that as a history professor you’ll be knee-deep in your chosen speciality all day every day. Whether you prefer something more traditional like Egyptian archaeology, mythology, and postcolonial history or gendered history and the great many illnesses of twentieth-century Europe, there’s a spot just for you.

How to get there: An undergraduate degree with a major in your field of interest is a great starting point. You’ll then need to climb the ladder with an honours course and PhD. You’ll likely have to have published articles or books in your chosen field too, so get brainstorming.

Museum Technician

Museum Technicians or ‘Techs’ as they’re fondly called, are the people who ensure the displays you seen in museums stay in tip top shape. A museum tech will work with a range of artefacts including fossils, skeletons, books, artworks etc. When not on display, museum technicians will also prepare the artefact to be studied (it takes a lot to ensure preservation).

How to get there: An undergraduate degree in history or a similar field is required first before embarking on a significant amount of internships and volunteer work. A graduate certificate in museum studies is not too common a course but can assist those looking to distinguish themselves.

Conservationist

A penchant for more recent history, as opposed to ancient, is usually best for those umming and ahhing life as a conservationist. Conservationists spend their time maintaining, preserving, restoring and conserving buildings and structures of historic, architectural of culture significance.

How to get there: You’ll need an undergraduate degree in history or perhaps town planning or architecture to get started as a conservationist. Select universities such as Sydney University offer a Master of Heritage Conservation for more practical and specific skill building.

Genealogist

If you’ve never contemplated your great-great-great-great-great-great grandmother, then what have you been doing during all those study periods? A genealogist spends their time doing just that, exploring ancestors and the backgrounds of families using birth/marriage certificates, court records, obituaries and more. If you’re a history buff with a thirst for puzzle solving or a good mystery, this one’s for you.

How to get there: A undergraduate degree in history is a great starting point before exploring accredited courses. A lot of courses will require experience though so look for opportunities to volunteer as a researcher or library assistant while studying.

Or something different,

A Copywriter

Copywriters are the brains behind the jingles that get stuck in our head after we hear them on the radio or on TV. Essentially, they are advertising writers; who specialise in short-form copy. So,  think headlines of magazines, the copy on packaging, the scripts in a TV ad. Think, Nike “Just Do It”,  L’Oréal: “Because You’re Worth It”, MasterCard: “There are some things money can’t buy. For everything else, there’s MasterCard.”, McDonald’s: “I’m Lovin’ It” – you get the idea… 

If you like history, chances are you’ll have a knack for writing. So if you are looking for a job outside the box this could be an option for you!

How to get there:

Having a University degree is definitely helps to land  job in copywriting… but it is not strictly necessary. Relevant courses for copywriting are things like, journalism, marketing or communications. In these programs, you’ll get a comprehensive overview of the industry and take courses in mass communications law, public relations, consumer behaviour, communications theory, and strategic campaigning. You’ll also grow your creativity and learn to produce copy for different types media.

Want to hear more? Here’s an interview with a copywriter.

 

Ready to kick start your career? 

8 careers if you love History
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