Careers in History


Becoming a historian is one path history majors can take. What people sometimes don't realize is that many other careers exist for those who study history. Teachers, archivists, librarians, lawyers, politicians, writers and other careers are often chosen. The skills acquired by history majors prepare them for a variety of career possibilities. 


The word history written on parchment under a puzzle piece.

What skills are taught in history courses?

Reading and analyzing information. A method of reading to acquire facts and analyze content.

Effective writing. The ability to communicate ideas successfully in written form.

Critical thinking. The ability to consider information in a variety of ways and across disciplines.

Research. Methods of finding and evaluating information are key skills learned.

Alumni Insights

Some of our history alumni share their career experiences here.

Career paths taken by history majors include the following:

  • Lawyers
  • Foreign Service
    • Work in U.S. Embassy
    • Consular Service
    • Analyst
    • Researcher
    • Public Relations Officer
  • Politicians
  • Researchers
  • Librarians
  • Archivist
  • Businesspeople
  • Writers/Editors
  • Entertainers
  • Teaching at elementary, secondary and college levels
  • Public History
    • National Archives
    • State Archives
    • Local Archives
    • Business Archives
    • Historical Societies
    • Museums
    • Urban Planning
  • Peace Corps / Vista
  • Government Service
  • Community Relations Specialist
  • Press Representative
  • Public Service
  • Foundation Work (United Way, Red Cross)
  • Publicity Coordinator

Where will history take you?

There are a variety of careers for which a degree in history prepares you. Ohio State Alum Scott King-Owen (PhD, History 2011) talks about some of the careers available to history majors. Dr. King-Owen is currently a high school teacher at Bexley High School in Bexley, Ohio. He was named 2018 Bexley Teacher of the Year.



Where Historians Work Database

A New AHA Database Tracks Careers of Over 8,000 History PhDs

The American Historical Association has launched a database called, "Where Historians Work." The interactive database catalogs the career outcomes of the 8,515 individuals who earned history PhDs from 2004-13. An accompanying feature article in Perspectives on History highlights major findings in the data. "Where Historians Work" is the fullest picture of PhD careers available in any discipline and signals the AHA’s commitment to transparency and breadth in discussions of careers for history PhDs. Its interactive features allow users to see broad employment trends both inside and beyond the academy and assess how factors such as gender, field of study, and degree-granting institution affect career outcomes.