Historians (outside the academy)

Historians are employed outside the academy in a number of different types of organizations. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 4,000 non-academic historian jobs in 2010. Of those jobs, 57 percent were with the government. Aside from museums, archives, historical societies, and research organizations, historians find jobs in many nonprofits and consulting firms. According to the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, job growth for historians will be at 18 percent, which is about average.

Also, according to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for historians is $53,520 per year.

A brown, stone castle with people walking around in the front courtyard

For more information on what historians do outside the academy, work conditions, educational requirements, skills needed, etc., see http://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/historians.htm.

As noted above, the majority of jobs for historians outside the academy are with the government. Despite government cutbacks, there are still jobs with the federal government and these are well paid with excellent benefits. For example, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the annual median wage for historians employed in the Federal executive branch as $84,860.

The Society for History in the Federal Government is a professional association of historians employed in the federal government. By visiting their website you can find a directory of federal history programs in agencies employing historians. The mission of SHFG is "to advance the unique interests of federal historians and provide a body through which they could address common concerns, support shared interests, and stimulate discussion."

Among the agencies that have a history program and employ historians are:

  • Bureau of Reclamation
  • Center for Legislative Archives, National Archives
  • Central Intelligence Agency
  • Department of Labor
  • Department of State
  • Department of the Treasury
  • Department of Agriculture
  • Department of Veteran Affairs
  • Federal Aviation Administration
  • Food and Drug Administration
  • Library of Congress
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration
  • National Archives and Records Administration
  • National Library of Medicine, History of Medicine Division
  • National Park Service
  • National Science Foundation
  • Smithsonian Institution
  • National Air and Space Museum
  • Society Security Administration
  • U.S. Air Force – Historian's Office
  • U.S. Army
  • U.S. Census Bureau
  • U.S. Coast Guard
  • U.S. Department of Justice
  • U.S. Forest Service
  • U.S. House of Representatives
  • U.S. Marine Corps
  • U.S. Navy
  • U.S. Senate Historical Office
  • U.S. Postal Service
  • The White House

For a complete listing of departments that employ historians, see the Directory of Federal Historical Offices and Activities (http://shfg.org/shfg/publications/directory-of-history-offices/). Not all government offices that employ historians are in the greater Washington, D.C. area and many employ historians in regional offices or federal historical sites throughout the United States. The federal government also has many internships and these are listed on the SHFG site.

Although government jobs at the state and local level have been cut over the years, there are still jobs for historians at these levels. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for the state government is $49,990 and for local government is $30,950.

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