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Details for Historians


Research, analyze, record, and interpret the past as recorded in sources, such as government and institutional records, newspapers and other periodicals, photographs, interviews, films, and unpublished manuscripts, such as personal diaries and letters.


  • Organize data, and analyze and interpret its authenticity and relative significance.
  • Gather historical data from sources such as archives, court records, diaries, news files, and photographs, as well as collect data sources such as books, pamphlets, and periodicals.
  • Trace historical development in a particular field, such as social, cultural, political, or diplomatic history.
  • Conduct historical research as a basis for the identification, conservation, and reconstruction of historic places and materials.
  • Teach and conduct research in colleges, universities, museums, and other research agencies and schools.
  • Conduct historical research, and publish or present findings and theories.
  • Speak to various groups, organizations, and clubs in order to promote the aims and activities of historical societies.
  • Prepare publications and exhibits, or review those prepared by others in order to ensure their historical accuracy.
  • Research the history of a particular country or region, or of a specific time period.
  • Present historical accounts in terms of individuals or social, ethnic, political, economic, or geographic groupings.
  • Determine which topics to research, or pursue research topics specified by clients or employers.
  • Organize information for publication and for other means of dissemination, such as use in CD-ROMs or Internet sites.
  • Research and prepare manuscripts in support of public programming and the development of exhibits at historic sites, museums, libraries, and archives.
  • Advise or consult with individuals and institutions regarding issues such as the historical authenticity of materials or the customs of a specific historical period.
  • Translate or request translation of reference materials.
  • Collect detailed information on individuals for use in biographies.
  • Interview people in order to gather information about historical events, and to record oral histories.
  • Recommend actions related to historical art, such as which items to add to a collection or which items to display in an exhibit.
  • Coordinate activities of workers engaged in cataloging and filing materials.
  • Edit historical society publications.


  • Investigative - Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

Education, Training, Experience

  • Education - Most of these occupations require graduate school. For example, they may require a master's degree, and some require a Ph.D., M.D., or J.D. (law degree).
  • Training - Employees may need some on-the-job training, but most of these occupations assume that the person will already have the required skills, knowledge, work-related experience, and/or training.
  • Experience - Extensive skill, knowledge, and experience are needed for these occupations. Many require more than five years of experience. For example, surgeons must complete four years of college and an additional five to seven years of specialized medical training to be able to do their job.


  • Philosophy and Theology - Knowledge of different philosophical systems and religions. This includes their basic principles, values, ethics, ways of thinking, customs, practices, and their impact on human culture.
  • Administration and Management - Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
  • Sociology and Anthropology - Knowledge of group behavior and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.
  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • Geography - Knowledge of principles and methods for describing the features of land, sea, and air masses, including their physical characteristics, locations, interrelationships, and distribution of plant, animal, and human life.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • History and Archeology - Knowledge of historical events and their causes, indicators, and effects on civilizations and cultures.


  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Active Learning - Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Learning Strategies - Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.

Related Careers

  • Anthropologists
  • Archeologists
  • Archivists
  • Curators
  • Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education
  • Museum Technicians and Conservators
  • Park Naturalists
Wages for this career
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