Career as a Historian- A guide to Career Opportunities!


Are you a History buff who remembers the date, time, and place of a certain event in the past?

Are you a History buff who carefully listens to a guide when you visit a historical place/monument?

Are you a History buff who loves watching Historical dramas?

You might be! However, being a history buff and being a Historian are two different things. Now let me ask you three different sets of questions.

Do you check for multiple sources to confirm whether the date, time and place are the same for that particular event?

Do you ask your guide questions about where he got this information from? Is his story coming from legends or some authentic source?

Do you critically analyze a film and check whether the events depicted are true or whether there were some creative choices made?

I am not sure if you answered yes now. People usually regard historians as “History Buffs” who spends their day trying to memorize all the information there is about history. However, this is not the case. So what do historians do all day? Read further to know about a Career as a Historian- the skills and the education required, the variety of job roles a historian can do, the salary insights, and much more!

What does a Historian do? 

If you’ve ever wondered what a historian does, you might be surprised by the specifics of the position. A historian does much more than simply gather information about historical events.

A historian starts by gathering data. They acquire it from

  • Archives
  • Artefacts
  • Books
  • History-related writings
  • Records in writing

The information from these written documents is then analyzed.

But what does a historian do for a living? As a result of the diversity of historians, work responsibilities differ. But conducting historical research is a historian’s primary duty.

What does a Historian do?
Source Some humour in your historical journey is really important!
  • Examining historical sites and events is the work of historians. They examine old written papers and official records. They also look over old journals, letters, newspaper articles, and pictures. They look for indicators of legitimacy. 
  • They must read through every written document they can locate and then compile the data to create a historical narrative. They can then respond to inquiries about what occurred, who was involved, why, etc.
  • College and university historians spend a lot of their time doing research and publishing books or articles. If they are academics, they will probably be asked to write a book (or books) about their area of expertise.
  • They might also work as archivists, collecting and preserving significant historical records, or they might collaborate with governmental organisations to maintain buildings. 
  • Additionally, they also serve as historical accuracy consultants for the media (TV, radio, film, etc.), ensuring that every element of the show or movie is true to historical events.

Job Roles for Historians

There are various job roles that a Historian can do. The following are some of the job titles that historians hold:

  • Consultant:

Challenging employment for a historian who enjoys working on a range of topics and prefers flexibility is consulting. A consultant or contractor may be required to conduct historical research for a court case, museum exhibit, or location for a new commercial building.

  • Research Historian:

One of the most fascinating careers for a historian is research historian, which gives historians the chance to investigate a variety of artefacts and topics in order to better comprehend history. A skilled research historian typically has outstanding oral and written communication abilities.

  • Anthropologist:

A person who does in-depth research into ancient culture and artefacts using the three methods of survey, site identification, and excavation is known as an archaeologist. A history major can also become an Anthropologist as the skill set and part of the subject knowledge remains the same. You can check out this blog if you want to know more about a career as an Anthropologist.

  • History Teacher
    History teachers frequently impart a general understanding of historical events to their students in elementary school. Teachers at high school, on the other hand, have more leeway with the material, allowing them to delve further into historical events. As an extension of their work in the classroom, history professors may also oversee community-level history initiatives.
  • Museum Curator
    Historians as Museum Curators set out a museum’s collection in a way that will most likely draw in and hold the attention of visitors. They locate historical artefacts that are appropriate for a museum’s theme and design exhibits that effectively explain an object’s historical relevance.
  • Museum Archivist
    The worth or historical relevance of a museum’s inventory is determined by archivists, who may also be tasked with aiding in the preservation of documents pertaining to historical objects or events. Archivists frequently have the knowledge to confirm whether a historical document or relic is authentic if there is any doubt as to its provenance.
  • Editor/Publisher
    A historian can easily find a job editing or publishing in a museum, a university press, a journal or magazine, or an institutional publication office.

Career Paths to becoming a Historian

The Career path to becoming a historian is quite clear since there is only one way. Post your 10th grade, you would have to choose humanities/arts if you want to pursue history as a subject. However, there are very few colleges that offer history as a subject in 11th and 12th grade. Therefore, check the college’s websites before applying as the subject is required for you to be admitted into a bachelor’s degree.

Post your 12th grade, you will have to pursue your Bachelor of Arts (B.A.). In the last year of your degree, you would be required to choose a major subject wherein all the papers would be on the subject chosen. Choose History as your major if you wish to become a Historian! However, historians also have majors in subjects like sociology or anthropology. Related majors to History also include subjects like Ancient Indian Culture, Ancient Indian History, and Archeology or simply Archaeology.

History memes on Career as Historian
Post your Master be ready to make this face! Source

Historians also require a Masters’s in order to increase their reputation and add value to their profile, thus, they need to pursue a Master of Arts (M.A.) in History. This two-year postgraduate degree program in history is broken up into four semesters. It is the study of historical events and contemporary perceptions of those events. The study focuses on past societies’ behaviours, stories, and narratives, as well as on their cultures, languages, art, and a variety of other things. The major focus of this program is the dissertation/ research work that needs to complete. To get a complete idea of how to become a Historian, you can check out this blog!

Salary in different stages of Career as a Historian

The pay range or compensation of a historian in India is based on a number of variables, including the historian’s degree, job experience, and the importance of the institution seeking to hire a historian, among others.

However, the average gross pay for a historian in India is 9,19,053 INR/Year. Additionally, the following findings are based on wage estimates derived from salary survey data obtained in India directly from employers and anonymous employees:

Experience level Entry level (1-3 years) Median level Senior level (8+ years)
Salary per year 6,67,452 9,19,05311,52,566

Skills required to become a Historian

  • Analytical Skills
    Whether the sources are written texts, visual images, or physical artefacts, historians must be able to analyze the information and data in them and derive logical conclusions.
  • Chronological Thinking
    Historians must sort through individual narratives and put the incidents in chronological order. Historical materials frequently lack a time and date stamp, so it is necessary to track them. Understanding how other societies measure time and record history is essential to mastering chronological reasoning for historical analysis.
  • Communication Skills
    Since many historians give public speeches on their areas of expertise, effective communication skills are crucial. When conducting oral history interviews, consulting with clients, or working together with coworkers at work, historians also need good communication skills.
  • Research Skills
    To extract relevant information from a broad array of historical documents, manuscripts, and other resources, historians must be able to conduct in-depth investigations on them. To comprehend land and population patterns, as well as development trends and processes, one can create and alter maps on a computer. They must be able to visualize three-dimensionally the mapped characteristics and comprehend how they interact with the surrounding terrain.
  • Historical Interpretation
    Historians must draw conclusions based on the context of historical events. This entails taking into account any reliable historical narratives that discuss the origins, consequences, and effects of the historical event. A historian ought to be able to make connections between the events they are researching and create a fair, impartial, and accurate portrait.
  • Problem-Solving Issues
    Based on historical evidence, historians must answer a variety of questions about the past and analyze how those questions relate to current problems.
  • Writing Skills
    Since historians frequently communicate their results in reports, essays, and books, writing abilities are crucial.

Is becoming a Historian a Good Career Option?

Meme historian
Don’t you worry about a job! You can earn a living by making memes!

With a history degree, you can pursue a variety of vocations, including law, publishing, journalism and the media, museums, librarianship and archive work, teaching, advertising, work in the development sector, international humanitarian work, etc. Additionally, it is anticipated that the number of historians in India would grow by 3% between 2019 and 2029, which is nearly as fast as the national average for all occupations.

Type of Industries Hiring for Historians

Here is a list of those sectors which usually employ a Historian – 

  • Editing and Publishing
  • Historical Associations
  • Museums
  • Travel and Tourism
  • Government Organizations
  • Law/Criminal Justice
  • Education
  • Research Sphere

Top Recruiters for Historians in India 

Historians are usually hired by Historical associations or Governmental organizations. Some of them are: 

  • Indian Council of Historical Research
  • Art Deco Mumbai
  • Youth for Heritage Foundation
  • Calcutta Historical Society
  • Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage
  • Centre for Studies in Civilizations
  • Andhra Pradesh Department of Archeology and Museums

Other than these, historians are usually employed by schools as history teachers, or by editing and publishing houses as historical writers/editors.  

Courses to upskill as a Historian

You can enrol in several online courses to get a feel for the subject – either if you are unsure whether you would like a career in anthropology or as a means to upskill yourself. Following your completion of grade 10, you can try the following courses:

Certificate Courses Duration 
The Modern World, Part One: Global History from 1760 to 1910 1-3 Months 
The Modern World, Part Two: Global History since 1910 1-3 Months 
Military History of Classical Greek World 2.5 hours 
Big History: From Big Bang till today 1-3 Months 
15 Habits of great History Teachers 1.5 hours 
A Brief History of India 4.5 Hours 

If you want to develop such extraordinary skills and stand out from the crowd, try Clever Harvey’s JuniorMBA Data Analytics program and improve your personality to stand out in the skills you enjoy.

Qualifications to become a Historian 

As with any other profession, a Historian requires schooling along with an undergraduate course with majors in History. 

Degrees in India 

The best course of study is to major in History.  However, you may be able to find similar opportunities as a Historian if you are already studying a B.A. in a subject like sociology or anthropology or a B.Sc. in a subject like palaeontology or archaeology.

A) UG degree 

The only few undergraduate courses that you can pursue to become a Historian are: 

Undergraduate Degree Duration 
B.A. With majors in History 3 Years 
B.A./B.Sc with majors in Archaeology 3-4 Years 
B.A. (Hons) in History 3 Years 
BA in Ancient Indian Culture 3 Years 
BA in Ancient Indian History and Archeology3 Years 

B) Postgraduate Degrees: 

Post-graduate Degree Duration 
M.A. in History 2 Years
M.Phil in History 2 Years 
P.hD in History 3-5 Years 

Degrees Abroad 

Some of the undergraduate courses to become a historian abroad include BA Hons in Art History, Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology, Bachelors in History, Bachelor of Science in Archaeology and Materials, and Bachelor of Arts in East Asian Studies. These courses usually take 4 years to complete. However, The duration and name of these courses might differ depending on the country you apply to. 

Some of the Master’s degrees you can pursue abroad include courses like Master of Arts in History of Science, MA in Anthropology, MA in Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology, MA in History, and Master of Arts in World History. These courses are 1-2 years long and provide specialized knowledge about the field. 

Entry into these courses will require you to give language proficiency test scores of IELTS, TOEFL, PTE, SATs, etc along with an SOP (Statement of Purpose) and LORs (Letter of Recommendation). Want some help with SATs? We have got you covered. Read this blog to know more!

Want to explore more? Check this out: 

You can read the following books to get interested in History: 

  • The War That Ended Peace- Margaret MacMillan
  • Paris 1919- Margaret MacMillan
  • India After Gandhi: Ramchandra Guha’
  • Land of seven rivers: History of India’s Geography- Sanjeev Sanyal
  • Train to Pakistan- Khushwant Singh
  • The Great Indian Novel- Shashi Tharoor
  • Discovery of India- by Jawaharlal Nehru

Some of the History movies/ documentaries to binge-watch include the following: 

  • Schindler’s List 
  • Greatest Events of WWII in Colour
  • Dunkirk 
  • Pearl Harbour 
  • Troy 
  • Rang De Basanti
  • Gandhi

Some of the great Indian Historians you can follow include:

  • Romila Thapar
  • Nayanjot Lahri
  • Irfan Habib
  • M. Chidananda Murthy

Thus, if you enjoy learning about historical events, their causes, and how “history will repeat itself,” being a historian can be enjoyable. This knowledge can then be used to inform the current generation. I hope this knowledge will serve as a lighthouse for you as you go out on your quest to become a historian. We are wishing you all the best! 

FAQs- Frequently Asked Questions about the career as Historian

What does a historian do?

Historians compile and analyze data from various primary sources to provide insight into historical events. Written documents, tangible artefacts, and other sorts of evidence may be analyzed throughout their investigations.

What are the qualities of a good historian?

The capacity to reason, represent, debate, analyze the past critically, and create new questions and inquiries. Astonishing comprehension and knowledge of people, events, and context from various historical eras, as well as historical theories and processes.

How do you become a Historian?

A bachelor’s degree in history is necessary to work as a historian. The majority of historians then pursue a master’s or doctoral degree, during which time they conduct research and create a thesis in a field of study of their choice.

What job can a Historian get you?

Historian, History Professor, Journalist, Attorney, Paralegal, Human Resources Manager, and Librarian are a few options a History major can hold.

Why should I choose to study history?

The world is continually changing, and historians are crucial in summarising and documenting historical events. They make it possible for people and civilizations to take lessons from the past and set themselves up for greater success in the future.

What is PhD in history?

A doctoral-level program in history with a duration of three to five years is a research-intensive course. You will discover the moral historical values, ethics, written records, and historical events of humanity in earlier historical eras as you learn about world history at a higher level.

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How to become an Archaeologist? Top 3 Career Options and Entrance Tests After Class 12 CBSE Exams For Arts Students Tips to Pick the Right Stream After Class 10 What Jobs are Best after 12th Arts?
How to become an Archaeologist? Top 3 Career Options and Entrance Tests After Class 12 CBSE Exams For Arts Students Tips to Pick the Right Stream After Class 10 What Jobs are Best after 12th Arts?