History and Job Skills

History is one of the Liberal Arts.  In a Liberal Arts education the goal is to graduate a well-educated person who is creative, solves problems, communicates effectively, and thinks critically.  The Liberal Arts intend to educate the whole person, not merely to prepare that individual for a specific career.  As a well-educated individual, a graduate will be eligible to work in a variety of professions, as opposed to the one position they were trained to do, as the case in more specialized majors.

Despite the importance of the well-rounded education, the History major is not merely a generalist.  Countless characteristics of the History education are marketable career skills, most notably;

  • Sensitivity to change over time, diversity and variability in human experiences
  • Clear, analytical writing skills
  • Original research skills
    • locating primary sources, evaluating sources’ reliability an usefulness, interpreting sources and analyzing evidence from sources, documenting sources used
  •      Creative thinking abilities
    • stemming from an understanding of historical context and linking specific details into a cohesive analytical framework and explanatory narrative

Careers & Employment Opportunities for History Majors

Most history majors do not become professional historians, most go into a variety of related fields such as:

  • Community Work – in organizing, programs administration and fund-raising for social service organizations, non-profits, and community development agencies.
  • Public History Work – working with universities, museums, government agencies, and community organizations to make historical understanding accessible to a broader public
  • Information Management Work – including archives management, information management, records management, and librarianship, usually requiring a one- or two-year graduate program in library studies (commonly, a Master of Library Science, or MLS, degree) or archival management.
  • Publishing, Journalism, and Public Relations – in writing, research, and editing.
  • Business – in advertising, marketing, consumer research, insurance, communications media, banking, insurance, and stock analysis.
  • College and University Settings – in admissions, financial aid, alumni relations, or placement offices
  • Government Services – in federal, state, and local government jobs, including work in foreign service like the Peace Corps
  • Teaching/Education (K-12) – the history secondary teaching option major (HSST) prepares students to become certified history or social studies teachers in high schools, but students with the history liberal arts option major (HIST) can also become certified primary or secondary school teachers by completing a teaching certification program after completing their BA degree.
  • Teaching/Education (Community College & University) – in order to teach at the college or university level, students must go on to graduate school in History (see next page), mostly likely for a doctoral degree (Ph.D.).

For more information about these different jobs and careers for history majors, check out the guide on the American Historical Association’s webpage, “Careers for History Majors.”

In the current employment climate, individuals are likely to pursue a variety of different jobs with different organizations during the course of their working lives.  A historian, like all liberal arts majors, is uniquely able to adapt to the different challenges facing her/him on the job market.  Our goal in the History Program at CSU is to help our students achieve all they can, not only in their education, but also in their careers.

Finally, keep in mind that the Career Development Center (CRSUB 180) is there to serve you.  Use the office for advice on writing resumes, interviewing techniques, job fairs, and interest surveys.  The Career Development Center is especially important as you prepare for graduation.