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Career profile Historian

Also known as County Historian, County Records Management Officer (County RMO), Historian, Historic Interpreter, Historic Sites Registrar, Historical Interpreter, Research Associate, Researcher

Historian

Also known as County Historian, County Records Management Officer (County RMO), Historian

Interests Profile
  • Investigative
  • Conventional
  • Enterprising
Pay Range
$29,540 - $116,340 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Critical Thinking
  • Active Listening
Knowledge Areas
  • History and Archeology
  • Customer and Personal Service
  • Administrative
Core tasks
  • Conserve and preserve manuscripts, records, and other artifacts.
  • Gather historical data from sources such as archives, court records, diaries, news files, and photographs, as well as from books, pamphlets, and periodicals.
  • Conduct historical research as a basis for the identification, conservation, and reconstruction of historic places and materials.
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What does a Historian do?

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and institutional records, newspapers and other periodicals, photographs, interviews, films, electronic media, and unpublished manuscripts, such as personal diaries and letters.

What kind of tasks does a Historian perform regularly?

Historians are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

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

The above responsibilities are specific to Historians. More generally, Historians are involved in several broader types of activities:

Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others
Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
Thinking Creatively
Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
Documenting/Recording Information
Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.

What is a Historian salary?

The median salary for a Historian is $63,100, and the average salary is $68,400. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Historian salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Historians earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Historians earn less than $29,540 per year, 25% earn less than $40,920, 75% earn less than $90,130, and 90% earn less than $116,340.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Historians is expected to change by 6.5%, and there should be roughly 300 open positions for Historians every year.

Median annual salary
$63,100
Typical salary range
$29,540 - $116,340
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)
6.5%

What personality traits are common among Historians?

Interests

Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as a Historian are usually higher in their Investigative interests.

Historians typically have very strong Investigative interests. 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.

Values

People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as a Historian tend to value Independence, Relationships, and Recognition.

Most importantly, Historians strongly value Independence. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions.

Second, Historians strongly value Relationships. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Lastly, Historians strongly value Recognition. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Historians must consistently demonstrate qualities such as integrity, cooperation, and attention to detail.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Historians, ranked by importance:

Integrity
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Cooperation
Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Dependability
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Concern for Others
Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.

What education and training do Historians need?

Many Historians have earned a graduate degree. For example, they may require a master's degree, and some require a doctoral degree, such as a Ph.D., M.D., or J.D..

Historians may need some on-the-job training, but most candidates will already have the required skills, knowledge, work-related experience, and/or training.

Educational degrees among Historians

  • 0.7% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 1.5% completed high school or secondary school
  • 6.0% completed some college coursework
  • 4.0% earned a Associate's degree
  • 32.8% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 38.8% earned a Master's degree
  • 16.1% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Historians

Historians may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as history and archeology, customer and personal service, or administrative knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Historians might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

History and Archeology
Knowledge of historical events and their causes, indicators, and effects on civilizations and cultures.
Customer and Personal Service
Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Administrative
Knowledge of administrative and office procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and workplace terminology.
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.
Education and Training
Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.

Important Abilities needed by Historians

Historians must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Historians need abilities such as written comprehension, written expression, and oral comprehension in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Historians, ranked by their relative importance.

Written Comprehension
The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
Written Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
Oral Comprehension
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Oral Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Inductive Reasoning
The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).

Critical Skills needed by Historians

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Historians frequently use skills like reading comprehension, critical thinking, and active listening to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Historians, ranked by their relative importance.

Reading Comprehension
Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
Critical Thinking
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
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.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

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