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Source: Paul B. Sturtevant, “History is Not a Useless Major: Fighting Myths with Data,” Perspectives on History, April 1, 2017;2019 W.W. Norton and Co., Inc.
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Many history majors go on to become educators, focusing on the communication of their ideas. Educators include teachers in elementary and secondary education. They also include higher education on many levels, including teaching at community colleges, undergraduate colleges and universities. But educators also are important members of other educational institutions that you may not think of as immediately as schools. These include historic sites and museums, where history majors can become docents, education directors, curators, guides and interpreters. In addition, teaching can take forms other than standing up in front of a classroom. These include work as historical consultants, contract archivists, public historians, writers and even filmmakers.
Many history majors enter careers as researchers,
emphasizing their skills in evaluating and analyzing documentary
evidence. Historians as researchers include public historians as well as
policy advisers, who serve as planners, evaluators and policy analysts,
often for state, local and federal governments. In addition, historians
often find employment as researchers for museums and historical
organizations, or pursue additional specialized training to become
professionals in cultural resources management and historic
Because success as a history major depends upon
learning to write effectively, many historians become writers and
editors. They make their living as authors of historical books, or more
commonly, they work as editors at publishing houses. Many historians
become print and broadcast journalists, and others become documentary
editors who oversee the publication of documents such as those produced
by government agencies.
history majors must learn to deal with documents, many pursue a one- or
two-year graduate program in library studies (commonly, a master of
library science, or MLS, degree) or archival management, and enter
careers as information managers. With this additional training, they
enter the fields of archives management, information management, records
management and librarianship.
history majors find that historical training makes a perfect
preparation for law school, as historians and lawyers often do roughly
the same thing — they argue persuasively using historical data to support
their arguments. Many history majors become lawyers; some undertake
careers in litigation support as paralegals. Others enter public service
and become policy makers, serve as legislative staff members at all
levels of government, or become officers of granting agencies or
people overlook the value of a history major in preparing an
intelligent person for a career in business. Historians track historic
trends, an important skill for people who are developing products to
market or are engaged in corporate or financial planning. Many people
who completed an undergraduate degree in history enter banking,
insurance and stock analysis. Historians also learn how to write
persuasively, and this training gives them an edge in advertising,
communications media and marketing. Many industries additionally depend
on an intimate knowledge of government policies and historical trends;
thus, history majors have found their skills useful in extractive
industries and in public utilities.