Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

What can I do with a history degree?

What can I do with a history degree?Are you thinking about a degree in history, but worried about getting a job after you graduate? Check out this list of careers to find out what you could do to turn your passion for the past into a profession.

What are your skills?

A history degree isn’t a vocational degree, but you can still develop skills that will help in the workplace such as:

  • putting forward ideas and arguments in a concise manner
  • communicating clearly in writing and speech
  • researching and judging the reliability of sources
  • organizing material in a logical and coherent way

For employers, these skills will be more important than the actual subject of your degree. So, it’s worth thinking about your skills, then considering how you might develop and use them in the jobs listed below.

What jobs can I do with a history degree?

Lawyer

It will take some extra study at law school, but history students have the expertise needed in research and analysis to be successful lawyers or paralegal assistants. Communication skills will come in handy in these jobs, too. You could start out making £20,000-£30,000 as a paralegal. 

Becoming a lawyer doesn't mean taking a whole new degree: you can take a conversion course to get up to speed with a year's full-time study.

Teacher

If you want to stay in history, teaching may be the most obvious path to follow, especially if you are comfortable presenting your passion for history in front of students. Unless you teach privately, you will have to do teacher training along the way, but there is funding available for postgraduate teacher training as well as employment-based training options. Starting teachers can make from £21,000 up to £26,000, depending on where they teach.

Academic

If you want to stay at the cutting edge of history, then going in to academia could be for you. As an academic, you'll work at a university, dividing your time between historical research and teaching duties. 

The route to academia starts with further study, up to PhD level. After that, you'll start applying for jobs with universities. This career route requires exceptional academic results and a lot of hard work. You also shouldn't expect to earn much during your postgraduate studies, or in your first job.

Academia could also open doors to things like writing a book or doing work in the media. You could also take on other work in the university you work at, such as pastoral tutoring.

Museum curator

A museum curator is responsible for organizing, caring for, and displaying works of art or historical pieces in a museum. They also have the task of educating the public about the museum’s pieces. You’ll need a large passion for your subject, because you’ll have to study at the Master’s or PhD level to get the job. You could start out making £13,000-£15,000.

Tour guide

This might be a good starting point on the road to a curator position, or it might be a lifelong passion. Either way, you’ll be using your communication skills and research on a subject to educate others. Tour guide salaries will depend on where you work. You could also volunteer and gain experience to put on your CV. This site has more info about getting work in museums as a tour guide or a curator.

Writer or Editor

If you’re passionate and knowledgeable about history and are good at writing, you might want to work for yourself writing books and magazine articles. It may sound like an attractive idea but be warned, the pay is difficult to predict, and there's no guarantee of getting published. You might find more stable work as an editor for a publisher, since you’ll have the writing skills needed for the job. You could make somewhere between £18,000 and £30,000 depending on where you work. 

Related links