For a thorough discussion of all the careers that are open to history majors, see
Careers for Students of History, written by Constance Schulz, Page Putnam Miller, Aaron Marrs, and Kevin Allen, and
published by the American Historical Association, The National Council for Public
History, and the Public History Program, University of South Carolina.
Historians do not receive much attention from the Occupational Outlook Handbook prepared by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. Historians
are included in the section on Social Scientists, Other and are discussed rather briefly. You might find it amusing, sobering, or frightening
to read how the Bureau regards historians.
The blog “In the Service of Clio: Essays on Career Management in the Historical Profession” by Nicholas Evan Sarantakes often has essays about careers in historical endeavors,
intended especially for persons in the early phases of their careers.
Alexandra Lord and Julie Taddeo, both of whom have a Ph.D. in history and left academe
after a few years of employment, said when they started Beyond Academe in 2003: “We have both come to love life ‘outside the box’ and we heartily recommend
it to others!” They created the site to give advice and encouragement to those who
either choose or are forced by necessity to find employment outside the classroom.
Advice for job-seekers
There are many good sites for advice on the art of seeking an academic position. Among
Searching for a position
You will find many online resources for available positions in the field of history.
Of them, the following are free services to job-seekers:
Another resource, the Online Job Ads section of the American Historical Association,
was restricted to members of the AHA until 1 September 2011. Now it is available to
non-members as well. Members will access the ads as they always have, by logging in
to Member Services. Non-members will need first to create a free user account. Once that account is created, non-members will also log in to Member Services but will see only the job ads, not links to other online member benefits, such as
access to the American Historical Review and discounts on publications and the annual meeting.
Interviewing at conventions
Many history departments conduct interviews with applicants during the annual conventions
of historical associations. Some will interview “drop-ins”; others will interview
only those candidates who have already applied for positions and have been selected
for personal interviews. Among the leading conventions are those of the
Departments that are searching for a candidate in a specific field will often interview
at the convention of the professional organization for that field. Examples of such
Your major advisor will be aware of conventions and meetings within his or her discipline
and may know of positions that are not advertised widely.