Career Guidance What is a good career for someone who loves history but doesn't want to be a teacher?

Mar 2017
One of the Thirteen Colonies
I'm a college student and when I enrolled in college and said I wanted to focus on history they asked me if I wanted to be a teacher and if I had a focus in history (IE, US History I, II, European History, ECT) Only problem is, I didn't have a focus and I didn't want to be a teacher. I still don't have a focus or want to be a teacher so what is there for me? I've done some research and I've largely settled on being a librarian which my research says a history degree will help with but I'd like other options.
Mar 2017
One of the Thirteen Colonies
Nothing wrong with librarian.
I agree with you wholeheartedly. I'd love to work in a library because I have such a deep and reverent love for books. My only problem or worry with that is it requires a master's degree and I'm struggling through a liberal arts degree right now.

I'm worried that somehow I wont be able to do it.


Ad Honorem
Aug 2013
I agree with you wholeheartedly. I'd love to work in a library because I have such a deep and reverent love for books. My only problem or worry with that is it requires a master's degree and I'm struggling through a liberal arts degree right now.

I'm worried that somehow I wont be able to do it.
I love and revere books as well, but I make my living as a carpenter.

Don't become discouraged but be reasonable in your outlook.



Ad Honorem
Dec 2015
For the OP, history can be a hobby instead of a career.
I have many hobbies but just a career.


Forum Staff
May 2013
Albuquerque, NM
Librarian includes careers in all sorts of Archives. So an MSLS is a good qualifier across a much wider field than public libraries. Almost every organization has its own archives and records of their past. Auction houses, appraisers, museums, media and government all have positions that a well trained and educated historian will be preferred.

The two most common paths for History Graduates are: Law and Politics. History graduates tend to do well in Law, because they've learned to do top notch research, properly cite sources, evaluated and analyze complex problems, and the ability to write and express well-organized arguments. Knowing history, especially the history of one's own nation is a key element for anyone entering politics. History students occupy important positions from staff to the highest offices in the land. Enter Civil Service (knowing how to excel in a testing environment is a big plus).

Those are common career paths for history students, but there are a host of other positions where the skills you learn as a History Major will stand you in good stead. Reading and writing are essential to virtually every professional career, so Liberal Arts degrees have a big advantage. Knowing humans, their cab abilities and failings, is fundamental to leadership, and where best can one learn about humans than in studying history? Students in other disciplines may be focused on the present and the expected near-term future, but historians know, or should know, how and why the present situation came to be. That improves the ability to forecast the likely near-term future, even if it is still mostly art and guesses.

This question comes up here on a regular basis. Duh. Look into some of those old threads, and make your own determination of what is available to history grads in the way of careers.


Ad Honorem
Jul 2016
Lawyer is the obvious. If you can remember dates and details you can remember case law and pass your LCATs.

Anything you can think of that involves reading, writing, and critical thinking, apply for it and lie in your resume (they dont bother checking until you reach executive level). Hardest part with be getting the networking contacts to get you through the dreaded resume review by HR process. So meet people and realize that if your plan isn't to score an awesome job through a friemd, you're doing it wrong.

Govt jobs are always a standby. Little says "I'm willing to specialize in moving electronic documents to make it look like I'm working" like a liberal arts degree in History. For them, resume and networking is what lands you the job more than ability. Perks are nice but often the job is stuffing and torturous. Little brain use, but great security, good benefits.

I know a bunch of cops that were history majors, military too, it works well in both fields. They get paid well once they reach middling rank. Job is fun, adventurous, though it cam sap you of your sanity.

If you haven't noticed yet, or never had the opportunity to talk to anyone in their 30s or 40s, networking is the #1 education to learn to be successful. You can be a complete and total idiot, but if you know the right people you're golden.
Jul 2010
Law is often an addendum to someone who has studied an Arts degree in political science/International Relations/History (or across all three area as a double major in my case at undergrad level.)

Apart from that there is work available in archival and this can go across both public and private sectors. There is also work to be had as a "research officer," "project manager" (on the basis of completed work at a higher degree level,) and many other avenues that are available with government (foreign affairs, and cultural departments)

Then there is also diplomacy. If you know your way around history you're 3/5ths of the way towards becoming a social constructivist which is the latest trend with successful International Relations specialists. On the basis of that you may also be considered for the position of analyst, or strategist should you choose to follow an interest in political history.

The four fields of politics, philosophy, law and history really go hand in hand in hand and are the traditions of a well rounded Liberal Arts degree. If you wanted to go further down that road then you could also include sociology with a bit more effort.
Last edited:

paranoid marvin

Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
You may find that you enjoy history more when it's a hobby rather than a job. Get a job that allows you the time and finance to enjoy your favourite past time.