If you like diving into dusty tomes on the glories of past kings and kingdoms, studying the early history of man, or reading up on the scientific breakthroughs of the 20th century, you may just be a college history major. If so, you’re not alone. In 2011, about 35,000 bachelor’s degrees in history were awarded in the U.S., or 2 percent of all bachelor’s degrees. And the number of students seeking master’s degrees in history — even online master’s degrees — is rising fast.
But your passion for history isn’t enough of a reason to declare a major — you also need to consider what careers you can pursue with a degree in history, and whether those careers are right for you. Luckily, you’ve got plenty of options.
Some history majors go on to become lawyers. It’s easy to see why: each law is deeply rooted in the circumstances and time period that produced it. How can you truly understand the history of U.S. law without understanding the history that made U.S. law? If you’d like to enter an academic field, take your pick: you can become a primary or secondary school teacher, or if you decide to earn your Ph.D., you can teach at the postsecondary level. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that the number of postsecondary teachers is expected to grow faster than average job growth through 2020, a sign that this may be a wise career choice.
Becoming an archivist or librarian could keep you close to those books that first made you fall in love with history. In fact, as an archivist, you might come into regular contact with original documents, and be tasked with preserving them. The same goes if you become a curator.
But these are just a few of your options. Individuals with history majors have gone into diverse occupations, from standup comedians to U.S. presidents. Take a look at the infographic below to explore some of the options open to people interested in history.