By: Coach Kristine
A degree in history opens up a world of possibilities when considering future careers. As a history major, you would be in the company of many famous men and women. The list includes former Presidents like John F. Kennedy and George W. Bush, entertainers like Katherine Hepburn and Steve Carrell, journalists like Wolf Blitzer, and figures in other fields like Lee Iacocca, Chelsea Clinton, Julia Child, Martha Stewart, and Kareem Abdul Jabbar.
As coaches, we have conversations with students who like history but have no idea what to do with a history major. What often makes this confusing is that there is not just one clear career track for history majors. Based on a study conducted by the History Department of Vanderbilt University, 90% of students who graduated with a degree in history indicated that their degree was directly useful in their positions across all types of occupations. In general, about 30% of history majors go into the business field, 24% go into law, 17% go into education, 8% go to grad school, 7% go into the military, and 12% go into other fields. The most popular destination for post-grads is law school.
There are many possible career paths to take with a history degree. If you are interested in education, you could work at a school, college, or historic site. If you are interested in research, consider working for museums, think tanks, and small businesses or non-profits whose mission is historic preservation. Many history majors shift their focus to communication by getting jobs as journalists, writers, or editors. The skills developed in a history major can bring success in information management with careers like archivist, records manager, and librarian. If you are interested in becoming an advocate, you could pursue a career as a lawyer, paralegal, legislator, or litigator. Also, historians often take contract jobs for corporations.
Many skills are developed through studying history including critical thinking and analysis, knowledge of the history of various geographical areas and time periods, research and communication skills, problem solving, and creativity. History grads are able to find meaningful patterns and connections in data, understand and interpret the present and the past, develop analytical arguments, and write persuasively.
To make yourself more marketable in the job search, make the most of these skills! Start writing and show off your writing abilities through a blog or portfolio. Promote your great research skills. Integrate your major into your business plan, and don’t be afraid to get creative with it! We also recommend that you pursue an internship in your field of interest. This can often lead to a full-time job!
Feel free to contact your CAA coaches if you have any questions about your career options. We’re here to help!