What Are the Benefits of a History Degree?

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History is the study and interpretation of past societies, cultures, places and events. History majors develop a strong understanding of human nature and predictive capabilities, based on their examination of what has happened before and why. They acquire a broad base of intellectual skills that can help them to excel in many types of jobs.

Definition

  • Historians are considered social scientists, a group that includes anthropologists, sociologists and archaeologists. "Their research provides insights into the different ways individuals, groups, and institutions make decisions, exercise power, and respond to change," The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) explains in the Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-2011.

Skills Acquisition

  • History majors learn to collect and analyze data and historical documents, including photos and other artwork, to determine their accuracy, consistency and relevance. They must also be imaginative, using subtle clues to piece together past events, based on incomplete and often misleading information. They develop strong investigative skills, sifting through many types of evidence and comparing and interpreting them to verify what occurred in the past and their influence on the present and future.

History-related Jobs

  • History majors who seek jobs related to their course of study have more options than many people realize, a CNN article on the topic points out. History majors can use their skills directly as archivists, museum curators, researchers for a publishing company or state or local governments and consultants for historic restoration contractors. Many history majors become teachers and writers, of course. Other potential occupations include intelligence analyst, tourism bureau manager, national park assistant/guide, researcher for historic preservation societies and research consultant for movies, CNN adds.

Other Jobs

  • Many history majors take jobs that aren't directly related to their degree but draw on their analytical and research skills and study of human nature, BLS points out. History majors become lawyers, political lobbyists, management consultants, librarians and insurance agents, for example.

Income Potential

  • Incomes for people with history degrees vary widely by profession, BLS reports. Data for May 2008, the latest available, showed that pay for those who worked as historians was lowest for those who work in local government (average of $37,590) and highest for those who work in management, science consulting and technical services (average of $82,850). History degree holders who hold non-history-related jobs tended to earn the most, especially when working in the for-profit sector, CNN reported.

References

  • Photo Credit words of history image by Julia Nelson from Fotolia.com
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