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How to Become a Historian

There are many people who love the study of history. These people often believe the only careers available to historians are college professor positions.

However, for historians with the right qualifications, there are many fulfilling job opportunities. Many of these opportunities require additional years of study and work experience.

Decide whether you really have the aptitude and interest in history to become a historian. Make sure you have a sustained interest that will take you through many years of study.

Take steps to determine how you can finance a college career, as this is prerequisite to most any historian related position.

Apply and do your best to get into one with a top-notch history department. Do your research to find the best fit, and begin at a college with graduate degrees in history, to avoid having to transfer later.

Take all of the required history courses for your major, but also take plenty of writing courses to help in your future career. Take electives that will boost your understanding of your historical interest areas.

Get your undergraduate degree in history with the highest possible GPA. Take the GRE to get into a graduate history program, and apply to graduate program.

Earn an master's in history to get a job in historical societies, museums, libraries and other venues that need historians on staff. Continue your education for a PhD in history to become a professor of history.

Publish historical papers, reports and books whenever possible to establish yourself as an expert in your special interest area.


  • Public history jobs are what historians call positions outside academia.