Historian Job Description [Updated for 2024]

historian job description

In our increasingly connected world, the significance of historians has never been more vital.

History progresses and with each era, the demand for insightful minds who can unravel, interpret, and safeguard our past continues to rise.

But let’s delve deeper: What’s genuinely expected from a historian?

Whether you are:

  • A job seeker trying to understand the core of this role,
  • A hiring manager outlining the perfect candidate,
  • Or simply fascinated by the inner workings of historical research and analysis,

You’re in the right place.

Today, we present a customizable historian job description template, designed for effortless posting on job boards or career sites.

Let’s dive right into it.

Historian Duties and Responsibilities

Historians delve into the past, examining and interpreting historical documents and sources.

They engage in extensive research, analysis, and writing to expand our understanding of the past.

They have a wide range of responsibilities, including:

  • Conducting research to uncover historical data
  • Interpreting, analyzing, and synthesizing historical information
  • Publishing research findings in academic journals, books, and other media
  • Teaching history courses at secondary and post-secondary levels
  • Providing historical context for current events or societal issues
  • Presenting research findings at academic conferences, public lectures, and other forums
  • Working with artifacts, documents, and other sources to preserve and interpret history
  • Consulting with government agencies, businesses, and non-profit organizations on historical matters
  • Collaborating with other historians and professionals in related fields


Historian Job Description Template

Job Brief

We are looking for a dedicated Historian to research, analyze, interpret, and present the past as recorded in sources, such as government and institutional records, newspapers and other periodicals, photographs, interviews, films, electronic media, and unpublished manuscripts, such as personal diaries and letters.

Historians must have the ability to think critically, write effectively, and use historical sources wisely.

Our ideal candidate is passionate about studying the past to make sense of the present and future and possesses excellent research and communication skills.



  • Conduct detailed research using a range of sources and methods
  • Record and preserve historical data
  • Develop and present hypotheses based on factual evidence
  • Write and publish articles, papers or books presenting research findings
  • Present research findings at academic conferences or public lectures
  • Work with archivists, curators, and other professionals to preserve and manage collections
  • Provide historical context for current events or phenomena
  • Participate in educational programming, such as lectures, workshops, and tours



  • Proven work experience as a Historian or similar role
  • Advanced knowledge of historical research methods and sources
  • Excellent analytical and critical thinking abilities
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills
  • Strong organizational and time management skills
  • BSc degree in History, Archaeology, or related field, Master’s degree preferred



  • 401(k)
  • Health insurance
  • Dental insurance
  • Retirement plan
  • Paid time off
  • Professional development opportunities


Additional Information

  • Job Title: Historian
  • Work Environment: Office setting with options for fieldwork. Some travel may be required for research purposes or conferences.
  • Reporting Structure: Reports to the Senior Historian or Director of Research.
  • Salary: Salary is based upon candidate experience and qualifications, as well as market and business considerations.
  • Pay Range: $45,000 minimum to $85,000 maximum
  • Location: [City, State] (specify the location or indicate if remote)
  • Employment Type: Full-time
  • Equal Opportunity Statement: We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity at our company. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, veteran status, or disability status.
  • Application Instructions: Please submit your resume and a cover letter outlining your qualifications and experience to [email address or application portal].


What Does a Historian Do?

Historians are professionals who study and interpret the past.

They work in a variety of settings such as universities, museums, archives, government agencies, consultancies, and even in businesses.

They conduct research using a variety of sources, such as archival documents, books, and artifacts, and then analyze and interpret their findings to develop an understanding of historical events, periods, or themes.

Historians often specialize in a specific period, region, or topic and may present their research through articles, books, reports, or lectures.

They may also use their research to provide historical context for current events or issues.

In addition to research, many historians teach at the university level, instructing students on different historical periods and methodologies.

Historians also often work in museums or historical sites, where they curate exhibitions, manage collections, and educate the public about history.

Some historians may also work in government, providing historical context for policy decisions, or in business, using their understanding of the past to help companies understand the context of their industries.

In all cases, the historian’s role is to use their understanding of the past to inform and educate others, whether that’s through teaching, research, or public engagement.


Historian Qualifications and Skills

Historians require a mix of technical knowledge, soft skills, and a deep understanding of past events, including:

  • Outstanding research skills to delve into historical data, literature, artifacts and other sources of information
  • Analysis and critical thinking skills to interpret historical information and draw conclusions
  • Excellent writing and communication skills to present historical research findings in a clear and engaging manner
  • Attention to detail and accuracy to ensure the authenticity and reliability of historical facts and interpretations
  • Knowledge of archival and data management methods to organize, catalog, and maintain historical documents and records
  • Ability to use specialized software and databases for historical research and data analysis
  • Passion and curiosity for history to continuously learn and discover new facts and perspectives
  • Teaching skills for those who wish to educate others about historical events and interpretations
  • Interpersonal skills to collaborate with fellow historians, archaeologists, anthropologists, and other professionals
  • Patience and perseverance, as historical research can be a long and meticulous process


Historian Experience Requirements

Historians often begin their journey with a bachelor’s degree in History, providing a solid foundation of knowledge.

This is often accompanied by internships or research assistant roles, where they gain firsthand experience in historical research and documentation.

After completing their undergraduate studies, aspiring historians often pursue a master’s or doctoral degree in History or related fields.

During this period, they may work as teaching assistants or research associates, which provides them with practical experience in historical analysis, teaching, and presentation.

Experienced historians may have 5 to 10 years of practical experience in the field.

This experience can be gained through working in museums, universities, archives, or government institutions.

This experience often involves conducting original research, archiving historical documents, curating museum exhibits, or teaching history.

Those with over 10 years of experience may hold senior positions in their institutions.

They may have published original research in academic journals, authored books, or contributed to public history initiatives.

These historians may also have experience managing projects or leading research teams.

Moreover, the ability to speak and read in more than one language is often required for historians, especially those focusing on non-native history.

This linguistic competency is gained over the years through intensive language study and practice.


Historian Education and Training Requirements

Historians typically require a bachelor’s degree in history or a related field as a minimum educational requirement.

This degree program offers students comprehensive knowledge about different periods, regions, and themes in history.

However, for more specialized positions, a master’s degree or Ph.D. in history or a related discipline might be required.

This higher education provides in-depth knowledge about specific historical periods or types of history like economic history, military history, political history, or cultural history.

In addition to formal education, practical experience is often gained through internships or research projects during their studies.

This gives historians the opportunity to put their theoretical knowledge into practice and gain experience in archival research, data analysis, and report writing.

Some historians may also choose to gain certification from organizations like the National Council on Public History.

This certification can demonstrate a historian’s professional competence and dedication to the field.

Furthermore, historians need excellent research, analytical, and communication skills.

Proficiency in a foreign language can be beneficial for historians who wish to specialize in a particular geographical area or historical period.

Continued professional development and staying updated with the latest research and findings in the field is also crucial for historians.


Historian Salary Expectations

The average salary for a Historian is $63,680 (USD) per year.

However, the actual earnings may vary based on experience, specialized field of history, location, and the nature of the employing organization or institution.


Historian Job Description FAQs

What skills does a historian need?

Historians should have excellent research skills, as they will spend a significant portion of their time studying historical documents and sources.

They should be proficient in critical thinking to be able to analyze and interpret historical events effectively.

Strong writing skills are also essential as they often need to report their findings in a clear and concise manner.

Additionally, historians should have good presentation skills to share their knowledge with others.


Do historians need a degree?

Yes, most historian positions require at least a bachelor’s degree in history or a related field.

However, for more advanced positions or specialized roles, a master’s degree or a Ph.D. might be required.

Courses in research methodologies, world history, and specific periods or topics in history are usually part of these degree programs.


What should you look for in a historian’s resume?

A historian’s resume should show a solid educational background in history or a related field, along with any specialized areas of study.

Look for experience in research, writing, and presenting findings.

If the historian has published work, such as articles or books, that is a significant plus.

Any experience teaching or working in museums, libraries, or other historical sites can also be beneficial.


What qualities make a good historian?

A good historian has a passion for history and a curiosity that drives them to dig deeper into historical events.

They are analytical, detail-oriented, and able to think critically about the sources and information they encounter.

Good historians are also excellent communicators, able to present their findings clearly and engagingly to a wide range of audiences.


What are the daily duties of a historian?

The daily duties of a historian can vary significantly depending on their specific role and area of expertise.

However, most historians spend a considerable amount of time conducting research, analyzing documents and artifacts, and writing reports or academic papers.

They might also teach history classes, give lectures or presentations, curate museum exhibits, or work on historical preservation projects.



So there we have it.

Today, we’ve delved into the intriguing world of what it truly means to be a historian.

And guess what?

It’s not just about studying old documents.

It’s about piecing together the puzzles of our past, one historical fact at a time.

With our comprehensive historian job description template and real-world examples, you’re fully prepared to step into the shoes of the past.

But why stop at just that?

Explore further with our job description generator. It’s your next step to creating meticulously detailed job listings or refining your resume to perfection.


Every historical fact is a piece of the grand tapestry of history.

Let’s unravel that tapestry. Together.

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