What can you do with a History degree?

10 jobs you can do with a History degree – the cool, the incredible and the unexpected

Loved studying the Tudors at school? Maybe you’ve been through your History A-Level and always fancied yourself as a museum tour guide, schooling kids about how the past will shape our future. Perhaps you’ve already completed your degree in History – go you!

But what can you do with a History degree?

You may have found yourself wondering what History degree jobs are on the cards for you after university – and we don’t blame you. The big wide world can be daunting when it comes to following the career path you’ve always dreamed about.

That’s why we’ve come up with killer inspiration for when it comes to putting your well-earned qualification to use. Explore some of the more conventional options – along with some that don’t even seem related to the degree – plus any extra steps you’d need to take to get there!

We’re not saying this is definitely where you’ll go or a complete list of your options, but we hope it will set your imagination cogs spinning.

History degree jobs: The conventional route

When you’re thinking about careers, keep reminding yourself – nothing is set in stone. Studying History will provide you with plenty of awesome skills for when you’re working your way up to the big bucks.

Historian

It might seem obvious (it’s right there in the word) but heading down the historian route is a very rewarding job role, and also allows you to showcase those bright-spark skills of yours.

As well as being a highly regarded and respected profession in the historical field, if your passion lies with researching, analysing and interpreting data unearthed from the depths of the past within a specific area, then this could be the job for you!

It’s important to say though, that you’ll probably require a PhD or a Master’s in History for this option. If you do, you can find job opportunities at colleges, universities, museums or government agencies.

*Top tip* Continue researching within your field to make yourself stand out in this competitive job sector. Many occupations require their employed historians to publish documents, so attend lectures, visit museums and conduct personal research to become the best in the biz.

Lawyer

Surprisingly, law firms are actively encouraging non-law graduates to apply for positions as successful lawyers, solicitors and paralegal assistants – roughly 50% of graduates are from non-law backgrounds, so you’re at no disadvantage if this is the case.

It makes sense. History students often have skills that are seen as highly valuable in the legal universe. From analysing information and clear communications to finding key trends and unique flaws in data, you’ll be seen as an asset to many a firm.

So, how do you become a lawyer with a History degree?

You don’t have to go down the traditional three-year law degree course (aka. LLB), a law conversion course will bring you up to speed with other law grads in a year so you can follow your lawyer dreams (and become a real-life Elle Woods).

Archivist

Sounds pretty fancy, right?

An archivist’s job involves the storing, identification, cataloguing and indexing of important historical documents, as well as the conversion of existing archives from traditional to digital format for online preservation.

This is where your History degree comes in. All archivist positions require a degree (check), but you’ll also need to gain a postgraduate qualification specifically in archives and/or records management, which is accredited by the Archived and Records Association (ARA).

If this sounds like your cup of tea, you could find yourself working in local government, national museums and archives or large businesses.

History grad jobs: the unexpected

Journalist

Media and communications – journalism in particular here – is often a popular area for History grads. You’ll have to research and collect information (something that’ll be second-nature to you as a History student) and present it to a large audience, showing a cultural understanding and sensitivity towards certain issues.

Although most people with a passion for journalism plan to study a degree in the subject, there’s no stopping you fighting for your chosen career. A post graduate course in journalism (NCTJ accredited, that is the National Council for the Training of Journalists) will allow you to learn the technical skills and understanding you require, however we’d say work experience is key.

Having plenty of experience on your CV will be a lifesaver when you’re on the hunt for a journalist role; contact local papers and radio stations, write plenty of articles, create your own blog – get yourself out there and start making those contacts!

Tour Guide

If you’ve got a lifelong passion for history and effective communication skills, becoming a tour guide could be the perfect match for you. The required qualifications could vary between companies, but a History degree will be a huge bonus for a career in this field.

You’ll spend time teaching others your in-depth knowledge and answering questions about locations, artefacts and their history; this rewarding and hands-on role is anything but boring.

The rich & famous

Ever wondered if there are any people in the public eye who just happen to have started their mammoth careers off with a History degree?

We’ve picked a few of our fave examples to remind you that nothing is locked in – historical knowledge can take you anywhere!

Political honchos

One of the most prominent UK history grads is former Prime Minister, Gordon Brown. Other successful politicians include Alan Milburn, Kenneth Baker and John Prescott – a testament to where determination, passion and education might take you.

Media-mad personalities

“Mayooo. Simon Mayooo.” Sound familiar? You may have heard the slogan on the radio from time-to-time, which introduces radio presenter (and History graduate) Simon Mayo who has presented on Radio 1, BBC Radio 2 and BBC Radio 5 Live.

Other grads you may have noticed on your tele include the presenter of ‘The Jonathan Ross Show’ himself, Louis Theroux (world-famous documentary filmmaker and journalist) and bold fictional character, Ali G (aka. Sacha Baron Cohen).

Good enough for royalty

Okay so, your degree can’t literally make you a prince, however it’s interesting to note that Prince Charles was the first British heir to the throne to complete a university degree – and what a good degree he chose!

Do you know anyone who went on to do something cool after studying History? Give them a shout out on Twitter @clv_uk for a Campus Living Villages retweet, or head back to the blog to read more of our student survival tips.