Department of History
4240 Campus Drive
Lima, OH 45804

CAREERS IN HISTORY

A degree in history provides students with a variety of valuable and marketable skills.  Historians not only learn to ask the right questions, they learn how to find the answers and how to communicate their findings effectively--they are trained analysts, researchers, and communicators.  As a result, history majors often develop careers in fields such as law, education, journalism, information management, historic preservation, government, and business.  So, don't assume that if you major in history your options are limited to teaching.

 

From the OSU Lima Guide to Career Research, 2007:

You need to take charge of this process or it will take charge of you.

The four things you can do for yourself are:

 1) Think about what you want to do, what you are good at, either for the immediate future or the long term.  You also need to test yourself on your flexibility in terms of where you want to live.  In most cases, professionals are not at liberty to think "Well, I want to stay in Allen County near my family."  Prepare for the possibility that you may have to live far away, or that you may be unsettled for several years as you look for the ideal position.

 2) Research job sites as listed below.  Try to get a feel for the full array of work environments that exist out there.  When it comes time to apply for a position, you should have mastered the basic language of that career so that you can speak and write about it as if you know for sure that this is what you want to do: you must convince an employer of that.

 3) Perhaps go to school some more.  An MA increases your range of choices.  You also might consider pursuing an MA in something other than history, depending on the direction you are heading.  If you want to teach in a junior college, for example, a BA in history and an MA in a closely related subject (political science, gender studies, art) will make you more specialized and more attractive for certain positions.  If you are thinking of either an MA or a doctoral program, you need to think over one year in advance and get good advice from someone in our department.

 4) Talk to people in the field in which you are interested.  Knock on doors.  Develop a c.v. that shows you are heading in a specific direction.  Get good help with the c.v..--a poorly constructed one will hurt your chances.

 

More resources:

http://chronicle.com/jobs/ 
The Chronicle of Higher Education is the central clearing house for jobs in higher education, including postings from the highest to lowest levels, teaching and non-teaching.  The website offers the latest listings only for subscribers.  Otherwise the postings for the non-paying public are a week or two old.  OSU Lima subscribes.  Ask a faculty member to see a hard copy.

http://www.h-net.org/jobs/ 
This is the leading free job posting site for our profession--most are positions for PhD's but there are some postings for lower degrees--like jobs offered by the CIA!  Listings are richest in the fall.

http://history.osu.edu/graduate/prospective 
OSU History Department graduate studies web page.

http://u101.com/ 
National guide to colleges and universities.

http://www.historians.org/pubs/Free/careers/Index.htm
American Historical Association career guide.

Print Resources:

Stephen Lambert and Julie DeGalan. Great Jobs for History Majors. Boston: McGraw-Hill, 2001. ISBN 0658010611

Facts on File. Top Careers For History Graduates. New York: Ferguson Publishing Company, 2004. ISBN 081605567X

 

 

Some Famous Historians:

Herodotus Herodotus (c. 484-c. 425 BC)

Leopold von Ranke Leopold von Ranke (1795-1886)

Karl Marx Karl Marx (1818-1883)

Woodrow Wilson President Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924)

Simon Schama Simon Schama (1945-)