Students at Chuckwagon

Career Planning Resources

Careers in History

Believe it or Not!

Every faculty member in the History and Social Studies Education Programs has pursued more than one path to the careers we have chosen.  We also developed a range of skills and abilities along the way that, at first glance, may seem unrelated to what we do now.  Each of us pursues various creative outlets as well.  The point?  Your education in the CU History and Social Studies Education Programs should be a time when you develop yourself both inside and outside the classroom, and within and outside of your area of academic interest.  This will help you define future goals leading to a meaningful career.  Below are some information resources on traditional employment tracks that History and Social Studies Education Majors follow as well as some other possibilities.  But these are only suggestions that cannot take the place of your own reflection on these things.  In general terms the CU History faculty think that you should consider doing the following:

  1. Pursue a free-time activity that allows you to be you, whether intellectual in nature or no.
  2. When opportunities arise, develop skills that challenge you.
  3. Take the chance to try out career paths through internships whenever you can in the years before you graduate.

I've Got Interests.  Where can I pursue them?

The answers to this question will vary by individual, but we can propose a few ideas here that might get you thinking in the right direction to achieve your goals.  Internships provide experience and, if you're lucky, some remuneration of your expenses and college credit.  Often, though, they are at major institutions in large cities, meaning that the ability to travel and relocate for a short time is necessary.  If you have family responsibilities, therefore, an internship may not be for you.  But always check the details before deciding in advance to pass up on what might be a golden opportunity that could also lead to college credit.  Summer Experience Scholarships are another way to go.  Usually places these programs are highly competitive and depend on your academic record and sometimes on your having developed interests in line with the scholarship program.  Here, too, temporary relocation is often necessary as most programs take place at a particular institution.  The advantage of these opportunities is that they always provide a satisfying intellectual challenge and they bring you into close contact with top experts in a particular field or academic discipline.  Local Internships are also a good bet, especially for those with less ability to relocate temporarily.  The History Program and the Political Science Program have both established ties to local institutions where you can intern for college credit, though keep in mind that you need to fulfill certain minimum academic standards to qualify, so keep those grades up!  Finally, Jobs.  Since many students work, making work count towards your future plans is always a possibility, although not always achievable.  Instead of thinking in terms of a restaurant job, though, try for a position assisting at a law firm, an insurance agency, or a bank.  Positions like these may provide more interesting work and will bring you into contact with those that may be useful in future career plans.  For suggestions for each of these four areas click on the hypertext below:

Undergraduate Experience Opportunities

I've Built up my resumé, Where Can I put my skills to work?

The short answer to this question: almost anywhere (and we say this with a straight face).  Employers have recently listed what they think are the top skills they look for in new employees, and that's all employers.  And contrary to what you will often hear, they don't list technical skills first.  They list critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication skills as among their top three, all of which are precisely what your degree in History has trained you in.  To paraphrase the great environmental historian William Cronon, historians are professional generalists.  This is a fancy way of saying that historians can adapt their skills to become expert in just about anything.  But, that said, there are some useful ways to think about where you might want to head:

The Professional Historian Track:

Questions to Ask    

College/University

Faculty Member Track

 

The Museum/Archival /Public History Track   Secondary School Teacher
Further Education Needed?

Yes, an M.A. & a Ph.D.

in History

Yes, an M.A. in Museum Studies/Archives & Records

Management or Public History

For those with the B.A. in History, alternative certification will be needed
How Many Years of Training? 5-8 2-3 0
How Much Will I Earn to Start? 40-50K/year 30-40K/year 30-40K/year

Professional Historians in the Private Sector

Questions to Ask     Professional Genealogist

 

The Documentary Maker or Researcher
  Corporate Historian/Archivist
Further Education Needed?

No.

Yes, an M.A. in History, Public History, or Film

An M.A. in Archives & Records Management for an archivist position
How Many Years of Training? 0 2-3 up to 2-3
How Much Will I Earn to Start? Highly Variable Highly Variable Highly Variable

Historians as Knowledge Managers

Questions to Ask     Journalism

 

Publishing
  Database Design
Further Education Needed? Possibly an M.A. in Journalism

No.

Possibly an M.A. in Information Management or Informatics
How Many Years of Training? up to 2-3 0 up to 2-3
How Much Will I Earn to Start? Highly Variable Highly Variable Highly Variable

Historians in Allied Professional Fields

Questions to Ask     Law

 

Civil Service
  Medicine
Further Education Needed? a J.D.

No, but you need to pass a civil service exam. of some sort.

an M.D.
How Many Years of Training? 3-4 0 8-15 depending on specialty
How Much Will I Earn to Start? 60-80K/year 30-40K/year 150,000/year minimum


Job Resources in History

Contact Information

South Shepler, Room 630
2800 W. Gore Blvd.
Lawton, OK 73505-6377
580.581.2499 Voice
580.581.2941 Fax
ljanda@cameron.edu