The archivist can be found in a variety of settings, including museums, libraries, universities, government, and corporations. The archivist handles historically significant and permanent records. Additionally, archivists work to preserve, edit, and appraise the permanent records of a museum collection, library, corporation, or university. Typically, an archivist coordinates lectures, workshops, and tours pertaining to archival science of the collection. If you have a passion for history and preserving historically significant documents, you may want to consider a career as an archivist. Additionally, if you have a passion for public service and educating others in combination with your passion for the various facets of history, this may be a field you want to consider exploring further.
Why Become An Archivist
Within an archival setting, archivists typically work with specific types of historical or essential records. The records may include photographs, film reels, sound recordings, electronic records, letters, books, maps, and manuscripts. As an archivist, you will be using your knowledge and expertise to archive the documents and records within the collection, so they will be available for future generations. Without the archivist’s preservation of history, we would not be able to see, hear, or understand the history of our past and how it has shaped our present world.
Archivist Work Environment
Archivists generally work within a university, museum, library, government, or corporate setting. Furthermore, archivists typically work full-time and may travel to obtain new records or documents for their institution’s collection. The work of an archivist can be very tedious and require patience, however, the job will be very gratifying, as you will be preserving history for our future generation.
The Occupational Employment and Wages Report of the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the US Department of Labor showed that the mean annual wage of archivists is $63,599 or a median wage of $31.00 an hour. This is quite an increase from their median annual wage of $47,340, which was recorded in May 2012. The hourly wage or annual salary may vary for an archivist because it depends on the size or type of institution.
Archivist Career Outlook
The career outlook for archivists appears to be promising. From 2012 to 2022, the overall employment of archivists is expected to grow at least 17%. The archival field is rather small; therefore, the growth is expected to produce approximately 1,100 new careers over the next decade or so. As private and public institutions begin to expand, more records will need to be archived and properly managed. The archivist’s role has slowly begun to change due to technology; archivists have begun to electronically archive records and documents. Museums, libraries, universities, and similar cultural institutions will continually be in demand; with the need of cultural institutions, archivists and their expertise will be invaluable for the preservation of our past and future.
Archivists will typically hold a Bachelor’s degree within the areas of archival science, library science, history, and management of records. The common dominator of any archival or records management degree is to offer practical, coursework training in order to understand the various facets of archival techniques. Additionally, it is most likely that you will need to further your education by obtaining a Master’s degree in a specialized area of archival science.