How Do I Become A Historian?
"I am going to pursue a bachelors degree in history, and would like to know how to become a historian. Also, what exactly does a historian do and what occupations do they have?"
asked by Maggie R. from Cleveland, Ohio
Studying history fascinates many people. By obtaining a master’s degree in history or a doctoral degree in history, you can definitely get trained to become a historian. The general perception among people is that a historian can only become a professor at a college or a university. The fact, however, is that there are multiple job opportunities waiting for historians. So, if you have a strong passion for studying history and letting the world know about your discoveries, becoming a historian is just the right career option for you. What’s more important is to make sure that you do have a sustained interest in history because you will need to study for many years.
Becoming a Historian
Historians must have a higher level of degree to actually gain the title of historian. In order to become a historian, you must first go to college or a university and earn your bachelor’s degree in history, preferably with a focus on social sciences, anthropology, or language. Also, people that are getting their history degree while aspiring to become a historian also take courses in writing, composition and rhetoric, and public speaking. These courses, however, are usually included in the degree requirements.
Once you have obtained your bachelor’s degree in history, you will need to choose a university in which you would like to pursue your graduate degree. In order to take this next important step, upon graduation of college with your degree in history, you will need to identify your focus area in the great field of the subject. This will allow you to actually focus on a specific time period (usually one that interests you) or the type of history you would like to study. Historians surely have fascinating choices in specific areas of study! Types of history are:
- Political History is the history of our government, the leaders and politicians of the past and their philosophies, political ideologies, policy making, and the history of political events that have shaped our world today.
- Military History the study of the past and present relationships relations among different nations, the diplomats of those nations, and philosophies of diplomacy between our world nations and leaders.
- Social History the historical aspects of ways of life among many social systems and customs. People that study social history increase their understanding of family traditions, education, demographics, and institutions.
- Religious History is the history of the many religions of the world, the traditions and beliefs of those religions, and the disciplines and ideologies.
- Economic History encompasses the entire economic sectors of the world. Industries, the markets, production, and the consumption of the major world economies is studied in this focus area of history.
- Cultural History comprises the study of world languages, arts, literature, entertainment, and other cultures’ traditions and lifestyles of the diverse populations of our world.
The main focus of a historian’s job is to research and study the history of the past and be able to communicate the events through published works. Communicating the past events, particularly ones of interest to some, or ones that spark curiosity with unanswered questions, are what make the historian’s job so exciting. People love hearing stories about events that happened, as they give them great insight to why particular events occur today.
A historian plays the role of putting together the pieces of a large puzzle; they figure out through many types of research how past events all “fit” together. They then are able to come to a conclusion, or submit a theory on what happened or why situations happened. A historian has a great love for history because of this; they are a major part of putting it all together!
Once you receive your graduate degree (or degrees, as many history majors have more than one!), you will want to begin looking for that one occupation that will bring you much satisfaction. For some, they find that teaching in colleges or universities is very fulfilling.
For others, they would like to step out into the world and work in a field other than education. These areas of work can include: data historian, archivist, an author, museum curator, librarian, public speaker, government administration, military organizations, and researcher.
Reaching toward the title of historian is a rewarding, challenging, and noble objective. Once you receive this highly-regarded designation, your possibilities are vast in finding the career that you take pleasure in and appreciate!