To identify what education or training is typical for careers within the history field, use the O*Net hyperlinks below and click on “Job Zone.” In addition, seek out the advice of fellow students and alumni working in the industry using our mentoring program on The Quad (for current students and alumni only) or speak with a career coach.
As with all majors, the education you receive serves as a foundation of knowledge that prepares you for what you may face in the professional world. The career field you chose may require additional education or experience.
A genealogist is an individual who possesses the specialized skills that are required to assist people in finding information on a person, family member, or ethnic group. Genealogists are able to work at libraries, private companies such as Ancestry.com, Family Search, and AfricanAncestry.com, historical societies and organizations, and for themselves as entrepreneurs.
How to become a Genealogist:
Get Educated: Research university-based programs and local genealogical societies to learn more about the industry, typical educational requirements, internship opportunities, and tips and tricks for succeeding in the field:
- Guide to Family History Research
- The Researcher’s Guide to American Genealogy by Val D. Greenwood.
- The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Genealogy by Christine Rose and Kay Germain Ingalls
- How To Do Everything Genealogy by George G. Morgan
Gain Experience: Take an internship with your local historical society or volunteer at a local museum to support research.
Get Connected: Join networking sites like LinkedIn to connect with professionals working in the industry, stay up-to-date on what subjects are popular to research, join professional organizations, and read literary publications.
You may further your knowledge in the field by preparing for certification through the Board for Certification of Genealogists.
Gaining real-life experience is an ideal way to start a new career. Below are government-organized internship programs which provide students or recent graduates the opportunity to gain experience. Many require students to maintain either a half-time or a full-time status. The best way to identify potential opportunities such as these is to contact branch offices directly, search USAJobs.gov, or look at the agencies career portal. Keep in mind that these positions are not always posted online, so direct contact with the agency is key.
The Pathways Program is a federal initiative that offers internship programs for current students as well as training and career development opportunities for recent graduates. Recent graduates must apply within two years of degree or certificate completion (except for veterans; due to their military service obligation, they have up to six years to apply). The internship program for current students replaces the former Student Career Experience Program (SCEP) and Student Temporary Employment Program (STEP).
The Presidential Management Fellows Program (PMF)
PMF is designed to attract outstanding federal service members from a wide variety of academic disciplines who have a clear interest in, and commitment to, a career in the analysis and management of public policies and programs. To be eligible, an individual must be a graduate student completing or expected to complete, during the current academic year, an advanced degree. Graduate students who have had their degree conferred in the preceding two years from the opening of the vacancy announcement are also eligible for PMF.
The Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP)
WRP is coordinated by the Office of Disability Employment Policy and the U.S. Department of Defense, and aims to provide summer work experience and, in some cases, full-time employment to college students with disabilities. The program develops partnerships with other federal agencies, each of which makes a commitment to provide summer jobs and a staff recruiter. Each year, recruiters interview about 1,500 students with disabilities at college and university campuses across the nation and develop a database listing the qualifications of each student.
There are several government agencies and organizations that seek candidates with degrees in history. The below list provides a few example places one might find employment using their degree along with some sample position titles to provide a glimpse of the possibilities.
While many of the major job search engines will have positions in several fields to choose from, the list below is specific to the history field.
The American Alliance of Museums (AAM)
American Historical Association
History News Network (HNN)
H-Net Job Guide
Museum Employment Resource Center (MERC)
The National Council on Public History (NCPH)
Organization of American Historians (OAH) Job Listings Online
Society of American Archivists (SAA)
As in many fields, there are several certifications that individuals may obtain in order to make themselves more competitive and marketable in the job search process. Please note that these certifications are not provided by APUS nor can they be obtained through the completion of one of our certificates or degree programs (graduate or undergraduate).
Board for Certification of Genealogists
International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists
The Academy of Certified Archivists
U.S. Department of Education (contact information for each State Education Agency)