Thursday, July 14, 2011

Got My Degree . . . Now What?

Randall Stephens

Get a job, first and foremost. . . .

At the HS blog we've had some discussions about careers for history majors. (Here, here, and here, for instance.) We'd like to keep the conversation going. Some questions that might be worth pursuing:

* What career information resources are available for history majors?

* Is history a portable major? Can the skills learned in the discipline transfer into other fields?

* What can history majors do if they choose not to teach history or go on to grad or law school?

* Why do many prelaw students major in history?

* If the job market is so bad right now, why should an undergrad major in history rather than majoring in a preprofessional program?

A recent graduate emailed me the other day. He was having trouble finding a job that was directly related to history. It made me think that my history department should sponsor at least one lecture every year that addresses the subject head on. I talk about what history majors can do with their degrees in my classes, but perhaps it's time to go beyond that.

Fortunately, my former student's question came right as the AHA blog put up an excellent post on "Finding History Jobs Outside of the Academy." Serendipity! "Looking for a history job outside of academia? While the AHA publishes job ads (including some outside the classroom) online and in the back pages of Perspectives on History, there are many other history job listing sites online. This post draws from our Careers in Public History page, where you can find a number of links to job postings for work in museums, historical societies, state and local government, archives, and more."

For more on this, see John Fea's thoughful blog, The Way of Improvement Leads Home. Fea regularly posts on "What Can You Do with a History Major?" For more, check out the AHA's "What Can You Do with a Graduate Degree in History?" Other resource pages include: Stanford University, Department of History, Careers for History Majors; American University, Careers in History; University of Texas at Austin, Career Resources for History Majors; and Wright State University, Public History, Career Opportunities.

Or, if you'd prefer old-fashioned print, have a look at: Stephen Lambert and Julie DeGalan, Great Jobs for History Majors (McGraw-Hill, 2007); What to Do with Your History or Political Science Degree (Princeton Review, 2007); Katharine Brooks, You Majored in What? Mapping Your Path From Chaos to Career (Viking, 2009); Jules R. Benjamin, A Student's Guide to History (Bedford/St. Martin's, 2009).

1 comment:

Bob Beatty said...

Here's another list of options put together by members of the AASLH Professional Development Committee that might help folks looking to break into the field of museum, historical societies, etc.