Factors to consider when planning your career

The decisions you take when it comes to planning a career will be affected by a variety of factors, such as:

1. Your other favourite subjects and interests

These are just a few examples of subjects you could combine with history and the careers paths they could lead to:

  • History plus Art could lead to work in a gallery or auction house (perhaps via an Art History degree, though there are also opportunities for non-graduates), or you might want to become an architect or architectural technician, specialising in projects involving listed buildings and heritage areas.
  • History plus a keen interest in politics or a desire to make the world a better place could lead you into a whole range of career directions – local or national politics, charity work, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, or the Civil Service, to name but a few. The Armed Forces are also delighted to get recruits with an interest in history; all regiments are proud of their own history!
  • History plus Media Studies could lead into print or broadcast journalism
  • History plus Craft skills could develop into a career in restoration work
  • History plus Leisure & Tourism could help you find work in the heritage industry (Stately homes, theme parks, etc.)
  • History plus Drama/Theatre Studies could help you find a role as a costumed guide or re-enactor.
  • History plus administration skills (e.g. Word Processing, Accountancy, Business Management) could lead to you gaining experience in a variety of business careers then taking this, and your interest in history, into working for a heritage charity, or managing a historic property.

2. Whether you want to get a job straight after leaving school...

...or go on to a training scheme, apprenticeship, further education or higher (degree level) education. 

You may of course decide to mix and match – study part time and work part time, get some useful work experience during your gap year, begin a career which may give you a chance of training on the job, or even take your history degree by email (yes, it's possible, though new and mainly an option for mature students). You need to discuss all the possibilities with your careers advisor; then if you want to go to university, you'll need to check out the UCAS site or directory to check what courses are available, then visit individual university websites to see what they offer, download prospectuses, and find out about open days.

Whatever you think might be your future career direction, it's always a good idea to get some insight through Work Experience or Working as a Volunteer. Looking at career opportunities will also give you some sources of information for work experience and volunteering.

3. Which aspect of history interests you most

For example:

  • If your greatest thrill is sharing your knowledge with others, then maybe you should consider working in a museum or as a teacher.
  • If what interests you most is the idea of learning about the past from artefacts and fragments left behind, then archaeology could be one possible career.
  • If you're fascinated by the records of the past, the documents that open a window into how people lived and worked, and how towns and villages evolved over the centuries, then maybe you should investigate work as an archivist, in a Records Office or perhaps train as a librarian specialising in local history.

And there are many other possibilities. Of course, it may not always be feasible to enter a career based solely on historical interest, but it's still worth being aware of what you're most enthusiastic about and investigating whether it can lead to a career.

So how might I combine a love of history with a career?

On the following pages are some suggestions, together with websites which will help you find out much more. These are not the only options – you may be able to think of quite a few more.

First, it might be worth noting that some jobs can take you anywhere. If you look at any university's list of first destinations for graduates, you will notice a lot of people have initially gone into secretarialclerical, administrative and IT jobs. One of the reasons that so many people take this kind of work to begin with is that it gets them inside the doors of a whole range of employers. Once in, they can increase their work-based skills and are in a good position to demonstrate their abilities and take advantage of any career moves that may come up. Secretarial, administrative, clerical and IT staff are needed by heritage charities, museums, heritage sites/stately homes, companies dealing with conservation and restoration, university research departments, the media and practically every company and office you can think of.

We wish you the very best of luck!

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