Online Colleges for History

Those who choose to pursue an online degree in history are setting the stage for many potential career paths. Rather than being limited to the scope of a particular degree, history majors learn skills and knowledge that could help them move into fields ranging from management to creative arts to education.

The American Historical Association provides an impressive list of careers available to history majors (historians.org, 2009). According to the association, they may end up working as researchers, journalists, librarians, paralegals, writers, archivists, executive officers and business owners, among other positions. With the right training, history graduates can also serve as teachers from primary through postsecondary levels. Undergraduate degrees in history can also be stepping stones to higher degrees, including a law degree or an MBA.

What to Expect from Online Degrees in History

There are many online colleges offering degrees in history. The broad spectrum of courses available in history programs speaks to the breadth of knowledge students must have upon graduation, as the history major may enter jobs that require working across disciplines. Most programs follow a liberal arts curriculum, offering a wide variety of courses that focus on creating a well-rounded educational experience.

General courses might include mathematics, science, world civilization, English, literature studies, art history, philosophy, public speaking and foreign language courses. History courses taken in the pursuit of the degree usually cover a broad range, including American history, European history, global societies, African-American history, effective methods in historical research, and a wealth of electives that allow students to choose even more targeted study of certain historical periods.

These courses can help students develop effective research, critical and interdisciplinary thinking, and writing skills, as well as the ability to analyze situations and patterns. Courses may also instill or bolster a sense of curiosity and inquisitiveness, which can be helpful in any profession one chooses to pursue after graduating with a history degree.

Online degrees in history also offer the added advantage of in-depth use of online platforms and materials. In an increasingly digital world, a working knowledge of Internet research and study can be an excellent tool that prepares students for positions that require computer-based research and communications.

Job Outlook for Graduates With Online Degrees in History

Some history majors go on to become actual historians, where they study historical data and events, and in some cases preserve artifacts. Historians are expected to see 18 percent job growth between 2010 and 2020 according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (bls.gov/ooh, 2012). In May 2012, historians earned a median national income of $52,480 (bls.gov/oes, 2013).

The rest tend to move into fields where their degree allows them to contribute their historical expertise. For instance, some graduates might choose to pursue work as a librarian or educator. The BLS reports a median national annual wage of $55,370 for librarians as of May 2012 along with national job growth of 7 percent from 2010 to 2020. Meanwhile, postsecondary history teachers earned $65,870, and postsecondary teachers as a whole can expect to see employment gains of 17 percent (bls.gov/ooh, 2012, bls.gov/oes, 2013)

This short list of potential careers is just the tip of the iceberg for those who graduate from online colleges offering degrees in history. To learn more about job options for history majors, visit the American Historical Association. And for more information about online degrees in history, peruse the programs offered by the online schools listed on this page.


  1. "Careers for History Majors," American Historical Association, June 1, 2009, http://www.historians.org/pubs/Free/careers/Index.htm
  2. "Librarians," Occupational Outlook Handbook (2012-13 Edition), Bureau of Labor Statistics, March 29, 2012, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/librarians.htm
  3. "Librarians," May 2012 Occupational Employment and Wages, Bureau of Labor Statistics, March 29, 2013, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes254021.htm
  4. "Historians," Occupational Outlook Handbook (2012-13 Edition), Bureau of Labor Statistics, March 29, 2012, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/historians.htm
  5. "Historians," May 2012 Occupational Employment and Wages, Bureau of Labor Statistics, March 29, 2013, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes193093.htm
  6. "History Teachers, Postsecondary," May 2012 Occupational Employment and Wages, Bureau of Labor Statistics, March 29, 2013, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes251125.htm
  7. "Postsecondary Teachers," Occupational Outlook Handbook (2012-13 Edition), Bureau of Labor Statistics, April 10, 2012, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/postsecondary-teachers.htm
  8. "What Can I Do With a History Major?" The College of Staten Island of The City University of New York, Catherine Lavender, Accessed June 27, 2013

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