Career Attributes

  • $36,831
  • 6,800
  • 3.3
  • 14.7%
  • Master's degree
  • Library Science
More Attributes


To achieve a successful career as an archivist, one must have a diverse set of skills and abilities. It is absolutely essential that records be maintained carefully and accurately so the ability to interpret data logically is required. On the other hand, interpersonal interaction is also a frequent requirement of archival positions as helping people find and interpret archives is a core responsibility.

Given the historical nature of the position, one must have a solid grasp of history and, in particular, the history surrounding the time period that is relevant to the institution for which the archives are being collected. Frequently, which records are deemed valuable and the way in which they are organized results in emotionally charged reactions. So, an important duty is to delicately handle the politics surrounding the information being collected.

Archives are most often in the form of paper records; however, the means to maintaining accurate records of the archives requires a good deal of technological competency. Furthermore, maintaining paper records is not as simple as filing in the appropriate location. They must be conserved in the appropriate manner so that they do not deteriorate.

In terms of formal education and certification, the requirements to become an archivist vary among institutions and countries. A four-year degree is generally required, and most obtain a master's degree or higher. In the United Kingdom, one can achieve professional certification through the Society of Archivists, while in the United States certification is provided by the Academy of Certified Archivists. In France, there is even a school, Ecole Des Chartes, that offers a diploma of "Archivist-Paleograph". While the specific requirements vary, one must obtain a degree in a relevant field and will most often need to obtain experience in an archival repository prior to achieving the official role of archivist.

What are Archivists like?


Based on our pool of users, Archivists tend to be predominately artistic people. Take our career test to see what career interest category best describes you.

Archivists by Strongest Interest Archetype

Based on sample of 319 CareerExplorer users

Are Archivists happy?


Archivists rank as moderately happy among careers. Overall they rank in the 52nd percentile of careers for satisfaction scores.

Archivist Career Satisfaction by Dimension

Percentile among all careers

Education History of Archivists

The most common degree held by Archivists is History. 25% of Archivists had a degree in History before becoming Archivists. That is over 11 times the average across all careers. English Literature graduates are the second most common among Archivists, representing 12% of Archivists in the CareerExplorer user base, which is 2.4 times the average.

Archivist Education History

This table shows which degrees people earn before becoming an Archivist, compared to how often those degrees are obtained by people who earn at least one post secondary degree.

Degree % of Archivists % of population Multiple
History 24.6% 2.3% 10.9×
English Literature 11.8% 4.9% 2.4×
Library Science 11.3% 0.2% 63.4×
Anthropology And Archeology 10.8% 1.3% 8.6×
Art History 10.8% 0.7% 15.9×
Fine Arts 5.6% 2.2% 2.6×
Communications 4.6% 3.4% 1.3×
Biology 4.1% 3.6% 1.1×
Liberal Arts 4.1% 1.9% 2.1×
Other Foreign Languages 3.6% 0.6% 6.5×
Film Video And Photographic Arts 3.1% 0.8% 4.1×
Journalism 3.1% 1.1% 2.7×
Philosophy And Religious Studies 3.1% 1.6% 2.0×
Psychology 3.1% 7.0% 0.4×
Information Sciences 2.6% 0.2% 15.0×
Public Policy 2.6% 0.4% 6.8×
Graphic Design 2.6% 1.4% 1.9×
Music 2.1% 0.9% 2.3×
Linguistics 2.1% 0.8% 2.5×
United States History 2.1% 0.1% 19.7×
Political Science 2.1% 2.9% 0.7×
Sociology 2.1% 2.1% 1.0×
Visual And Performing Arts 1.5% 0.2% 6.2×
Studio Arts 1.5% 0.5% 2.9×
Environmental Science 1.5% 1.1% 1.4×
Hospitality Management 1.5% 0.9% 1.7×
Computer Science 1.5% 2.9% 0.5×
Foreign Language Studies 1.5% 1.3% 1.2×
Humanities 1.5% 0.4% 4.0×
Intercultural And International Studies 1.5% 0.6% 2.4×
Economics 1.5% 4.0% 0.4×
International Relations 1.5% 1.5% 1.0×
Photography 1.5% 0.4% 4.2×

Archivist Education Levels

84% of Archivists have a master's degree. 13% of Archivists have a bachelor's degree.

No education 0%
High school diploma 0%
Associate's degree 3%
Bachelor's degree 13%
Master's degree 84%
Doctorate degree 0%

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Career Attributes

  • $36,831
  • 6,800
  • 3.3
  • 14.7%
  • Master's degree
  • Library Science
More Attributes