Outlook & GrowthThe number of archivists is expected to grow 20 percent through 2018, which is faster than average. However, competition for these popular jobs is expected to be keen. Archivists who specialize in newer media formats—such as electronic records—will be in greater demand.
Salary & WagesMedian annual earnings of archivists in May 2008 were $45,020. The middle 50 percent earned between $34,050 and $60,150. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $26,600, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $76,790. In March 2009, the average annual salary for archivists in the federal government—which is a large employer of these professionials—was $83,758. What is an archivist? Archivists plan and oversee the arrangement, cataloguing, exhibition and maintainence of collections. These collections can be housed in a wide variety of places, including museums, historical sites, educational institutions, governmental agencies, zoos and aquariums. Other jobs of archivists include educating the public about their collections through lectures, tours and other outreach programs. They also may research topics related to their collections. Archivists handle records that are thought to be of value in the future, so they need to be saved today, using long-term preservation methods. Some of these records are documents, such as diaries and letters; other records are in other media forms, including photographs, films, video, audio, and electronic data.
Education & Degree PathArchivists typically need graduate degrees and related work experience. They most often have either a master’s degree in library science or history or both, along with courses in archival science and records management. Some colleges offer master’s degrees in archival studies. Increasingly, archivists need a background or coursework in preservation management, as well as computer skills—the ability to work with electronic records and databases, plus knowledge of web technology. Archivists seeking advanced positions, such as director of a state archive, may need a doctorate in history, library science or a related field. Certification:Certification is voluntary. Those who wish to become “Certified Archivists” can do so through the Academy of Certified Archivists. Requirements to achieve this credential include a master’s degree, one year of archival experience, and passage of a written test. Entering the Field:Those interested in becoming archivists should volunteer or intern during high school and college in museums or other places where archives exist. Future employers will expect such experience. Future archivists also need to be sure their computer skills are top-notch, especially in database management. Because the field is so competitive, entrants into the field may need to work part-time after graduation. Small archives may provide opportunities to gain experience needed to move to larger institutions.
Source for salary and growth data is the Bureau of Labor Statistics. For more information on careers as an archivist, salaries and job prospects visit: U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition, Archivists, Curators and Museum Technicians.