what degree do you need to become an Archivist
majors for Archivists


Other names for this job might include Archival Records Clerk, Archives and Historical Documents Director, Archives and Rare Books Division Curator, Archives Director, Archivist, Collections Director, Collections Manager, Curator, Curator of Manuscripts, Curatorial Specialist

  • $53880
  • 72%
    Job satisfaction
  • Hard
    Becoming one
  • High
    Job growth
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Be An Archivist: What You Really Need

In this requirements guide for Archivists, you will find out what do you need to become an Archivist and what it takes to become one.

After reading this, you will be able to plan for your future if you want to be an Archivist.

Degree required

Recommended degree level

Master’s Degree

Master’s degree

Post-bachelor certificate

Post-masters certificate

Some college courses

No degree

Generally, employers are looking for Archivists who have a Master’s degree. They also prefer someone who is good in Reading Comprehension and Active Listening.

1 common question that we always get is what major or degree do I need to become An Archivist or what courses do I need to take.

We did a survey to ask other Archivists what did they major in college or university and here are the most popular majors that came up.

Archives/Archival Administration
Historic Preservation and Conservation
Cultural Resource Management and Policy Analysis
Historic Preservation and Conservation, Other
Museology/Museum Studies

Most employers prefer Archivists to have a graduate degree in history, library science, archival science, or records management.


schools for Archivists

Interested in becoming An Archivist? Find the right schools that can help you to become one. You will need some of your details to get you matched with the right college or university. This service is free thanks to our sponsors.

Questions to ask the university or college:

  1. How many students are in the program?
  2. Is your program accredited?
  3. How many faculty members do you have? Do they hold the right credentials?
  4. What is your job placement rate?
  5. Does your school hold career fairs or other on-campus events with employers? How many employers typically attend?
  6. How many of your students have at least one internship by graduation?

Click to start becoming an Archivist

How long does it take


You will need a considerable amount of skill, knowledge and experience to be An Archivist. Normally you will be required to have more than five years of experience.

For example: A surgeon have to complete 4 years of college plus an additional 5 to 7 years of specialized medical training to be able to do his/her job.

In terms of on-the-job training, you may need some training however you will be assumed that you will already have the necessary skills and work experience to perform the job.

How long does it take
2 1/2 to 5 years

Work experience
2 to 4 years

2 to 4 years

1 to 2 years

6 months to 1 year

3 to 6 months

No experience

Job training
6 months to 1 year

6 months to 1 year

1 to 3 months

0 to 1 month

No training

3 to 6 months

Most Archivists have 2 to 4 years work experience and 6 months to 1 year job training.

To increase your chances of getting a job, you can look for job training while studying to be one.

License and certifications

Do you need any license or certification
Recommended but not required

The Academy of Certified Archivists offers voluntary certification for archivists. Archivists with at least a master’s degree and a year of professional archival experience can obtain the Certified Archivist credential by passing an exam. They must renew their certification periodically by retaking the exam or fulfilling continuing education credits. At this time, only a few employers require or prefer certification.

Skills required

We asked other Archivists if they could only have 5 skills, what would they be. Here is what they said.

1. Reading Comprehension what does this mean
2.Active Listening what does this mean
3.Writing what does this mean
4.Judgement and Decision Making what does this mean
5.Critical Thinking what does this mean
= Hot in-demand that most employers are looking for

We did some research and found that most successful Archivists have these 5 common characteristics. Most of them had Attention to Detail and Integrity.

1.Attention to Detail
4.Analytical Thinking

Knowledge required

Just like any other job, you will need some know-hows to do the job. To become a successful Archivists you need to acquire knowledge in these 5 key areas.

1. English Language what does this mean
2.History and Archeology what does this mean
3.Customer and Personal Service what does this mean
4.Computers and Electronics what does this mean
5.Administration and Management what does this mean

As An Archivist, you may also be required to know how to use certain Data base user interface and query software, Document management software and Graphics or photo imaging software tools.

Adlib Information Systems Adlib Archive (Data base user interface and query software)
Adobe Systems Adobe Acrobat software (Document management software)
Adobe Systems Adobe Photoshop software (Graphics or photo imaging software)
Adobe Systems Adobe Premiere Pro software (Video creation and editing software)
Apple Final Cut Pro (Video creation and editing software)
= Hot in-demand that most employers are looking for

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Additional resources

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