Archivists: Salary, Job Description, How To Become One, and Quiz

Stan T.Career, Overview


Archivists appraise, edit, and direct safekeeping of permanent records and historically valuable documents. Participate in research activities based on archival materials.

Becoming One
Very Hard
Master's degree
Job Satisfaction
Job Growth

Interest Match

Job description

Archivists appraise, edit, and direct safekeeping of permanent records and historically valuable documents. Participate in research activities based on archival materials.

  • Organize archival records and develop classification systems to facilitate access to archival materials.
  • Provide reference services and assistance for users needing archival materials.
  • Prepare archival records, such as document descriptions, to allow easy access to information.
  • Establish and administer policy guidelines concerning public access and use of materials.
Read more about what does an Archivist really do at work and what is it like being and working as one.


Average salary
$56400 per year

Average hourly wage
$27 per hour

Archivists with little to no experience tend to make between $30440 and $38090 while the more experienced ones can earn over $71250 per year.

Top 5 paying states Hourly Annual
DC $36 $74,860
CA $35 $72,240
MD $32 $67,360
NJ $32 $67,110
TX $32 $66,120

One of the easiest ways to increase your salary as an Archivist is to move to a higher paying state like DC. Right now, the highest paying states for Archivists are DC, CA, MD, NJ and TX.

However, a higher pay at DC doesn’t guarantee that you will make more because the living expenses at DC might be twice as high than where you are currently at now.

Three other factors that can increase your salary as an Archivist is the degree you hold, the industry you work in, and lastly the company you work for.


Recommended degree level
Master’s degree

We asked other Archivists what degree they had when they got the job and most of them said they had a Master’s Degree followed by a Bachelor’s Degree.

Other than that, we also asked them what did they major in 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
Read more about how to become an Archivist and the degree, training and education you need.

Pros and Cons

Here are some of the pros and cons of being an Archivist.

Suitable for people who likes to follow routines
Suitable for people who wants independence and likes to work on their own and make decisions
This career is perfect for people who love to work indoors.
Good salary (earns more than 50% of the careers out there)
Normal working hours (40 hours per week)
Not suitable for people who likes to work with designs
It is very hard to get into this career. Extensive skill, knowledge, and experience is required for this career.

What is the job like

Job satisfaction

Is this job meaningful

72% of Archivists said they were satisfied with their job and 51% said they feel like their job is making other people’s lives better.

Is this right for me

Best personality for this career
The Organizers and The Thinkers

You can read more about these career personality types here.

People who are suitable for this job tends to like following set procedures and routines. They like working with data and details more than with ideas..

They also like working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. They like searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

Learn more about Archivists

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Job Description

Related career information

Archivists job description, Archivists salary, Archivists information, what is the job of an Archivist like, pros and cons about Archivists, colleges and universities for Archivists, is Archivists the right career for me, careers in Education

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