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

Stan T.Career, OverviewLeave a Comment

Job description

Curators administer collections, such as artwork, collectibles, historic items, or scientific specimens of museums or other institutions. May conduct instructional, research, or public service activities of institution.

  • Plan and organize the acquisition, storage, and exhibition of collections and related materials, including the selection of exhibition themes and designs, and develop or install exhibit materials.
  • Develop and maintain an institution’s registration, cataloging, and basic record-keeping systems, using computer databases.
  • Plan and conduct special research projects in area of interest or expertise.
  • Provide information from the institution’s holdings to other curators and to the public.
Read more about what does a Curator really do at work and what is it like being and working as one.

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Average salary
$58490 per year

Average hourly wage
$28 per hour

Curators with little to no experience tend to make between $29010 and $39580 while the more experienced ones can earn over $72830 per year.

Top 5 paying states Hourly Annual
DC $41 $86,080
NJ $36 $75,750
NY $36 $73,850
MA $33 $68,240
CA $33 $67,650

One of the easiest ways to increase your salary as a Curator is to move to a higher paying state like DC. Right now, the highest paying states for Curators are DC, NJ, NY, MA and CA.

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 a Curator 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 Curators what degree they had when they got the job and most of them said they had a Master’s Degree followed by a PhD.

Other than that, we also asked them what did they major in and here are the most popular majors that came up.

Museology/Museum Studies
Art History, Criticism and Conservation
Public/Applied History
Read more about how to become a Curator and the degree, training and education you need.

Pros and Cons

Here are some of the pros and cons of being a Curator.

Suitable for people who likes to start and carry out projects
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)
Not suitable for people who likes practical and hands-on work
It is very hard to get into this career. Extensive skill, knowledge, and experience is required for this career.
Long working hours (More than 40 hours per week)

What is the job like

Job satisfaction

Is this job meaningful

68% of Curators said they were satisfied with their job and 60% said they feel like their job is making other people’s lives better.

Mathilde Leduc
Royal Museum for Central Africa

I have an MA in History of Art, an MBA, and a Ph.D. in History. I currently work as a curator. It’s a constant pleasure and a privilege to have a chance to work in the discipline I want to. I get to share my passion for the past and collections with others through exhibitions, … Read More

Is this right for me

Best personality for this career
The Entrepreneurs and The Organizers

You can read more about these career personality types here.

People who are suitable for this job tends to like starting up and carrying out projects. They like leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business..

They also like following set procedures and routines. They like working with data and details more than with ideas.

Learn more about Curators

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Curators job description, Curators salary, Curators information, what is the job of a Curator like, pros and cons about Curators, colleges and universities for Curators, is Curators the right career for me, careers in Education

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