Is Archivist a Good Career? Exploring Job Opportunities and Career Prospects

is archivist a good career

If you are someone who is considering a career in archiving, you may wonder if it is a good career choice. In this article, we will discuss the archivist job market, career prospects, and job growth to help you better understand the potential of this profession.

Archiving involves the collection, organization, and preservation of historical, cultural, and other significant artifacts. Archivists work for a variety of organizations, including museums, libraries, universities, and government agencies.

Key Takeaways

  • Becoming an archivist depends on obtaining the proper education and skills.
  • The job market for archivists is steadily growing, providing a variety of job opportunities.
  • Archivists can find employment in various sectors and industries, such as museums, libraries, and universities.
  • The salary potential for archivists varies depending on experience and location.
  • The future outlook for archivists looks promising, with emerging trends and opportunities for career development.

Qualifications and Skills Required

To become an archivist, certain educational requirements need to be fulfilled. Typically, a master’s degree in archival studies or a related field is required. However, some positions may be available for those with a bachelor’s degree in history, library science, or a related field. Certifications are also available, such as the Certified Archivist designation from the Academy of Certified Archivists.

In addition to meeting educational requirements, specific skills and attributes are essential for success in this field. These skills include:

  • Attention to detail: Archivists must pay meticulous attention to detail when cataloging and organizing historical records.
  • Strong research skills: Effective archivists often have exceptional research skills to help identify, classify, and analyze historical documents.
  • Excellent communication skills: Communicating effectively with researchers, donors, and other stakeholders is a vital part of this job.
  • Proficiency with technology: As archiving has become increasingly digital, archivists need to be proficient with database systems, metadata, and digital preservation techniques.

Archivist Job Market

For those considering a career in archiving, it is important to understand the job market and potential for job growth. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the archivist job market is projected to grow 11% from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. This indicates a bright future for those pursuing a career in archiving.

Another factor to consider is the demand for archivists in various sectors. The table below shows the top industries that employ archivists, with government agencies and educational services leading the way. However, it is worth noting that there may be regional variations in demand for archivists, depending on factors such as local history and cultural institutions.

Industry Percent Employed Median Annual Salary
Government 30% $57,140
Educational Services 23% $47,750
Museums, Historical Sites, and Similar Institutions 21% $49,850
Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services 13% $56,330
Other Information Services 4% $55,470

Overall, the job market for archivists is strong, with good career prospects and opportunities for job growth. By staying up to date with industry trends and developing relevant skills, individuals can position themselves for success in this exciting field.

job growth

Career Prospects

Archivists can find employment in various sectors, including government, healthcare, education, museums, and historical societies. Job opportunities for archivists are growing, as the need for preserving and organizing historical documents and artifacts continues to increase.

Moreover, archivists have the potential for career advancement and specialization within the field. For instance, they can become records managers, digital archivists, or even work as consultants for organizations that require their expertise in archiving. With the growing importance of digital preservation, archivists with experience in managing and preserving digital records have an added advantage in the job market.

Salary Range

The average salary for archivists in the United States is $53,370 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, salaries can vary depending on the industry, location, and level of experience. For instance, archivists working in the federal government earn an average of $74,754 per year, while those in healthcare settings earn an average of $60,810 per year.

Job Outlook

The job outlook for archivists is positive, with a projected job growth rate of 9% from 2019 to 2029, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This growth rate is faster than the average for all occupations. The increasing amount of data being preserved and stored digitally, as well as the importance of preserving historical documents and artifacts, is expected to contribute to the demand for archivists.

Archivist Salary

When it comes to archivist salary, the average pay in the United States is $54,750 per year. However, this can vary depending on several factors, such as experience, location, and industry. For example, archivists working in government organizations may earn more than those in non-profit or educational institutions.

Experience is also a crucial factor in determining archivist salary. Entry-level archivists can expect to make around $33,000 per year, while those with 10 or more years of experience can earn upwards of $75,000 annually.

Overall, the job outlook for archivists is relatively stable, with 7% job growth projected over the next decade. Additionally, the demand for archivists in specialized areas, such as digital archiving, is expected to increase in the coming years.

Archivist Salary

Archivist Salary by State

State Average Salary
California $67,790
Illinois $60,170
New York $60,060
District of Columbia $59,690
Oregon $58,540

As demonstrated by the table, there are notable differences in archivist salary by state. California, for example, has the highest average salary for archivists, while Oregon has a lower average salary despite being a popular location for archivists to work.

Overall, while archivist salaries may not be the highest in the industry, the compensation is still competitive, and the future job growth outlook is stable.

Job Growth and Future Outlook

Archivists can expect a positive job outlook in the coming years, with the potential for job growth in certain sectors. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of archivists is projected to grow 11 percent from 2020 to 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations.

The rise of digital records and the need to preserve them means that organizations will require skilled professionals to manage their archives. Additionally, the growing interest in genealogy and historical research may also drive demand for archivists in related fields.

Career Development Opportunities

As the demand for archivists continues to grow, there may be opportunities for career advancement and specialization within the field. Archivists may choose to focus on a specific industry or type of record, such as digital archives or government documents, for example. They may also move into management or leadership positions, overseeing teams of archivists or entire archives departments.

Continuing education and professional development can help archivists stay up-to-date with the latest skills and technologies in their field, as well as increase their chances for career advancement. Professional organizations such as the Society of American Archivists offer training, resources, and networking opportunities for archivists looking to improve their skills and expand their career prospects.


In conclusion, becoming an archivist can be a fulfilling career choice for those with a passion for preserving history and cultural heritage. However, it is important to consider the qualifications and skills required for the job, as well as the current job market and salary potential.

While job growth for archivists is projected to be slower than average, opportunities may arise in specialized areas or with niche employers. Advancements in digital technologies and the increasing importance of preserving online content may also create new job opportunities in the field.

Ultimately, individuals should carefully weigh the pros and cons of pursuing a career in archiving before making a decision. With a solid understanding of the qualifications, job market, and potential for career growth, aspiring archivists can make an informed choice about whether this profession is right for them.


Is archivist a good career?

Yes, archivist is considered a good career choice. It offers a range of job opportunities and prospects for career growth.

What skills and qualifications are required to become an archivist?

To become an archivist, you typically need a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field such as history or library science. Strong organizational skills, attention to detail, and knowledge of archival principles and techniques are also important.

What is the job market like for archivists?

The job market for archivists is relatively stable, with opportunities available in various sectors such as government, museums, libraries, and corporations. However, competition for positions can be competitive in some areas.

What are the career prospects for archivists?

Archivists have promising career prospects. They can work in diverse industries and sectors, including academia, cultural institutions, and private organizations. There are also opportunities for career advancement and specialization within the field.

What is the salary potential for archivists?

The salary for archivists can vary depending on factors such as experience, location, and the employing organization. On average, archivists in the United States earn a median salary of around $53,700 per year.

What is the job growth and future outlook for archivists?

The job growth for archivists is expected to be steady in the coming years. As technology advances and more organizations recognize the value of preserving historical records, the demand for archivists may increase.

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