How to Become an Archivist
Archivists can work in various industries using their skills and educational knowledge in order to preserve important documentation. Their work is important in order to create collections that are heavily researched and presented accurately to the public and researching professionals.
Archivists may work in a variety of fields both public and private. They can lend their services to organizations such as zoos, museums, colleges and universities, governments and corporations. Depending on the organization they work for, Archivists may be responsible for collecting, organizing and maintaining the following types of information: Records, Letters, Documents, Photographs, Recordings of Video and Sound, Electronic data, and Films.
If you are thinking of becoming an Archivist, read the following information regarding education requirements, a general job description, salary and wage information as well as the job outlook for this and related professions.
Education Requirements to Become an Archivist
Archivists are highly educated professionals and are required to attend a Bachelor's and then complete a minimum of a Master's degree. In addition, candidates looking to become an Archivist should also gain related experience, preferably, during their graduate education.
Students who want to become an Archivist can attend a variety of programs as an undergraduate. Because Archivists work for museums, government, zoos and educational institutions, candidates can choose an undergraduate program where they can tune their skills to match the sector they want to work in. For example, a student who wants to work in a museum can study history or art history if they already know their career track. However for the most part, Archivists hold a variety of undergraduate degrees.
A student who wants to become an Archivist should attend a Master's program in library science, history, archival studies or archival science. Students who want to become an Archivist who study history or library science will benefit from having a strong background in archival science and should take a wide range of these classes.
Archivists who want a competitive edge can opt to take a voluntary certification offered by the Academy of Certified Archivists. In order to qualify for certification, candidates must hold a Master's degree and have a minimum of one year of experience in the field. Candidates must then take a certification exam. Certified Archivists are required to regularly renew their certification and must take continuing education classes in order to qualify for re-certification.
Archivist Job Description
Archivists are responsible for maintaining and preserving a variety of information and items such as transcripts of meetings, photographs and various types of records. Their exact job duties will depend on the type of organization they work for such as for a museum, zoos or universities.
Archivists are responsible for managing and overseeing collections. They will work on the displaying, assembling, sorting, classification and the presentation of these collections. They may also perform these functions in order to store them permanently or longer term. Their classification work may also require them to describe, classify and examine valuable items in order to provide that information for the general public or researching professionals.
Some typical job duties include organizing and managing educational programs that include classes, lectures, tours or workshops. In addition, they may plan and manage outreach programs for the community.
Archivist Salary and Career Path
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median wage for all Archivists in 2008 was approximately $45,000 per year. The BLS also reports that the salary range for these professionals during the same year was about $26,600 to $76,800 per year.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics also reports that the job outlook for Archivists, Curators and Museum Technicians looks strong and is expected to grow faster than the average for all professions. In fact, job opportunities for these professions are expected to grow by about 20% through the year 2018. However, there will be stiff competition for Archivist candidates because of the amount of people looking for a limited amount of openings.
Archivists who have experience working with electronic records and records management will have more opportunities than those who have knowledge of older media formats. Candidates who want to have a competitive edge will work on these skills in order to stand out among other job seekers.
*Salary Information provided by the Bureau Of Labor Statistics