Careers in History

These are careers in which history is taught, written, recorded, filmed, preserved, and interpreted. To prepare for such careers, an advanced degree is often required, such as a Master’s or Doctoral degree.

A teaching career may be at a public or private school, a community college, a four year college, or a university.

Researching, writing, editing, and recording history will probably be part of an academic career, especially at the college level, but it can also be part of a public history career as an editor or publisher of historic documents or a consultant producing multimedia histories.

Historic preservation and cultural resource management careers are possible in many private, non-profit, and public entities. They range from the restoration of artifacts to state and national planning roles.

Archival, manuscript, and records management and administrative careers may be found in museums, historical societies, or public agencies such as the Department of the Interior.

Careers Outside of History

These are careers in which history is not directly practiced, but for which a degree in history provides a good background. To prepare for such careers, an advanced degree in a field outside of history (such as law) is often required.

A legal career is one for which a bachelor’s in history provides good preparation. The pre-law advisor at Texas A&M University-Commerce is April Pitts. You may contact her at April.Pitts@tamuc.edu.

Insurance investigators search and evaluate records to construct insurance case histories and establish risk factors based on historical research. They may also be required to analyze legislative action related to insurance. 

A great many government careers are open to students of history. These include positions in federal, state, and local archives; federal agency preservation offices (which apply the provisions of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966); state historic preservation offices; the national park service; the department of state; and departments of education.

Publishing houses require a high degree of skill in the English language as well as content knowledge. Book editors evaluate manuscripts, checking for accuracy, clarity, thoroughness, and organization.

Careers in travel and tourism can provide the opportunity to inform the public about the history of people, places, and material culture. They facilitate travel to historic sites, plan conferences, and guide tours.

Management trainee positions are available in many businesses. Trainees shadow and assist executives while learning to be executives themselves.

Teaching 

The History Department of Texas A&M University-Commerce takes the responsibility of preparing future teachers very seriously. Our programs are designed to produce knowledgeable, skilled teachers to educate the next generation of students.

Middle School

  • The state of Texas has created a new, three-tier certification structure.  
  • If you are interested in teaching kindergarten through the fourth grade, you should contact the Department of Elementary Education
  • If you are interested in teaching History or Social Studies in grades 8 through 12, please follow this link.
  • If you are interested in teaching History or Social Studies in grades 4 through 8, you have come to the right place!  

 
What do I need to become a Middle School Social Studies teacher? 

You will need a bachelor’s degree in Middle School Social Studies and state certification.

How do I get a bachelor’s degree in Middle School Social Studies? 

To get a bachelor’s degree in Middle School Social Studies, you need to file a degree plan with the History Department. Your advisor will be Dr. Derrick McKisick. Your program will include a major in social studies; additional course work in other fields important to middle school teachers, such as Reading and Special Education; and pedagogical courses provided by either the Department of Elementary Education or the Department of Secondary and Higher Education. Your program will involve a field-based component during which you will spend time in public school class-rooms under the guidance of experienced teachers. The field-based program provides you with a hands-on learning experience to better prepare you for your career as a teacher.

How do I get state certification? 

The state of Texas requires all public school teachers to pass two qualifying exams, called ExCET exams: one in your content area (social studies), and one in your certification area (middle school teaching). The History Department is responsible for preparing you for your content ExCET, while your pedagogical courses in the College of Education provide your preparation for the ExCET in your certification area (called the PPR). For more information on what the History Department offers for ExCET preparation, as well as barcode policies for the History ExCET, please follow this link.

High School

  • The state of Texas has created a new, three-tier certification structure.  
  • If you are interested in teaching kindergarten through the fourth grade, you should contact the Department of Elementary Education.
  • If you are interested in teaching History or Social Studies in grades 4 through 8, please follow this link.
  • If you are interested in teaching History or Social Studies in grades 8 through 12, you have come to the right place!  


What do I need to become a High School History or Social Studies teacher? 

You will need a bachelor’s degree in either History or Broadfield Social Studies and state certification. 

What is the difference between History and Broadfield Social Studies? 

A teaching field in History prepares you to become certified to teach History only; a teaching field in Broadfield Social Studies prepares you for certification in four fields: History, Government, Economics, and Geography. 

Some students prefer the Broadfield program because its greater flexibility may make them more attractive job candidates. Some students prefer the History program because they want to do two teaching fields (such as History and Kinesiology), which is difficult to do with Broadfield Social Studies because it alone requires over 50 hours of course work. Other students prefer the History program because they simply do not want to study the other fields, such as economics or geography. 

Before making a decision about which teaching field to follow, it is wise to discuss the possibilities with an advisor. The History Department advisor for students who want to teach in public school is Dr. Jonathan Bergman. You may contact him at Jonathan.Bergman@tamuc.edu.

How do I get a bachelor’s degree in History or Broadfield Social Studies? 

To get a bachelor’s degree in these areas, you need to file a degree plan with the History Department. Your advisor will be Dr. Derrick McKisick.  Your program will include both a teaching field (History or Broadfield Social Studies) and pedagogical courses provided by the Department of Secondary and Higher Education. Your program will involve a field-based component during which you will spend time in public school class-rooms under the guidance of experienced teachers. The field-based program provides you with a hands-on learning experience to better prepare you for your career as a teacher.

How do I get state certification? 

The state of Texas requires all public school teachers to pass two qualifying exams, called ExCET exams: one in your content area (History or Composite Social Studies), and one in your certification area (high school teaching). The History Department is responsible for preparing you for your content ExCET, while your pedagogical courses in the College of Education provide your preparation for the ExCET in your certification area (called the PPR). For more information on what the History Department offers for ExCET preparation, as well as barcode policies for the History and Composite Social Studies ExCET, please follow this link.

College Teaching

College teaching is a very different career path from public school teaching. Teaching in college does not require state certification, nor are college teachers required to take pedagogical courses. They are, however, required to do graduate work and become experts in their discipline.

What do I need to become a college history professor? 

In Texas, the minimum requirement to teach in college is 18 graduate semester hours in the field you are going to teach. However, the minimum will not normally be enough to make an attractive candidate for a full-time teaching position. In most circumstances, someone with the minimum qualifications would be hired as a part-time professor, called an adjunct, who is paid on a per-course basis and, in most institutions, will have no health or retirement benefits. Adjunct positions are usually seen as temporary positions rather than as a career. A master’s degree is usually necessary for a full-time position at a junior college, that is, a two-year or community college. A master’s in history usually requires 30 to 36 hours of graduate credit, and normally takes about two years. Full-time teaching positions in four year colleges or universities normally require both a master’s and a doctorate, or Ph.D., in history. The amount of time needed to complete a doctorate varies widely, depending on the program and area of specialization. Three to five years beyond the master’s is a typical range for a Ph.D. in history.

To learn more about graduate programs in history at Texas A&M University-Commerce, follow this link.

What should I do as an undergraduate to prepare to become a college history professor? 

You should select History as a major rather than as a teaching field. Your degree plan should be filed through the History Department. Your advisor will be Dr. Derrick McKisick.  You will need to select a minor or a second major to fill out your degree. English and Political Science are popular choices. 

You may want to think about graduating with honors, because an honor’s degree may enhance your application to graduate programs. You should also consider joining the national honor society for History, Phi Alpha Theta. Our campus has an active chapter. Study abroad is also an experience which can enhance an application to graduate school, particularly if you intend to specialize in history other than that of the United States. Texas A&M University-Commerce has a very good summer program for study abroad; financial aid is available. For more information, follow this link.