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Historians research, analyze, interpret, synthesize and document human, cultural and technological history.

  • Avg. Salary $87,546.00
  • Avg. Wage $44.18
  • Minimum Education 6 years post-secondary
  • Outlook N/A
  • Employed < 1500
  • In Demand Lower
Also Known As

Social Scientist

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Historians (4169.4) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Other Professional Occupations in Social Science (E038) 
  • 2011 NOC: Other professional occupations in social science, n.e.c. (4169) 
Interest Codes
The Historian is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).

Interest in co-ordinating information to organize, authenticate and evaluate historical data


Interest in consulting with other historians on research findings, and in advising individuals, institutions and commercial organizations on historical information; may teach history at advanced educational levels


Interest in consulting various sources of information such as archives, libraries, diaries and newspaper files, and in documenting findings

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Updated Mar 17, 2016

Historians may be involved in cross-cultural or interdisciplinary studies, or they may specialize in:

  • the history of a particular country, region, locality, person or group of people (for example, those of a particular ethnic origin, religion, gender or sexual orientation)
  • a time period
  • a certain aspect of the past (for example, agrarian, artistic, architectural, economic, feminist, military, political, social or technological history).

In general, historians:

  • attempt to reconstruct and interpret the past by studying and analyzing published sources and original documents such as correspondence, diaries, maps, oral history tapes, photographs, artifacts and other physical evidence
  • research and prepare manuscripts for publication or in support of public programming and the development of exhibits at historic sites, museums, libraries and archives
  • develop meaningful information systems by selecting, organizing and interpreting material
  • conduct historical research as a basis for the establishment, conservation and reconstruction of national parks and historic sites
  • conduct research commissioned by organizations and individuals wanting to have their history recorded or their documentary records published or prepared for archiving 
  • teach and conduct research in colleges, universities, museums and other research agencies and schools
  • conduct historical research as expert witnesses in legal cases
  • conduct historical research for film and television programming
  • conduct oral history interviews
  • organize information for publication in print or other media.

Historians rely on computers for word processing, desktop publishing, database and spreadsheet functions. If the work is of a design nature, they may use photographic, drawing or drafting programs and equipment.

Digital historians may:

  • use open data sources from governments to compile historical social information and reinterpret previous historical hypotheses
  • use mapping technologies to establish new methods of interpretation and explanation.
Working Conditions
Updated Mar 17, 2016

Historians may work alone or with a team on a project at a historic site, museum, library, archive or other heritage site. Their research may require historians to travel to other cities or regions.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Mar 17, 2016

Historians need to be effective communicators in person and in writing.

They should enjoy:

  • co-ordinating information and finding innovative approaches to their work
  • consulting with others and organizing their own activities
  • taking a methodical approach to their research.
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 17, 2016

A master of arts (MA) degree in history is the minimum education requirement for most research positions. Historians working in heritage agencies, such as museums and historic sites also may be required to be familiar with technologies used to present information to the public (for example, Internet, CD-ROM, audio-visual). University positions require a doctoral (PhD) degree.

In general, the entrance requirement for a master of arts degree program is a related 4-year bachelor's degree with an above average grade point average.

Required Education

The following schools offer programs and courses that meet this occupation’s educational requirements. Other eligible programs and courses may be available.

University of Lethbridge

Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

Ambrose University

Athabasca University

Grant MacEwan University

Mount Royal University

St. Mary's University

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 17, 2016

Certification is not required, as there is currently no legislation regulating this occupation.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 17, 2016

Historians are employed as consultants, researchers and instructors by:

  • colleges and universities
  • municipal, provincial and federal governments
  • museums, historic sites and interpretive centres
  • local or regional heritage societies
  • libraries and archives
  • private businesses and agencies (for example, television or movie production companies).

Many historians are employed on a contract basis.

Those who have BA and MA degrees may use their research, writing and analytical skills to move into other fields, such as information management or to write federal civil service examinations for government departments. With additional education, history graduates may move into related fields, such as law, education, journalism, architecture or interior design.

Historians are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 4169: Other Professional Occupations in Social Science. In Alberta, 79% of people employed in this classification work in the following industries:

The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 17, 2016

Salaries for university positions vary with:

  • personal qualifications
  • academic qualifications
  • administrative responsibilities
  • the particular faculty and university.

For more information, see the University professors and lecturers wage profile.

Historians are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 4169: Other professional occupations in social science, n.e.c.

According to the 2017 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans in the Other professional occupations in social science, n.e.c. occupational group earned on average from $34.92 to $47.66 an hour. The overall average was $44.18 an hour. For more information, see the Other professional occupations in social science, n.e.c. wage profile.

Related High School Subjects
  • English Language Arts
  • Social Studies
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Humanities and Languages
  • Social Sciences, Law and Religious Studies
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 17, 2016

Canadian Historical Association (CHA) website:

For more information on career planning, education and jobs call the Alberta Supports Contact Centre toll-free at 1-877-644-9992 or 780-644-9992 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Works Centre near you.

Updated Mar 10, 2016. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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