An informal survey of recent job postings finds positive trends for the public history job market in the Mid-Atlantic and northeastern United States. Graduate students in our Issues in Public History seminar during Fall 2015 analyzed recent postings on online jobs boards including listings maintained by the National Council on Public History, the American Association of State and Local History, and the Philadelphia Cultural Alliance. An encouraging number of employers are seeking to hire public historians with master’s degrees to work in history-related organizations as educators, interpreters, communicators, managers, and development specialists. The study located 115 positions advertised between March and November 2015.
What do employers seek? Above all, they seek communications skills of all kinds – written, oral, and interpersonal. New opportunities are opening for public historians with skills in social media and the ability to create and maintain websites. Employers are looking for people who can multi-task, work well in teams, and creatively solve problems. History organizations place a high value on specialized knowledge of histories related to the organization’s mission, for example maritime history for maritime museums or community history for local historical societies. In public history seminars at Rutgers-Camden we emphasize transferable skills to meet these requirements of a changing job market.