To achieve a successful career as an archivist, one must have a diverse set of skills and abilities. It is absolutely essential that records be maintained carefully and accurately so the ability to interpret data logically is required. On the other hand, interpersonal interaction is also a frequent requirement of archival positions as helping people find and interpret archives is a core responsibility.

Given the historical nature of the position, one must have a solid grasp of history and, in particular, the history surrounding the time period that is relevant to the institution for which the archives are being collected. Frequently, which records are deemed valuable and the way in which they are organized results in emotionally charged reactions. So, an important duty is to delicately handle the politics surrounding the information being collected.

Archives are most often in the form of paper records; however, the means to maintaining accurate records of the archives requires a good deal of technological competency. Furthermore, maintaining paper records is not as simple as filing in the appropriate location. They must be conserved in the appropriate manner so that they do not deteriorate.

In terms of formal education and certification, the requirements to become an archivist vary among institutions and countries. A four-year degree is generally required, and most obtain a master's degree or higher. In the United Kingdom, one can achieve professional certification through the Society of Archivists, while in the United States certification is provided by the Academy of Certified Archivists. In France, there is even a school, Ecole Des Chartes, that offers a diploma of "Archivist-Paleograph". While the specific requirements vary, one must obtain a degree in a relevant field and will most often need to obtain experience in an archival repository prior to achieving the official role of archivist.

What are Archivists like?


Based on our pool of users, archivists tend to be predominately artistic people. Take our career test to see what career interest category best describes you.

Archivists by Strongest Interest Archetype

Based on sample of 279 Sokanu users

Are Archivists happy?


Archivists rank as moderately happy among careers. Overall they rank in the 53rd percentile of careers for satisfaction scores.

Archivist Career Satisfaction by Dimension

Percentile among all careers

Education History of Archivists

The most common degree held by archivists is History. 14% of archivists had a degree in history before becoming archivists. That is over 7 times the average across all careers. Anthropology And Archeology graduates are the second most common among archivists, representing 7% of archivists in the Sokanu user base, which is 5.8 times the average.

Archivist Education History

This table shows which degrees people earn before becoming an Archivist, compared to how often those degrees are obtained by people who earn at least one post secondary degree.

Degree % of archivists % of population Multiple
History 14.3% 2.2% 6.6×
Anthropology And Archeology 7.1% 1.2% 5.8×
Library Science 6.8% 0.2% 39.4×
English Literature 6.8% 4.9% 1.4×
Art History 6.4% 0.7% 9.5×
Fine Arts 3.2% 1.9% 1.7×
Communications 2.1% 3.3% 0.6×
Liberal Arts 2.1% 1.8% 1.2×
Philosophy And Religious Studies 2.1% 1.6% 1.4×
Biology 1.8% 3.5% 0.5×
Information Sciences 1.8% 0.2% 11.2×
Other Foreign Languages 1.8% 0.5% 3.3×
Psychology 1.8% 6.8% 0.3×
Graphic Design 1.8% 1.3% 1.3×
Journalism 1.4% 1.2% 1.2×
Linguistics 1.4% 0.8% 1.8×
United States History 1.4% 0.1% 13.8×
Political Science 1.4% 2.9% 0.5×
Sociology 1.4% 2.1% 0.7×
Visual And Performing Arts 1.1% 0.2% 4.5×
Film Video And Photographic Arts 1.1% 0.7% 1.4×
Studio Arts 1.1% 0.5% 2.0×
Computer Science 1.1% 2.8% 0.4×
Intercultural And International Studies 1.1% 0.6% 1.7×
Public Policy 1.1% 0.4% 3.0×
International Relations 1.1% 1.5% 0.7×
Photography 1.1% 0.4% 3.1×

Archivist Education Levels

84% of archivists have a master's degree. 13% of archivists have a bachelor's degree.

No education 0%
High school diploma 0%
Associate's degree 3%
Bachelor's degree 13%
Master's degree 84%
Doctorate degree 0%

How to Become an Archivist

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