Job Markets and Public History

This week’s readings were simultaneously filled with hope and depression. On the brighter side, there are many more positions available to students of history than I had thought. Far beyond the Professor/Researcher dichotomy, there are dozens of different kinds of work that can be done with a Master’s Degree or better. On the depressing side, according to the BLS search results, these occupations are growing at far below the average 7%/year (with the exception of archivists) and competition for what positions do get created is high. I suppose I’ll take that as motivation to look harder for a good PhD program, though even that degree isn’t a one-way ticket to being employed.

Part of this depression in job growth is due to the overall lack of emphasis on the importance of the Liberal Arts in general and History in particular that our nation has developed in the last fifty years. While it is true that the STEM fields are incredibly important, without a proper understanding of history those programs of study lose a valuable part of their context and a good deal of the most interesting stories surrounding them. It’s a pity that rather than emphasizing education of all sorts, this nation has all but declared fully half the human experience as worthless.

 

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