How to Become an Archivist

An archivist is someone who maintains records for a government or company, or any other large entity. If you have an interest in entering this kind of job market, you may not understand what kinds of qualifications and career moves go into getting a job as archivist. Here are some of the most common ways to become an archivist, referenced by those who have held these kind of positions, either as government workers or private sector employees.


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    Obtain the right kind of education. Although specialized degrees may not be necessary for a job as an archivist, a well-targeted diploma can propel a person's archivist career much further.
    • Consider a degree in library science. Experts consider a bachelor's degree in history or library science to be a helpful qualification for archivist jobs. In particular, library science is well-suited for this kind of role, since the discipline of library science focuses largely on record-keeping and administrating library offices. Evaluate all of the programs available for a library science degree and how they can help with a career goal.
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    Acquire some experience in records-related work. An archivist will often get a foot in the door with an entry-level job related to records keeping, curating or other aspects of archiving.
    • Try for an archivist internship. Those who are in school can consider internships to obtain some practical experience in a desired field.
    • Volunteer for a position. Some archivists started their careers as volunteers in a museum, library or other venue. This can help with building the right skill set and establishing archive experience.
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    Find information from applicable trade organizations or career groups. Some of the publicly available information from national archivist organizations can be extremely helpful for those who are trying to become an archivist or start a career in library science.
    • In America, individuals can access resources from the Society of American Archivists, or SAA. The SAA maintains resources like an educational directory and an employment bulletin. These tools can help individuals learn more about what it takes to get involved in this kind of job role. Another resource for Americans is the National Archives and Records Administration, or NARA, that covers government archival work. Look for similar groups within a specific country or region to get more familiar with how that government handles archives and records.
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    Work up to an archivist role in a private company. Another way to become an archivist is to start at the bottom, or in a general department, of a company. Use skills and qualifications to get transferred into a records department. This can be particularly useful in a large corporation or similar employer, which may have an advanced need for archiving and record keeping.

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Categories: Careers in Government