History Professor

Teach university students about history.
picture of History Professor

Quick Stats


Salary Range
$36,000 – $132,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor


What do History Professors do?

A History Professor is an important treasure trove of knowledge, memories, and facts. Employed by colleges and universities, you’re paid to contribute to the future by teaching about the past.

Which of Henry VIII’s eight wives gave birth to Elizabeth I? Who led the Million Man March on Washington, D.C.? What European city was the last to be liberated during World War II? When and why did the Chinese build the Great Wall of China? As a History Professor, you know the answers to these questions and countless others. That makes you not only a scholar but also an ideal trivia partner!

Your primary job when you’re a History Professor is to teach history classes, which involves creating lesson plans, giving lectures, assigning homework, and giving then grading exams. Teaching is the easy part, though. The hard part is “scholarship,” which requires establishing yourself as an expert Historian on behalf of your university.

To accomplish that, you engage in constant study in your area of expertise. You might specialize in the history of a location, for example, as in American history, or an event, like the Civil War. Or, you might focus on a demographic, such as women, or an era, like the 1960s. You might even specialize in an industry, such as manufacturing.

No matter what it is, you need to know everything about it, then do research in order to ask and answer new questions about historical subjects, the results of which you’ll present in scholarly articles, lectures, and books. Equal parts Instructor and explorer, you’re essentially the equivalent of a village elder. You collect, interpret, and tell stories, bequeathing them from one generation to the next.


Should I be a History Professor?

You should have a doctoral degree or higher and share these traits:
  • High Achiever: You love the challenge of tackling difficult work.
  • Independent: You enjoy flying solo and doing things your own way.
  • Ready for a Challenge: You jump into new projects with initiative and drive.

  • How to become a History Professor

    Most History Professors have a Doctorate. Start by getting your Bachelor's degree. Chart?chd=s:aabaq9&chl=||associate%27s+%282%25%29||master%27s+%2821%25%29|doctorate+%2877%25%29&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,0,77
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