How to Become a History Professor (Meaning, Career, Tips, FAQs)

To become a history professor, you must have a passion for the past, a lifelong dedication to learning, and a drive to teach.

Moreover, to obtain a position as a history professor, one must first prepare for the position, earn various academic degrees, and have prior research or publications published.

So, let’s dive in and discover the exciting world of academia and the path to becoming a history professor!

Who is a History Professor?

A history professor is an instructor at college/university who teaches students about the past in general terms and more specific ways.

They can help students figure out what happened, what lessons can be learned from specific times, and how those things affect the future.

It can be hard to get a job as a history professor at a college, so some people in the field may instead choose to teach history in high school, work as a historian at a museum, or work for a historical society.

Is Being A History Professor Worth It?

Yes, it is. Professors of history are those who instruct students on the wide sweep of time as well as more specific areas of study.

In the US, there are primarily white history professors, with 66.4% of the profession falling into that category. Of all history professors, 10.0% are Hispanic or Latino, and 11.3% are Asian.

Students can use them to better understand past events’ impact on the present and future.

Some people who are interested in history, but find it difficult to break into university teaching, might instead look into high school teaching, museum archiving, or working for a historical society.

How To Become a History Professor

1. Obtain a Bachelor’s Degree:

A bachelor’s degree in history or a closely related topic is typically expected of those hoping to teach the subject at the university level.

This undergraduate curriculum will equip students with the tools to conduct in-depth studies of the past, think critically, and analyze data effectively.

To further your education, it is recommended that you enroll in classes covering a variety of periods and geographical areas.

2. Obtain a Master’s Degree:

You must earn a master’s degree in history after completing your bachelor’s. The additional training in research and writing that comes with an advanced degree in history is invaluable.

There are plenty of places to earn a master’s degree in history; many provide financial aid through assistantships and scholarships.

3. Pursue a Ph.D. in History

You could go on to study for a doctorate in history after completing your master’s degree.

Tenure-track posts at universities and colleges often require a Ph.D., which is not usually necessary for teaching positions at community colleges or smaller institutions.

4. Teach:

Although formal training is essential, nothing can replace actual work experience in history.

Internships and volunteer work in museums, libraries, and historical societies are great places to obtain experience in the field.

Participating in these events will allow you to interact directly with historians, handle actual items from the past, and hone your historical research and public speaking skills.

5. Publishing Articles in Academic Journals:

Having your research published in peer-reviewed journals or presented at conferences is another great method to build your resume.

These events serve as a showcase for your skills and can boost your reputation in the academic world.

The American Historical Association and the Organization of American Historians are two excellent groups to become a part of if you’re serious about your career in history.

These groups help members connect, access useful materials, and further their careers.

6. Gain practical Experience:

Aspiring historian educators need a solid academic foundation and training, and experience.

Learning the ins and outs of historical research techniques and ideas and keeping up with your field’s most recent academic work is essential.

You must keep up with the latest historical research and debates to succeed in school.

Reading scholarly articles, attending workshops and conferences, and talking to experienced people are all great ways to do this.

You can further your knowledge and expertise in specific areas of history by enrolling in advanced courses or working for relevant certifications.

7. Research and Write:

You need strong research and writing skills to make it as a professor of history. Because of these abilities, you can dig deeper into a topic, study primary sources, and confidently present your findings.

To acquire these abilities, it is crucial to participate in difficult research projects throughout one’s academic career.

8. Build Connections:

Building professional relationships is essential in academia. Networking with other historians, academics, and mentors can lead to exciting new projects, partnerships, and expert guidance.

You can expand your professional network by participating in relevant workshops, seminars, and conferences.

Communicate with other experts in your field, pose probing questions, and swap business cards.

You might also consider signing up for online communities or forums where historians congregate to talk shop, swap materials, and lend each other moral support.

Relationships with teachers and mentors should be prioritized as well. Seek ways to collaborate with prominent academics who may serve as mentors and provide references.

Use office hours, get comments on your study, and let your professors know you’re considering a career in academia.

These relationships can be helpful when you are ready to apply for teaching jobs or graduate school.

9. Pursuing Advanced Degrees:

While a bachelor’s and master’s degree are essential for becoming a history professor, pursuing advanced degrees and specialization can further enhance your career prospects.

As mentioned earlier, a Ph.D. is highly recommended for those aspiring to teach at the university level or secure tenure-track positions.

Choose a subfield of history that corresponds with your research interests and plans for your career.

This focus will help you become an authority in a specific area and add to the existing body of knowledge.

Pursuing a doctorate also shows that you are dedicated to academics and have the skills necessary to conduct your study.

10. Applying for Tenure-Track Positions

A tenure-track position is a job in the academic field that can lead to tenure at a specific university.

The concept of tenure was developed to protect academics from being fired and to encourage a climate of open inquiry in the classroom.

It’s time to start looking for teaching jobs once you’ve completed the required coursework and gained relevant experience.

Putting together a solid curriculum vitae (CV) that highlights your education, research, teaching experience, and publications is the first step.

Focus your resume on the talents and experience relevant to the position you’re applying for.

Tenure-track posts need candidates to show their capacity for original research and academic publication. Create a research agenda that details your plans for the following few years of study.

Consult with advisors and peers to hone your research agenda and ensure it’s doable. You should also think about reaching out to possible partners or mentors who can assist in the tenure process.

How to Be Successful As A History Professor

1. Continuous Learning:

To succeed in this field, it is crucial to devote time and energy to lifelong learning.

Participating in professional groups, attending relevant conferences, and keeping up with your field’s most recent research and scholarly work all count.

2. Joining Historical Societies:

Join a historical organization or two that deals with topics you’re interested in studying. These groups are great places to find helpful information, make connections, and share the results of your research.

Look into interdisciplinary opportunities and collaborative research projects to further your learning and development.

3. Engage in teaching workshops or seminars

Participate in teaching seminars and workshops to sharpen your teaching abilities.

Keep up with the latest developments in new pedagogical practices and technological tools to better engage and inspire your students.

To become a better educator, you should get input from your students and peers.

4. Pursuing additional certifications

Consider furthering your education in these areas by getting certified in digital humanities, public history, or archive studies.

Gaining these credentials might increase your marketability and open up more job opportunities.

FAQs on How To Become a History Professor

What is higher than a professor?

Distinguished Professor

Who was the first professor in Nigeria?

Theophilus Oladipo Ogunlesi

Who is called a professor?

A postsecondary academic instructor.


If you have a genuine interest in the past and enjoy teaching, a career in academia may be the perfect fit.

You can start on this thrilling adventure by training, acquiring experience, learning skills, and making the necessary academic connections.

Keep in mind that succeeding in the field of history education calls for passion, commitment, and determination.

Get going on your education right now, and you could end up inspiring the future generation of historians.

Awesome one; I hope this article answers your question.

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Paschal Uchechukwu
Paschal Uchechukwu

Paschal Uchechukwu Christain is a professional and passionate SEO writer on Education, including homeschool, college tips, high school, and travel tips.

He has been writing articles for over 5 years. He is the Chief Content Officer at School & Travel.

Paschal Uchechukwu Christain holds a degree in Computer Science from a reputable institution. Also, he is passionate about helping people get access to online money-making opportunities.

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