Curator, records manager
Archivists look after and preserve collections of historical records and documents.
Salary Range: £20,000 to £60,000
How to become an archivist
You can get into this job through:
- a university course
You’ll need a degree and postgraduate training to do this job. Most degree subjects are accepted, but you may find it useful to take a degree like:
- information science
After you complete a degree, you’ll do a postgraduate qualification in archives or records management recognised by the Archives & Records Association (ARA).
You’ll usually need some relevant work experience to apply for a postgraduate course. This is a great way of finding out if a career as an archivist is for you.
You’ll usually need:
- 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
- a degree in any subject for a postgraduate course
- equivalent entry requirements
- student finance for fees and living costs
- university courses and entry requirements
Volunteering and experience
It’s important that you get some paid or unpaid experience in archives or records management work. This will help when you apply for courses and jobs.
Professional and industry bodies
You can join the Archives & Records Association and get access to industry news, professional development courses and networking events.
You’ll find more details about careers and training in archives from Creative Choices and the Archives & Records Association.
You can also find out more about working in creative careers from Discover Creative Careers.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- knowledge of English language
- an interest and knowledge of history
- analytical thinking skills
- administration skills
- customer service skills
- the ability to use your initiative
- the ability to work well with others
- to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
What you’ll do
In this role you could be:
- storing materials correctly and keeping them in good condition
- identifying, dating, cataloguing and indexing archive materials
- helping people use the archives
- making records available to users in formats such as photocopies, microfiche and online
- carrying out research
- giving talks and organising presentations, displays and exhibitions
- negotiating the buying or donation of archive material
You could work in an office.
Your working environment may be physically demanding, cramped and dusty.
Career path and progression
With experience, you could work with larger and more prestigious organisations, like national archives and museums, businesses, church foundations and charities.
You could become self-employed.