Heritage officer

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Historic buildings officer, listings officer

Heritage officers support teams to take care of buildings, monuments and places valued for their cultural and historical importance.

Salary Range: £18,500 to £48,000

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How to become a heritage officer

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
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University

There are lots of subjects that can be useful for a career in heritage. Examples include:

  • history
  • geography
  • cultural heritage studies
  • building conservation
  • architecture
  • archaeology
  • Earth or natural sciences

A postgraduate qualification can give you an advantage when you’re looking for jobs. You could study subjects like:

  • heritage management
  • historic conservation

As well as a degree you’ll also need relevant work experience in the heritage sector. It’s important to look for internships and work experience opportunities while you study. Many people get into paid roles through volunteering at first.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
  • a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study

More information

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Apprenticeship

You can start out by doing an historic environment advice assistant higher apprenticeship.

English Heritage, Historic England and the National Trust are developing this route as an alternative to going to university. You would start off as a heritage trainee or technician.

Entry requirements

To do this apprenticeship, you’ll need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a higher or degree apprenticeship

More information

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Work

You may be able to move into heritage officer work if you have relevant skills or experience in other professions. For example:

  • construction project management
  • local authority planning
  • building surveying

Volunteering and experience

Work experience and volunteering are really important for getting into this type of work. You can look for opportunities with organisations like:

You could try your local council as they may own historic buildings or sites. There may be opportunities in departments, such as planning or regeneration, where you could get useful experience.

You can also search for private companies in the heritage sector through the Historic Environment Provider Service Recognition scheme.

Some organisations have internship programmes to encourage people from black and minority ethnic communities to think about a career in heritage. For example Historic England summer placements.

Direct application

You may be able to apply directly if you’ve got several years’ experience in a related industry like civil engineering, construction management, planning or conservation.

More information

Professional and industry bodies

You could join the Association for Heritage Interpretation or the Institute of Historic Building Conservation for professional development.

Further information

You can find out more about careers in heritage from Creative and Cultural Skills.

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What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You’ll need:

  • customer service skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • knowledge of building and construction
  • the ability to work well with others
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • administration skills
  • the ability to use your judgement and make decisions
  • excellent written communication skills
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
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What you’ll do

Day-to-day tasks

In a typical day you may:

  • inspect historic buildings and monuments to assess work to be completed
  • respond to queries and give advice to members of the public and organisations
  • research information using archives, heritage legislation and conservation standards
  • review building plans and engineering drawings
  • attend public events and present project proposals
  • write reports and produce project plans
  • make sure work meets project deadlines, budgets and conservation standards
  • communicate with conservation and planning officials
  • give technical advice to teams working on conservation projects

Working environment

You could work in an office or visit sites.

Your working environment may be outdoors some of the time and you may spend nights away from home.

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Career path and progression

With experience and continuous professional development you could become a heritage project manager, a senior inspector or heritage consultant.

To get promotion you may need to relocate to a new area or move between organisations in the public and private sector.

There are lots of opportunities for in-service training through organisations like the Institute of Historic Building Conservation.