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Archivist Job Description, Career as a Archivist, Salary, Employment

Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

Training/Educational Requirements: Master degree preferred

Median Salary: $41,899 annually

Job Prospects: Good

Job Description

Archivists are responsibility for collecting, organizing, and preserving documents which are believed to have value. They are responsible for the overall archiving tasks these documents require, much of which has to do with preservation. They work so individuals can access the information that these documents provide which can be a very involved process.

Archivists conduct research which plays a major part of their role. Since they are viewed as subject matter experts in their field, they must direct and run programs and initiatives to preserve and safeguard the documents. One of the main responsibilities involves a value assessment of the documents they review and investigate. This means they must keep on top of all pertinent information.

They arrange and care for the documents, organize them for general consumption, and work as a part of the team in providing these documents for indexing purposes. Depending on the environment and their employer, archivists may serve in an educational role, or be involved with education such as a library.

Archivists manage the preservation efforts of valuable materials. As they work to appraise documents, they also manage the disposal of those documents which hold no value. Their role changes from day to day, and yet, they are considered to be the subject matter expert. Therefore, they are involved in answering inquiries and directing any efforts to assess value or preserve valuable documents. They are also involved in selecting documents for publishing purposes. Many look to archivists for insight into the appropriate documents to reference for presentations, publications, or other purpose.

Training/Educational Requirements

Most archivists possess a master’s degree, which is usually a requirement for this job. It is preferred that the higher degree be in library science, information science, or archival science, though some of these programs are rare at certain universities. Having some coursework within any of these fields prepares archivists for their role.

Although certification isn’t a requirement, it helps add to the credibility of the archivist. There is a certification program available that can easily be achieved after the archivist completes their educational requirement. As more and more people in this role are using online resources to help manage their archives, any training in this area is helpful. Using blogs and wikis to help manage the archives an individual is responsible for not only prepares them for a variety of responsibilities, but ends up making the archivist far more marketable.

How to Get Hired

The experience and skills possessed by an archivist is the best way to get hired. Working within archiving or an information management role at a library or other institution provides an excellent fundamental background for an archivist and helps them to get hired. Demonstrating the ability to manage a great deal of detail, and being organized are skills potential employers want to see.

Since there is a strong educational requirement for this position, possessing a degree or certification adds to the likelihood of getting hired initially. Once on the career path, gaining experience and working on highly publicized archiving efforts adds to the archivists marketability and helps them to get hired faster. This is a job where experience and skills really count, and helps good archivists stand out from the rest.

Job Prospects, Employment Outlook, and Career Development

There is good potential for archivists since this role is offered in a variety of environments. Universities, research institutions, and libraries hire good archivists which provides a solid offering of job openings. Although this can be a competitive field, for those who possess strong experience and aptitude, they have no problem finding a job.

The career path is up to the individual since there are many ways to move on in this profession. Archivists can start off in a smaller role at a library, and move up to work for a major university in a more prestigious job. Certified archivists can expect to have no difficulty finding a job since this adds to their credibility. There is great potential for those who are truly qualified for this role. Those archivists who keep up with technology and learn how to offer their skills online increase their hiring potential.

Working Environment

The typical working environment for an archivist is a library or a university. Archivists usually have an office of their own where they conduct research and deal with appraisals. Since some archivists are involved in education, they work in a classroom. Typically, archivists work in a quiet environment, and enjoy the structure it provides. They work normal work hours, but may be required to work more to meet a deadline for a given presentation or special project.

They work as part of a team, particularly if they work for a large university or educational institution. They offer their individual services for special projects from time to time. They need concentration to be able to focus on their work since it is detail-oriented in nature.

Salary and Benefits

The typical salary for an archivist is about $41,899 per year, but this varies widely. Depending on the employer, environment, experience, and geographical location of the archivist, the salary may range anywhere between $40,931 and $50,573 a year. The more experience and responsibilities an archivist possesses, the higher their salary. Most archivists can expect to receive standard benefits including medical coverage, paid vacation, holidays, and sick days.

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesEducation & Training