Archivist Salary: Scope, Requirements and Universities


Archivist Salary


In the United States, the average archivist salary is $56,285 per year. 

Archivists design systems for document and record storage and study artifacts to determine their value and place in those systems. Archivists primarily work in offices, and the job suits persons who are detail-oriented, analytical, and inquisitive.


Who is an archivist? 

Do you have a passion for history and want to contribute to its preservation? Being an archivist is a fantastic job opportunity that you should look into. 

What an archivist undertakes now will have a long-term impact. The goal of archives is to help people comprehend the present by preserving the past. 

Archivists determine whether a piece of information is valuable and then keep and store it in the best possible way. Documents, letters, images, audio recordings, and videos are just some of the types of material that can be analyzed and maintained.

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What Is the Role of an Archivist? 

Archivists are in charge of gathering, preserving, caring for, and managing records and papers that are intended to preserve the past for future use. 

They are in charge of cataloging and managing priceless collections with significant historical significance. 

They’re also in charge of selecting, obtaining, and managing diverse items for preservation purposes. 

Archivists also assist those who have questions or require information about their holdings. 

They create educational materials in order to pass on information about historical collections to visitors. 

The archivist’s responsibilities also include managing the numerous individuals and cooperating organizations who work with museums and art collectors to ensure that programs function well in their various offices. 


What are the steps to becoming an archivist? 


Obtain a bachelor’s degree 

An undergraduate degree in archival or library science is required for an archivist position. Most degree disciplines are acceptable to recruiters as long as you have a strong interest in history and an understanding of the relevance of historical evidence. If you want to work in the film archives, a degree in information management will provide you an advantage. 


A master’s degree is a great way to advance your career. 

Enroll in a postgraduate degree program in a related field. The prerequisites for each university are different. Some provide full-time, part-time, and distance-learning programs with flexible entry requirements. 

While you can get an entry-level archivist job with a bachelor’s degree, many businesses require a master’s degree to work for them. Getting a master’s degree in library science is a great way to advance your career.

Obtain a doctoral degree 

You can acquire a doctorate by continuing your study. For high-ranking posts in academia, this is frequently preferred. A doctorate can also help you advance to director roles, particularly in state archives. 


Get some hands-on experience. 

Experience in archival fieldwork can help you develop the abilities you’ll need to succeed in the field. This could be a part-time or full-time job in an archives department. Volunteering options in the library or museum are available to you while in college. Volunteering will allow you to gain crucial first-hand experience in the field while also familiarizing you with the technology you’ll be using throughout your career. Volunteer work on your CV will also demonstrate your work ethic to future employers. 

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An internship is a great way to get hands-on archivist training, a lot of research experience, practice the skills you gained in class, make valuable networking connections, and get to know the work environment. An internship adds to your resume by providing valuable work experience that will help you stand out during job applications. 


Continue your professional development. 

You can join professional organizations such as the Association of Canadian Archivists after earning fieldwork experience (ACA). You can attend conferences, meetings, workshops, certified programs, mentorship programs, and academic publications by joining these organizations. You may stay current with current trends, themes, and technology in the archive studies business by participating in these programs. 

If you want to work as a digital archivist, you can also take chosen computer courses and learn archive computer software. Because computers are so important in archival work, knowing how to use them provides you an advantage.

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What Skills do you need to work as an archivist? 


Analytic skills

For a field archivist, systematic problem solving is a valuable talent. You must respond swiftly when documents are difficult to discover or conservation and preservation conflicts occur. This could entail conducting significant background research to locate records and engaging with the records’ creators or other experts in the subject to resolve conservation and preservation issues. 

Researching, classifying new records, and developing focused instructional programs all benefit from analytical thinking. 


Pay close attention to the details. 

For archivists, paying attention to detail is a must-have ability. Aside from collecting, cataloging, and preserving data, your job will entail a variety of responsibilities. When it comes to verifying and appraising historical materials, as well as assisting researchers in finding relevant resources, archivists rely on their strong observation abilities. 


Interpersonal Abilities

To maintain a shared database, many major organizations hire numerous archivists, each specialized in a distinct area of concentration. As a result, most archivists’ ability to thrive in collaborative contexts is critical to their success. This is due to the fact that gathering, classifying, and conserving the authenticity and integrity of large collections necessitates collaboration and open lines of communication. 


Communication Capabilities 

As an archivist, you must have strong communication skills in order to communicate effectively and adequately with clients, colleagues, and superiors in order to maintain a streamlined workflow. Communication skills are also required when working in a group. You’ll also need to organize methods for maintaining and preserving records as an archivist. 



The majority of archivists’ tasks are self-directed and self-contained. As an archivist, you must be able to work independently and efficiently manage your time. This entails conducting independent research and gathering, authenticating, describing, assessing, and keeping records with limited oversight from upper management and on a tight schedule.

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Archivists and Librarians: What’s the Difference? 


There are some key distinctions between archivists and librarians. This covers the people they work with, the projects they work on, and how they get jobs. Archivists work with historical records and papers, sometimes in collaboration with a small group of specialists. Librarians deal with a wide variety of media and serve a variety of customers, depending on the professional context — from casual readers looking for the latest best-selling novels to law students looking for case material. 


What Happens Behind the Scenes 

The amount of public interaction that an archivist and a librarian have is a significant distinction. Because archivists deal with documents and archives and spend the majority of their time processing and maintaining these materials, they rarely, if ever, contact with the public. Librarians, on the other hand, frequently work one-on-one with library clients to assist them in locating material and conducting research. 


Historical Records 

Archivists and librarians work with various materials, in addition to working privately versus publicly. Archivists deal with permanent records as well as historically significant documents including photographs, prints, and maps. Historical maps used for city planning, for example, could give a record of changing property lines and infrastructure. Because maps, like other records, are often fragile, uncommon, or one-of-a-kind, archivists must be exceptionally cautious and diligent in their work. 

Librarians, on the other hand, work with books, media, and other resources. These can cover a wide range of topics, from classic novels like War and Peace to the most recent Blu-ray blockbusters. Although some of these materials are uncommon or delicate, the majority are not. To aid patrons who are studying a topic or looking for a specific item, librarians must have great organizational and interpersonal skills. 


Master’s Degree 

Both vocations require separate master’s degrees, although having identical basic degrees, such as a bachelor’s degree in history. A degree in history, library science, public administration, archive science, or political science is required for archivists. A master’s degree in library science is almost always required of librarians. 

Why is there a distinction? A master’s degree in a range of fields may be available to archivists, providing insight into the issues that are pertinent to their future career. 


Appraisal, preservation, and specific historical periods are examples of these themes. Librarians, on the other hand, work with cutting-edge technology and assist others in accessing it, as well as developing budgets, acquisition plans, and catalogs. Modern librarians often need a master’s degree that is specialized to their industry and enables them with the diverse know-how to succeed, due to the developing, high-level, and rigorous abilities demanded of them. Many states also require librarians to pass certification exams, especially if they work in an academic context.


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What is an archival science master’s degree? 

This advanced degree program prepares students for a profession in document management. A graduate’s professional interactions with contemporary or historical records, papers, art, books, and other artifacts may include preservation, archiving, and digitization. A professional might, for example, study subjects like equality and human rights through the management of cultural objects while dealing with difficulties like collection care and use. 

Knowledge of record keeping and digitalization is useful in a variety of fields, and most preservation work necessitates meticulous attention to detail. Students who develop these qualities and skills are more likely to advance to positions of leadership in the sector. 

The cost of archival science programs at various universities and learning institutions is affected by factors such as location and level of specification. Researching the qualities that provide the desired result can assist a student in determining the best program and estimating the cost requirements. 

Individuals with a master’s degree in archives and records administration, museum studies, or comparable specializations in the field of archival science can work in museums in professions including curating, archiving, and exhibition design. A graduate could work for a firm, government agency, health care facility, or university as a digital asset manager, privacy and access specialist, or records manager.


Masters in Archival Science programs are available at the following universities. 


Syracuse University – iSchool


You’ll discover the full scope of librarianship and what it means to be a librarian today with an MS in Library and Information Science (LIS) from Syracuse University’s iSchool. Students from the sciences and humanities enroll in the iSchool’s LIS program with one purpose in mind: to improve the way communities and organizations use library and information resources. 


University of Groningen

Are you fascinated by the dynamics of information and communication? Then you should select one of the Master’s degree program’s tracks. Communication Studies, Computer Communication, Communication and Education, Information Science, and Digital Humanities are among the communication-focused tracks available in the MA in Communication & Information Studies. 


Rochester Institute of Technology is a public research that is based in Rochester, New York 

As you seek to solve the unsolved difficulties that are plaguing the computing industry, go further into the study of how information is understood and applied. 


 Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Do you want to help organizations, businesses, and society as a whole navigate responsible digital transformation? Then VU Amsterdam’s one-year full-time Information Sciences program might be ideal for you. 

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Madrid’s Complutense University 

This university Master’s degree prepares professionals to work in the wide labor market of documentary filmmakers, librarians, and archivists, which is in demand both in the public sector at all levels, from municipal libraries to the National Library, from municipal management archives, councils and ministries, to the great historical archives (Nacional, Simancas, Corona de Aragón, Indias, and others), as well as in private companies that require our professionals to have a Master’s degree.


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