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Archivist Curator, records manager

Archivists look after and preserve collections of historical records and documents.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £20,000 to £60,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 35 to 40 per week

1. Entry requirements

You'll need a degree. Most degree subjects are accepted, but you may find it useful to have a degree in a related subject like:

  • history
  • information science
  • law
  • languages

You'll also need a postgraduate qualification in archives or records management recognised by the Archives and 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. The ARA has information on how to find work experience.

Creative Choices has more information about careers in archives.

2. Skills required

You'll need:

  • the ability to engage with your audience
  • organisational skills and attention to detail
  • excellent research skills
  • practical skills in conservation and handling archived items
  • IT skills

3. What you'll do

You'll work for a public collection, a private collection or a house or garden open to the public.

Your day-to-day tasks could include:

  • 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'll work with objects like books, maps, photographs, computer records, recordings and film.

You'll also convert physical archives to digital storage.

4. Salary

Starter: £20,000

Experienced: £22,500 to £28,000

Highly Experienced: £60,000 (senior manager or head of archives)

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You'll usually work 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

You'll be mostly office based but could also spend time inspecting archives, giving presentations or setting up exhibitions.

You could work in dusty and cramped conditions. You may need to lift heavy document boxes.

6. 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.

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Last updated: 11 April 2017