Government

Archivist

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

Annual Salary

£20,000 to £60,000

Average UK salary in 2018 was £29,588 (source Office for Statistics)

Working hours

35 to 40

What's it all about?

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.

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.

£20,000 to £60,000

Starter salary: £20,000

Experienced salary: £22,500 to £28,000

These figures are a guide.

35 to 40

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.

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.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are 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
My top 5 skills from the skills bank
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