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 can get into this job through:

  • a university course


You'll need a degree and postgraduate training to do this job. Most degree subjects are accepted, but you may find it useful to take a degree like:

  • history
  • information science
  • law
  • languages

After you complete a degree, you'll do a postgraduate qualification in archives or records management recognised by the Archives & 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.

You'll usually need:

  • 2 to 3 A levels for a degree
  • a degree in any subject for a postgraduate course

Volunteering and experience

It's important that you get some paid or unpaid experience in archives or records management work. This will help when you apply for courses and jobs.

Further Information

You can join the Archives & Records Association and get access to industry news, professional development courses and networking events.

You'll find more details about careers and training in archives from Creative Choices and the Archives & Records Association.

£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:

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • knowledge of English language
  • an interest and knowledge of history
  • analytical thinking skills
  • administration skills
  • customer service skills
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • the ability to work well with others
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
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