Job Description:

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

Job Category:
Art & Fashion

What you will do:

In this role you could:

  • store materials correctly and keep them in good condition
  • use archive management software to date, catalogue and index materials
  • create and set up programmes to digitise records and materials
  • help people use the archives
  • make records available to users in formats such as photocopies, microfiche and online
  • carry out research
  • give talks and organise presentations, displays and exhibitions
  • negotiate the buying or donation of archive material


You’ll need:

  • an interest and knowledge of history
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages confidently

As well as:

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • analytical thinking skills
  • administration and organisation skills 
  • the ability to use your initiative (drive)
  • customer service skills
  • the ability to work well with others (teamwork skills)
  • concentration skills
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship

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 can do a postgraduate qualification in archives or records management (in the UK this would need to be 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 could do an Archivist and records manager degree apprenticeship.

This typically takes 36 months to complete as a mix of learning in the workplace and study with an approved university.

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.

Professional and industry bodies
In the UK, you can join the Archives & Records Association and get access to industry news, professional development courses and networking events. You can also join the Information and Records Management Society.

The IRMS offers industry news, events, resources and the opportunity to apply for accreditation once you have several years experience in the role.

Working Hours and Environment:

You could work in an office.

Your working environment may be physically demanding, cramped and dusty.

Career Path & Progression:

With experience, you could work with large and prestigious organisations, like national archives and museums, businesses, church foundations and charities.

You could supervise or manage a team of archivists, be responsible for funding bids and advise on strategy and planning.

You could become self-employed.