There are four steps required to get an archivist job: post-secondary training, related work experience, certification, and completing the job interview process. An archivist is responsible for assessing, organizing, preserving, and managing access to documents and materials that may have long-term value. This material is typically historical or culturally significant in nature, and determined by the archivist to have value to future generations. Typical documents may include letters between important political figures or a set of correspondence between two parties during an interesting period of history.
Post-secondary training programs are required to get an archivist job. There is no specific degree in archiving, but the required skills are taught in graduate programs in library science, information studies, and museum studies. Admissions into this type of program are based on a combination of marks from a bachelor's degree program and a personal interview. Archivist is a popular career for people who trained as librarians.
Related work experience to get an archivist job includes working as a researcher, librarian, digital librarian, or data management administrator. Many information studies programs include an internship opportunity to work with an archivist in the universities or city archives. Talk to your program administrator about the options available to you.
There are several certification programs available from a range of archivist associations. The Academy of Certified Archivists® (ACA®) is the certification agency with the widest recognition in the United States. Candidates are required to submit their experience, academic credentials, and write an examination to become certified. Although not required by all employers, certification by the ACA® is required when applying for an archivist job with a government agency.
During the job interview process, take the time to prepare for the interview. Think of a list of standard interview questions and prepare your answers in advance. Take advantage of the services offered by your school's career center. The interview process when applying to academic or government institutions often involves multiple panel interviews. Preparation is key to success in this format.
The archivist community is very small, and reputation is important. Talk with your professors, volunteer to work on research projects, and offer your assistance where possible. Ask your professors to tell you about any opportunities or positions that they may hear about.
Archivists can find employment opportunities in large libraries, universities, colleges, museums, government libraries, and archives. As an archivist, you may be eligible to participate in reciprocal arrangements with other archives around the world. These programs combine international travel with information sharing and the development of international standards.