Postsecondary History Teacher Career Guide 2024

Table of Contents

Postsecondary History Teacher Salary in United States for 2023

Average Annual Salary: $79,400 

Data sourced from the U.S. Department of Labor via the ONET Web API. Updated at December 8, 2023

Best Colleges and Universities for Postsecondary History Teachers in 2023

Projected Job Employment for Postsecondary History Teacher:

Estimated YearProjected YearEstimated EmploymentProjected Employment% ChangeProjected Annual Job Opening

Postsecondary History Teacher Career Path Overview

The career path of a Postsecondary History Teacher is as complex and intriguing as the historical events they teach. In this journey, individuals are given the opportunity to delve deep into the annals of history, investigate various epochs, and share their knowledge with eager students.

Education Requirements

To start on the path of becoming a Postsecondary History Teacher, one must first complete a Bachelor's degree in history or a related field. This foundation is crucial for developing a broad understanding of various historical periods and events. After obtaining a Bachelor's degree, most aspiring Postsecondary History Teachers go on to earn a Master's degree in history or a related field. However, it's important to note that in many colleges and universities, a Doctorate is the standard requirement for teaching at the postsecondary level. Specializing in a particular area of history during your doctorate can make you more attractive to employers and can open doors for research opportunities.

Obtaining Certification or Licensure

While licensure or certification isn't typically required for postsecondary teachers, there are a few exceptions. For example, if you aim to teach in a public school system, you may need to obtain a state-issued teaching license. The requirements for this vary by state and often involve passing an examination.

Experience and Skills Required

In addition to education, practical experience is highly valued in this career path. This can be gained through teaching assistantships during graduate school or by teaching at the high school level. Demonstrated research ability is also vital, as many postsecondary institutions expect their faculty to contribute to their field of expertise through research and publication. Postsecondary History Teachers also need strong communication skills to present information clearly and engagingly. They should have excellent critical thinking skills to analyze historical data and trends, and they must possess a passion for history to inspire and motivate their students.

Job Opportunities and Advancement

Once you've met the education and experience requirements, you can begin looking for job opportunities. Postsecondary History Teachers can find employment in various settings, including public and private universities, community colleges, and online education platforms. As for career advancement, Postsecondary History Teachers can progress to senior or tenured positions based on their teaching performance, research contributions, and years of service. They may also transition into administrative roles such as department head or dean. Moreover, they can gain recognition by publishing their research in esteemed academic journals or authoring books.

Salary Expectations

The salary for Postsecondary History Teachers can vary greatly depending on factors such as the type of institution, location, level of experience, and specialization. However, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for Postsecondary History Teachers was $74,560 as of May 2020. In conclusion, the career path of a Postsecondary History Teacher is one of continuous learning and growth. It offers the opportunity to explore the past in depth and share your knowledge with the next generation of historians.

Postsecondary History Teacher Career Path Education and Training

The career path of a Postsecondary History Teacher often requires rigorous and in-depth education, coupled with specific training. This extensive preparation is necessary to ensure that they are well-equipped to educate students at the college or university level.

Undergraduate Education

The journey towards becoming a Postsecondary History Teacher typically starts with an undergraduate degree. A bachelor's degree in history or a related field provides a broad understanding of various historical periods, events, and figures. This degree generally takes four years to complete and includes courses in world history, American history, historical research methods, and sometimes a specific area of interest such as European, Asian, or African history.

Graduate Education

Following undergraduate studies, aspiring Postsecondary History Teachers must pursue further education at the graduate level. A master's degree in history can provide a more focused study on a particular historical era or theme. However, most postsecondary institutions require their faculty to hold a doctoral degree (PhD) in the subject they intend to teach. Earning a PhD involves conducting original research in a specific area of history, culminating in a dissertation that contributes new knowledge to the field.

Teaching Experience and Training

Beyond formal education, practical teaching experience is an essential part of the training process for Postsecondary History Teachers. Many gain this experience through teaching assistantships during their graduate studies. This allows them to practice instructional skills under the supervision of an experienced professor. Some universities also offer pedagogical courses that teach future professors how to design curricula, create engaging lesson plans, and manage classroom dynamics.

Continuing Education and Professional Development

Once established in their careers, Postsecondary History Teachers often participate in continuing education and professional development opportunities. These can include attending academic conferences, participating in workshops, publishing research in academic journals, and staying current with new methodologies and technologies in education. This continuous learning helps them remain up-to-date in their field and improve their teaching skills. In conclusion, becoming a Postsecondary History Teacher is a lengthy process that involves extensive education and practical training. However, for those passionate about history and education, this career path can be incredibly rewarding, providing the opportunity to shape the minds of future generations and contribute to the body of historical knowledge.

Postsecondary History Teacher Career Path Progression

As an aspiring Postsecondary History Teacher, you should understand that the career progression is not just linear but can also branch out in several directions, depending on your interests, skills, and goals. The journey from being a student to becoming a fully-fledged Postsecondary History Teacher involves several steps and stages.

Obtaining a Bachelor's Degree

The first step in your career path as a Postsecondary History Teacher is obtaining a Bachelor's degree in History or a related field. This stage provides you with a broad understanding of world history, American history, European history, and other historical periods or events. Additionally, you'll also develop critical thinking skills, research skills, and writing skills – all crucial for future historians.

Completing a Master's Degree

Next, to delve deeper into the field and specialize in a particular area of history, you may need to complete a Master's degree. This advanced degree will allow you to focus on specific historical periods or topics, further honing your knowledge and research skills. It also prepares you for teaching at community colleges or other two-year institutions.

Pursuing a Doctoral Degree

For those who aim to teach at four-year colleges or universities, pursuing a doctoral degree (Ph.D.) in history or a closely related field is essential. A Ph.D. program typically involves advanced coursework, comprehensive exams, and the completion of a dissertation based on original research. This stage is where aspiring Postsecondary History Teachers become experts in their chosen field.

Post-Doctoral Research and Teaching

After earning your Ph.D., you might undertake post-doctoral research or gain teaching experience as an adjunct professor or visiting lecturer. This stage allows you to build your teaching portfolio and research credentials, which are vital when applying for tenure-track positions.

Securing a Tenure-Track Position

The ultimate goal for many Postsecondary History Teachers is to secure a tenure-track position at a college or university. Once you achieve this, you can work towards earning tenure, which involves proving your worth as a teacher, contributing to your institution, and producing significant research in your field.

Continuing Professional Development

Even after securing a tenure-track position, Postsecondary History Teachers must continually update their knowledge and skills through professional development. This could involve attending conferences, publishing research, participating in workshops, or pursuing additional certifications or degrees. Remember, the path to becoming a Postsecondary History Teacher is a long one that requires dedication, perseverance, and a genuine passion for history. However, the rewards – the chance to influence the next generation of historians, contribute to scholarly knowledge, and indulge your love for history – make it a journey worth taking.

Postsecondary History Teacher Career Path Specializations and Subfields

The career path of a Postsecondary History Teacher is diverse and multifaceted, as it's characterized by various specializations and subfields. These areas of focus offer the opportunity for educators to delve deeper into specific parts of history, enhancing both their teaching and their students' learning experiences. Whether it's Ancient History, Modern History, or Cultural History, each subfield presents a unique perspective on the past.

World History

Specializing in World History means taking on a global perspective, considering all corners of the world. This subfield often requires an understanding of various cultures, religions, and civilizations that have shaped human history. A career in this field might entail teaching courses such as "The Rise and Fall of Empires" or "Globalization and its Historical Impact."

American History

American History is a popular specialization among Postsecondary History Teachers in the United States. This focus area explores the rich tapestry of events, movements, and individuals that have shaped the nation. Potential courses could include "The American Revolution," "Civil Rights Movement," or "American Economic History."

European History

Those specializing in European History will explore the historical events, cultures, and figures that have influenced Europe's development. From the Roman Empire to the World Wars, European history is vast and varied. Courses could range from "Medieval Europe" to "The European Enlightenment."

Asian History

Asian History is a specialization that encompasses diverse cultures, religions, and historical events across the Asian continent. This could involve teaching about ancient civilizations such as China's dynasties, India's empires, or Japan's shogunate era.

African History

African History delves into the rich historical tapestry of the African continent. Postsecondary History Teachers might teach about ancient African civilizations, the effects of colonialism, or the struggles and triumphs of African independence movements.

Latin American History

Latin American History covers the diverse cultures, histories, and political developments of Central and South America. This could include teaching about the Aztec and Inca civilizations, the Spanish conquest, or modern political movements.

Middle Eastern History

Middle Eastern History explores the complex and diverse histories of the Middle East region. Teachers might cover topics like the Ottoman Empire, the creation of modern Middle Eastern states, or the influence of Islam on the region's history. Each of these subfields presents its unique challenges and rewards. By choosing to specialize in a specific area, Postsecondary History Teachers can deepen their knowledge, engage their students more effectively, and contribute more substantially to academic discourse in their chosen field.

Postsecondary History Teacher Career Path Job Market and Outlook

The job market for postsecondary history teachers is one that is continuously evolving. As historical events unfold, the demand for professionals who can effectively teach these subjects increases. This section will provide a detailed look into the job market and outlook for those considering a career as a Postsecondary History Teacher.

Current Job Market

As of now, the job market for postsecondary history teachers is moderately competitive. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of postsecondary teachers, in general, is projected to grow 9 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. This growth is expected due to increasing enrollments in postsecondary schools. However, the actual growth rate may vary depending on the specific field of history being taught and geographic location. Historically, opportunities are more abundant in urban areas where there are more universities and colleges. Nevertheless, online education has started opening up opportunities for history teachers in remote locations as well.

Future Job Outlook

The future job outlook for postsecondary history teachers looks promising. With the constant development of new historical events and the ongoing importance of understanding past events, there will always be a need for history educators at the postsecondary level. However, one should note that job prospects are often subject to fluctuations in government funding for postsecondary education. During periods of budget cuts, hiring can slow down. Conversely, when funding is increased, more job opportunities may become available. Another factor influencing job outlook is the surge in online education. More and more institutions are offering online history courses, which could potentially increase demand for postsecondary history teachers who are comfortable with this mode of teaching.

Challenges and Opportunities

While there are many opportunities in this field, there are also challenges that potential postsecondary history teachers should be aware of. Competition for tenured positions can be fierce, and adjunct or part-time positions may not offer the same level of job security. On the other hand, the rise of online education presents a unique opportunity. Teachers who can adapt to this mode of instruction may find an increased number of job opportunities. Moreover, specializing in a niche area of history can also enhance job prospects as colleges and universities often seek experts in specific areas to enrich their curriculum. In conclusion, while the job market for postsecondary history teachers is competitive, there are numerous opportunities for those with the right qualifications and skills. The future job outlook appears positive, with potential growth driven by factors such as increasing student enrollments and the rise of online education. However, potential challenges like competition for tenured positions and fluctuations in government funding should also be considered when planning a career in this field.

Postsecondary History Teacher Career Path Salary and Compensation

The salary and compensation for Postsecondary History Teachers can vary significantly based on various factors such as the type of institution they work for (private vs. public), geographical location, years of experience, and level of education. In the United States, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for Postsecondary History Teachers was $75,170 as of May 2020. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $40,480, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $129,530. However, it's important to remember that these figures can fluctuate depending on the specifics of your employment situation.

Salary by Institution Type

Typically, history teachers at private institutions tend to earn more than their counterparts at public institutions. This is due to the fact that private institutions often have higher tuition fees, allowing them to offer more competitive salaries. Furthermore, larger universities also typically offer higher salaries than smaller colleges and community colleges.

Salary by Geographic Location

Geographic location can also greatly affect a Postsecondary History Teacher's salary. For instance, those working in urban areas or regions with a high cost of living often earn more than those in rural areas or regions with a lower cost of living.

Salary by Experience Level

Experience level plays a significant role in determining a Postsecondary History Teacher's salary. As teachers gain more experience and demonstrate their expertise in their field, they often see a corresponding increase in their compensation.

Additional Compensation

In addition to their base salary, Postsecondary History Teachers may also receive additional compensation in the form of benefits like health insurance, retirement plans, tuition waivers for dependents, paid leave, and more. Some may also have opportunities for additional income through consulting work, writing textbooks, or participating in summer programs. It's also worth noting that the job outlook for Postsecondary History Teachers is relatively stable. The BLS projects a 2% growth rate from 2019 to 2029, which is slower than the average for all occupations. However, the continued importance of a well-rounded education means there will always be a need for history teachers at the postsecondary level. To sum up, while the salary and compensation for Postsecondary History Teachers can vary widely, they are generally compensated fairly for their expertise and contribution to the education sector.

Postsecondary History Teacher Career Path Tips for Success

Becoming a successful Postsecondary History Teacher is not a matter of chance but a result of strategic planning and consistent efforts. Here are some tips that can help you navigate your career path successfully.

Academic Excellence

The first step towards becoming a Postsecondary History Teacher starts with gaining a strong foundation in history. This involves earning a Bachelor's degree, and subsequently, a Master's degree in History. For better opportunities, pursuing a Ph.D. in History is highly recommended. During your academic journey, focus on understanding different eras, cultures, and significant historical events in depth.

Teaching Experience

Gaining teaching experience is crucial for those aspiring to become Postsecondary History Teachers. This can be achieved through teaching assistantships during your graduate studies or by taking up part-time teaching positions at community colleges. This hands-on experience will not only help you understand the nuances of teaching but will also make you comfortable in handling classes and creating engaging lesson plans.

Research Proficiency

Research is a significant part of a Postsecondary History Teacher's job. Therefore, it's important to hone your research skills during your academic years. Participate in research projects, write research papers, and attend conferences to present your findings. This will not only enhance your understanding of the subject but also establish your credibility in the field.


While not mandatory, getting certified can give you an edge over others. Certifications like the National Board Certification can demonstrate your competency and commitment to the profession.

Continuing Education

The field of history is ever-evolving with new findings and interpretations. Therefore, continuous learning is essential to stay updated. Attend workshops, seminars, and courses that focus on new trends in history education.


Networking plays a vital role in your career growth. Join professional organizations like the American Historical Association to connect with other professionals in your field. Attend conferences and seminars, where you can meet and learn from seasoned Postsecondary History Teachers.


Getting your research work published in reputable journals can significantly boost your career. It not only enhances your profile but also contributes to the existing body of knowledge in history. By following these tips, you can chart a successful career path as a Postsecondary History Teacher. Remember, the key to success lies in continuous learning and adaptation to the evolving trends in the field of history.

What is a Postsecondary History Teacher?

A Postsecondary History Teacher, often referred to as a history professor or lecturer, is a highly skilled educator who teaches history at the college or university level. Their primary roles include designing and delivering lectures, leading seminar discussions, creating and grading assessments, conducting original historical research, and publishing scholarly papers and books.

What does a Postsecondary History Teacher do?

The main responsibility of a Postsecondary History Teacher is to educate students on various historical periods, themes, and events. This involves preparing course materials such as syllabi, homework assignments, and handouts. They also evaluate students' progress by grading papers, essays, and exams. In addition, they often conduct research in their field of expertise and contribute to academia by publishing their findings in scholarly journals or books.

What qualifications do you need to become a Postsecondary History Teacher?

Becoming a Postsecondary History Teacher usually requires a Ph.D. in history or a related field. Before embarking on this career path, individuals often earn a bachelor's degree in history and then a master's degree. Strong research skills, excellent written and oral communication abilities, and a passion for teaching are also important qualifications for this role.

How long does it take to become a Postsecondary History Teacher?

The journey to becoming a Postsecondary History Teacher can take several years. After earning a bachelor's degree, which typically takes four years, individuals usually spend two years earning a master's degree. Pursuing a Ph.D., which involves producing original research and writing a dissertation, can take anywhere from four to six years. Therefore, it can take approximately ten to twelve years of higher education to become a Postsecondary History Teacher.

What is the career outlook for a Postsecondary History Teacher?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of postsecondary teachers, in general, is projected to grow 9 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. However, growth may vary by field of study. For history, competition for full-time positions will likely be strong because the number of students who wish to study history is not growing as fast as the number of students studying other subjects.

What skills are needed to be a successful Postsecondary History Teacher?

Successful Postsecondary History Teachers require a mix of hard and soft skills. They need in-depth knowledge of historical periods and events and strong research skills to conduct original research. Excellent communication skills are crucial for delivering engaging lectures and facilitating class discussions. They should also have strong critical thinking abilities to analyze historical data and draw accurate conclusions. Finally, good organizational skills are necessary for managing coursework and meeting academic deadlines.

What is the salary range for a Postsecondary History Teacher?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for postsecondary history teachers was $74,590 in May 2019. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $39,720, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $129,170. However, salaries can vary significantly depending on the location, institution type (private vs public), and the individual's level of experience.

What are the career advancement opportunities for a Postsecondary History Teacher?

Postsecondary History Teachers have several paths for career advancement. With experience and a strong record of published research, they may progress to senior positions such as department head or dean. Some may choose to take on administrative roles within their institution, while others might leverage their expertise to consult or write books. Additionally, teaching at the postsecondary level can also provide a platform for public speaking opportunities or media appearances as a subject matter expert.