Archivists: Salary Overview
Archivists appraise, catalog, and preserve permanent records and historical documents.
Their job responsibilities typically include authenticating and appraising the documents and materials, creating and managing a system to preserve and maintain them, organizing and classifying archival material, creating film and digital copies of the documents to safeguard them, supervising workers who arrange and exhibit collections, setting and applying policy guidelines, and finding and acquiring new materials for the archive.
Archivists typically work in a university or a library where they usually have an office of their own where they can conduct research.
Some archivists are also involved in education.
Typically archivists work normal work hours but they may also work overtime when they have to meet a deadline.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics(BLS), the median annual wage for archivists was $53,950, as of May 2018.
The numbers published by BLS show that the highest 10% earned more than $91,350 while the lowest 10% earned less than $31,870.
Salaries in this field vary widely depending on the archivist’s level of experience and the industry of employment.
Archivist Salary by Industry
The majority of archivists are employed in Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools.
Archivists who work in this industry earned an average salary of $59,050 a year, as of May 2018.
The best-paying industry is the Federal Executive Branch, an industry that employs around 480 archivists paid with $90,180 a year, on average, as of May 2018.
A lower average annual salary, of approximately $48,100, was earned by archivists who work for museums, historical sites, or similar institutions.
Museum positions are highly sought after and candidates who have experience in performing research and have published works should have better job and advancement prospects.
Archivists who worked for state government earned a mean annual wage of $50,370 a year, while those who are employed by local governments earned around $52,510, as of May 2018.
Some archivists also work for Information Services- a field that pays them around $57,490 a year on average, as of May 2018.
Other industries that sometimes employ archivists are Radio and Television Broadcasting, Management of Companies and Enterprises, and Performing Arts Companies.
Although wages in these fields are typically higher than the average archivist salary, job openings are typically scarce and only a few archivists work in these industries.
Those who are employed in Radio and Television Broadcasting earned an annual mean wage of $69,930.
Archivists who work in the field of Management of Companies and Enterprises earned on average $67,530 while those who work for Performing Arts Companies earned $64,960 a year, on average.
Archivist Salary by Compensation Structure
Archivists are typically paid a salary but they sometimes also receive bonuses and overtime pay.
The compensation structure depends on the employer and the archivist’s level of experience.
According to payscale.com, an entry-level archivist earns an average total compensation of $39,328 while an archivist with 10-19 years of experience can expect to earn an average total compensation of $57,555 and they can earn even more after gaining more than 20 years of experience.
Many archivists also receive standard benefits such as health insurance, paid vacation, and sick days.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for archivists is projected to grow 9 percent from 2018 to 2028, faster than the average for all occupations.
This increase is mainly caused by the fact that public and private organizations have many records and need someone to organize them.
Archivists who hold a master’s degree from a reputable higher education institution and have a few years of experience are expected to have better job prospects.
A career as an archivist will allow you to combine your passion for history with public administration and archival studies and can be both financially and professionally rewarding.
* Based on information from the May 2021 salary report from the BLS. The figures represent accumulated data for all states of employment for Archivists. BLS data represents averages and medians for workers at all levels of education and experience. This data doesn't represent starting salaries.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.