Average Salary: $55,870
Expected Lifetime Earnings: $2,332,460
So is this job going to get you a lot of Washingtons and Lincolns, or will you be seeing Benjamins? You may think preserving history for future generations would be a no-brain money-maker. But, why would you think that?
It's not easy to sell history, and a lot of research depends on a certain marketability of the expected results. A lot of the cash floating around for historical research comes from government grants and private donations, and if the money isn't there, then neither are the historians.
Whether you can make a decent amount as a historian really depends on where you work. The average is about $56,000 per year, but that's including every kind of history-related job out there (source).
Historians usually are hired as professors, curators, collections managers, museum education conservators, publishers, archivists, or government agents for historical preservation. Every single one of those will pay you something different—and will also depend on your level of education.
Gallery curators in Memphis, Tennessee, museum technicians in New York City, and high school history teachers in Kenosha, Wisconsin, will all have different salaries, responsibilities, and expectations. There's no set salary for historians, but, generally-speaking, the more education you have, the better your chances of finding a high paying job. Makes sense, right?
Historians who go through enough schooling to get a Ph.D. typically stay in school as professors. Long-term tenured professors can make over $100,000 annually, which is twice that of historian doctors stitching up open historical wounds at non-collegiate public institutions.