records manager archive conservator archive service manager
Heritage, culture and libraries

Career outlook for archivist

UK Salary Ranges





Currently employed in Scotland


Salary information is provided by the "National Careers Service". "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures. Due to COVID-19 the jobs market is constantly changing. Some of the information may not reflect the current situation.

What's it like?

You would organise collections of historical records and documents so that they are easy for people to study and enjoy.

You'd preserve the documents and make them easy for people to find, either physically or on the internet.

You'd work with all types of materials including:

  • Historical records and documents
  • Books and maps
  • Photographs and film
  • Audio and digital files

You would decide which materials should be kept in an archive. You'd use computer technology to create digital archives and convert physical materials into digital formats.

You would:

  • Store the materials correctly to keep them in good condition
  • Identify and date the items
  • Catalogue and index the materials
  • Help people to use the archives
  • Create records in other formats such as photocopies, microfiche and digital
  • Do research
  • Give talks and presentations
  • Organise displays and exhibitions

You would meet people who want to sell or donate items to the archive, assess the importance of the materials and negotiate a price.

At senior level, you might manage and supervise staff, manage budgets and put together bids for funding.

Working conditions


You would usually work 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, but you may be able to do part-time hours. You may have to work occasional evenings and weekends.


You'll mainly be office-based. You could also spend time inspecting archives at other sites, giving presentations or setting up exhibitions. You might have to work with archives stored in dusty and cramped conditions. Some records may be heavy, and could be in poor condition.

UK employment status





Self employed


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  • Verbal communication
  • Evaluating
  • Observation
  • Researching
  • Attention to detail
  • Filtering
  • Understanding

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you'll need.


An honours degree (SCQF level 10) and postgraduate qualification (SCQF level 11) recognised by the Archives and Records Association.

Alternatively you can enter as Archive Assistant and work towards Diploma in Libraries, Archives and Information Services (a component in the level 3 Libraries, Archives, Records and Information Management Services Apprenticeship framework available in England).

To enter relevant postgraduate courses you require an honours degree at 2:1 or above in any subject, though particularly useful are:

  • History
  • Law
  • Classics (Latin is required for some specialisms)
  • Library studies or information science

A science degree may be required for scientific archive work.

Useful subjects

  • English
  • Maths
  • Social studies, in particular History, Latin or Classical studies
  • Science subjects
  • Religious, moral and philosophical studies

You will also need

Entry to postgraduate courses is very competitive therefore experience in this area is essential. This can be paid or voluntary.

The University of Glasgow offers a graduate archive trainee programme (GATP) which gives experience to graduates who are looking to apply for courses in archives and management.

There are normally two trainee posts for graduates who have at least a 2:1 honours degree ( SCQF level 10)

Helpful to have

Qualifications that show the ability to organise and share information such as the Participative Democracy Certificate (Youth Award). It may also help your application if you can demonstrate related experience such as in libraries or with the National Records of Scotland.

Once in work/qualified membership of the Archives and Records Association can support ongoing professional development.