Conservators: Salary, career path, job outlook, education and more

Conservators handle, preserve, treat, and keep records of works of art, artifacts, and specimens. They may perform substantial historical, scientific, and archeological research. They document their findings and treat items in order to minimize deterioration or restore them to their original state. Conservators usually specialize in a particular material or group of objects, such as documents and books, paintings, decorative arts, textiles, metals, or architectural material.

Some conservators use x rays, chemical testing, microscopes, special lights, and other laboratory equipment and techniques to examine objects, determine their condition, and decide on the best way to preserve them. They also may participate in outreach programs, research topics in their specialty, and write articles for scholarly journals.

Education Required
Archivists. Archivists typically need a masters degree in history, library science, archival science, political science, or public administration. Although many colleges and universities have history, library science, or other similar programs, only a few institutions offer masters degrees in archival studies. Students may gain valuable archiving experience through volunteer or internship opportunities.
Job Outlook
The projected percent change in employment from 2016 to 2026: 13% (Faster than average)
(The average growth rate for all occupations is 7 percent.)
Continuing education is available through meetings, conferences, and workshops sponsored by archival, historical, and museum associations. Some large organizations, such as the U.S.National Archives and Records Administrationin Washington, DC, offer in-house training.
Although most employers do not require certification, some archivists may choose to earn voluntary certification because it allows them to demonstrate expertise in a particular area.
Median pay: How much do Archivists, Curators, and Museum Workers make?
$47,230 Annual Salary
$22.71 per hour

Careers for Archivists, Curators, and Museum Workers

  • Archivists
  • Art conservators
  • Art preparators
  • Collection specialists
  • Collections and archives directors
  • Collections curators
  • Conservation technicians
  • Curators
  • Digital archivists
  • Directors, museum
  • Educational institution curators
  • Ethnographic materials conservators
  • Exhibitions and collections managers
  • Film archivists
  • Herbarium curators
  • Historical records administrators
  • Image archivists
  • Museum archivists
  • Museum curators
  • Museum directors
  • Museum exhibit technicians
  • Museum technicians
  • Objects conservators
  • Paintings conservators
  • Paper conservators
  • Photography and prints curators
  • Processing archivists
  • Reference archivists
  • Registrars
  • State archivists
  • Technicians and technologists, museums
  • Textile conservators

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