Archivist Job Description

Archivist Job Description, Skills, and Salary

Are you searching for an archivist job description? Get to know about the duties, responsibilities, qualifications, and skills requirements of an archivist. Feel free to use our archivist job description template to produce your own archivist job description. We also provide you with information about the salary you can earn as an archivist.


Who is an Archivist?

An Archivist is a professional who evaluates, gathers, organizes, preserves, and gives access to documents and archives with long-term worth. An archivist may keep records in several formats, such as letters, diaries, journals, official records, sound and image recordings, digital data, or other tangible means.

An archivist often collaborates with donors or the staff of its parent institution to acquire new collections, processes—also known as organizing and rehousing collections—write finding aids that explain collections and help scholars use them. The acquisition, administration, description, and preservation of photographic, video, or electronic documents is a specialty for certain archivists. Records management, digitalization, public outreach, writing, and teaching may also be part of their job description.

The primary duty of an archivist is to determine whether records are valuable, hence understanding the historical setting of the documents is crucial.

Archivists must define and organize records deemed valuable to preserve in a way that allows users to access the information and understand it. The history surrounding the historical period relevant to the archives is for archivists to understand. However, maintaining correct records necessitates a high level of technological expertise. Maintaining paper documents requires more than just filing them in the right place, as you need to preserve them properly to prevent deterioration.

The historian and records manager are two professions that collaborate often with archives. Although both occupations share similarities, they manage archives based on different objectives.


Archivist Job Description

What is an archivist job description? An archivist job description is simply a list of duties and responsibilities of an archivist in an organization. Below are the archivist job description examples you can use to develop your resume or write an archivist job description for your employee. Employers can also use it to sieve out job seekers when choosing candidates for interviews.

The duties and responsibilities of the Archivist include the following:

  • Facilitate the gathering, storage, organization, description, and access to digital materials.
  • Assemble historical research materials that are pertinent to corporate goals.
  • Authenticate records and papers, and learn about the history and importance of archive assets.
  • Generate policies and processes for handling current and semi-current archives, focusing on finding aids, corporate cataloging systems, and records scheduling and disposal.
  • Create applications for organizing, sharing, and storing archives of various kinds.
  • Make and manage systems for tracking organizational information.
  • Create material descriptions, meta-tags, and indexes, and, when practical, digitize the content.
  • Determine the best method for addressing challenges, evaluate the resources, and identify preservation and conservation concerns.
  • Help staff members, researchers, and interns who want to access the archives.
  • Provide archive teaching, produce exhibits, and partake in other outreach initiatives.
  • Examine artifacts like maps, movies, papers, and artworks for flaws and see if you can add to collections by examining their authenticity, physical state, and historical content.
  • Make copies and images of the content available to the public.
  • Persuade people to visit the archives by offering presentations, talks, workshops, displays, exhibitions, or tours.
  • Plan the management of electronic archives and the computerized management of archives.



  • A high school certificate, GED, or equivalent
  • Undergraduate degree in archaeology, history, or English
  • Master’s degree in public administration, archival or library science, archaeology, history, art history, or related field
  • Have a license or certificate


Essential Skills

Here are the skills that you need to excel as an Archivist:

  • Analytical and Problem-solving
  • Detail-orientation
  • Decision Making
  • Classification
  • Communication
  • Data Management
  • Digital Archiving
  • Interpersonal
  • Listening Technique
  • Organizing Skills
  • Preservation
  • Project Management
  • IT Knowledge
  • Research

Analytical and Problem-solving

You must know how to assess the origin, significance, and material condition so you can choose which artifacts to keep. A talent for methodically tackling problems is advantageous.

An archivist must have strong analytical abilities and the capacity to solve problems rationally and methodically. To ascertain an object’s origin, location, history, period, and relevance, archivists may need to perform lengthy investigations and background research on the object in question. Additionally, they must be able to resolve disputes amicably and use sound judgment in emergencies.

Thinking analytically also aids in resolving preservation and conservation disputes by consulting record creators or authorities on a subject. This skill enables them to do all these.


Archivists use their powers of observation to evaluate old materials and guide scholars to sources. The archivist must keep an eye on the finer details of the material and make sure that every detail relating to the item is taken care of, whether they are evaluating an item for archiving or maintaining stored items. Since archivists don’t work with large quantities of material, they must pay special attention to each piece.

Decision Making

The art of decision-making involves recognizing an option, acquiring data, and weighing potential answers before making a choice.

Archivists can’t afford to make bad judgments, therefore they should establish a methodical approach to decision-making that will enable them to make every option with expertise, assurance, and wisdom, leading to a competent conclusion in the workplace.


Archivists arrange and file materials using categorization techniques. A system that makes sense to other people who deal with the archive must be developed by them if they are to construct their classification systems for archives. The ability to accurately categorize material is relevant for archivists since they frequently have to group documents according to subject or theme. This ability is crucial since it enables archivists to find requested files fast.


The users and visitors that archivists interact with and work with come from various backgrounds, so archivists must be able to relate to, encourage, and relate to all of them. They require outstanding communication skills to deal with the general population and correctly communicate their findings and knowledge to others.

Data Management

Archivists use data management skills to preserve documents and guarantee the reliability of their holdings. They also use them for finding aids, which are resources that assist users in locating content in archives. To correctly retain a record, archivists frequently need to be able to determine what sort of data it includes.

Digital Archiving

Physical documents are converted to digital data through the process of digital archiving. You may save them on a computer or other electronic device, freeing up storage space and facilitating better information access for customers. Additionally, it guarantees that even if the original papers are damaged, the archives will be safe. You might need training in applications like Adobe Acrobat or Microsoft Word for efficient digital archiving.


Some businesses hire archivists with various specializations to handle a shared database. Therefore, an archivist’s capacity to thrive in collaborative settings is essential.

An archivist should be able to speak verbally well, listen carefully, and read body language. These abilities are essential for fostering interactions with the general public, clients, coworkers, and superiors. Good interpersonal skills are necessary since archivists must coordinate methods for maintaining documents. Your contact with the general population will be made easier by your capacity to listen, vocally communicate, read body language, and educate others. You could be required to collaborate with others in a team.

Listening Techniques

Listening skills are a practical capacity to correctly hear and analyze communications to guarantee that flow and accuracy are maintained throughout.

Outstanding listening skills are essential for an archivist since they promote improved communication between management and staff at work, customer happiness, higher productivity with fewer errors, and more inventive information exchange.

Organizing Skill

Creating mechanisms for organizing resources and making them accessible to the public requires organizational abilities. Creating storage systems for artifacts, sorting and identifying them, and making them accessible to the public depends heavily on organizational skills. Such skills are necessary for a logical storage system development for public use and speedy retrieval of documents and records by archivists.


Archivists preserve records to guarantee their reliability and accessibility for future generations. They safeguard the papers they archive using preservation procedures including temperature control, humidity regulation, and fire safety. When archivists build digital archives, preservation skills are also required since they need to always maintain these files to prevent data loss or corruption.

Project Management

Project management is a skill that archivists employ to organize and carry out their work. They could be in charge of making a timetable, delegating duties, and monitoring how their job is going. Archivists also employ project management techniques when developing new archives or records management systems. They must comprehend how long it will take them to finish these undertakings and what materials they will need to succeed.

IT Knowledge

An archivist must be interested in integrating digital technologies into archive practice and have strong IT knowledge. To preserve objects for future generations, digital archiving is now seen as being of utmost importance, and an archivist should be interested in and skilled at digitizing archives. Accessing databases and other electronic document management technologies falls under this category.


Although they may occasionally need to conduct research for knowledge and comprehension of the archives, archivists are not often researchers. Researching also aids in providing consumers with advice. An archivist will benefit from having a historical bent in his daily work.


How to Become an Archivist

The steps you may take to become an archivist are as follows:

Step One: Get a Bachelor’s Degree

Before beginning a career as an archivist, obtain a bachelor’s degree in archaeology, history, archival science, library science, archives preservation, or a related field. To find your niche, keep in mind to seek a specialization in at least one field. You might also pursue other pertinent aspects that offer training in history or the protection of cultural heritage.

Step Two: Obtain a Master’s Degree

Most organizations need archivists to get an advanced degree in archiving, history, or preservation to demonstrate mastery of the material pertinent to their work. Even though you can specialize in any field, obtaining a master’s degree in one of the archival studies fields might be a valuable addition to a prior history degree. To increase your income potential, think about acquiring a master’s degree.

Step Three: Engage in Volunteer Work or Internship

Consider completing a volunteer program or an internship if you want to work as an archivist since many employers prefer candidates with prior experience in the industry or a museum environment. Such programs may be made available through archiving and museum professional associations and they typically result in networking opportunities or job offers. Whether you know an archivist or are a part of a networking group, consider contacting someone already employed in the field and asking to work with them to gain essential knowledge.

Step Four: Become Licensed

Although credentials are sometimes optional, they can help you improve your skills as an archivist and make your résumé more marketable. The most well-known certification body is the Academy of Certified Archivists. You must pass a test that evaluates your capacity to choose, locate, arrange, and retain documents to receive a certificate.

Step Five: Advance Learning

Establishing and maintaining a career as an archivist depends on being current with the most recent developments and practices in archives. To help you progress in your career, archival institutions and museums provide classes, workshops, and on-the-job training. Another way to advance your knowledge is to engage in independent research. Additionally, you may study books on the subject, participate in online forums and organizations for archivists, and keep up with recent methods and advice for archiving. Before using new preservation and organization techniques in your job, you may test them out on your documents at home.

Step Six: Build Network

Because archiving is a specialized field, career opportunities are limited to a few companies. Joining organizations, searching online for meet-up groups and clubs, or participating in other networking events are good ways to meet individuals who may either give you a job or let you know about it and suggest one. As you expand your network and make contacts that might help you get your next employment opportunity, you may also meet other archivists to keep informed about the most recent archiving and preservation techniques. This will also help you stay educated about your profession.


Where to Work as an Archivist

Archivists can work in many places like their country’s National Records, Archives, or Library.

Other places you as an archivist may work are museums, art galleries, universities, government agencies, hospitals, religious settings, media, etc.

It is feasible to work as a self-employed archivist with expertise.

Archivists may work in a pleasant environment with excellent amenities in workplaces, but in others, they may share less than ideal office space. Some aspects of an archivist’s employment may need them to labor in confined, wet, or unclean conditions. Additionally, an archivist must spend significant time working at a computer. Large companies may require their archivists to make long trips to scout and evaluate potential archives.


Archivist Salary Scale

The average income for archivists in the United States is $51,975, while the range is between $50,775 and $62,737.

In the United Kingdom, the average archivist income is £30,065 per year or £15.42 per hour. More experienced professionals earn up to £37,940 yearly, while entry-level occupations start at £26,267.

In Canada, the typical archivist earns CA$55,312 a year, or CA$28.37 an hour. More experienced professionals earn up to CA$74,667 yearly, while entry-level roles start at CA$39,000.

In Australia, the average archivist’s annual salary is roughly AU$66,900. The salary range is between AU$32,800 to AU$104,000.

In Germany, the average salary for an archivist is €48,152 per year or €23 per hour. An archivist can expect to make between €34,333 and €58,168 per year.

In Ireland, the average salary for an archivist is close to €28,000. The pay scale is between €14,600 and €42,800.

In Nigeria, the average salary for an archivist is about ₦241,000 per month. A salary may be between ₦80,000 and ₦275,000.

Salary ranges can vary significantly based on various crucial aspects, including education, skills, and years of experience in a given field.

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