Employment Opportunities

So you’ve got this great degree! Where do you go from here?

Employment in historic preservation generally falls into seven major categories:

Federal Government

Federal agencies have preservation-related jobs in a wide variety of agencies.  In addition to the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation and the National Park Service, you find preservationists throughout the federal government.  In particular, there is employment in the Department of the Interior (National Park Service and other divisions), the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, and the departments of Agriculture, Transportation, National Endowment for the Humanities, Smithsonian, National Archives, Housing and Urban Development, General Services Administration, and Defense.

 
State Government
Preservation-related jobs are found within a variety of agencies of state government. In addition to the State Historic Preservation Offices, jobs are available in departments of transportation, economic development, parks and historic site, community affairs, tourism, and agencies administering Main Street programs.
 
Local Government
Historic preservation commissions and planning offices provide the majority of local government jobs, but other positions may also be found in other departments such as economic development, convention and tourism, and Main Street programs.
 
Private non-profit preservation groups

There are a wide variety of non-profits that employ professionals trained in historic preservation. Local preservation organizations, historical societies, museums, land trusts, environmental organizations, or other organization help manage historic properties.

 
Private for-profit consultants and consulting firms

Companies that do preservation consulting, such as environmental reviews, National Register nominations, preservation planning, tax incentive assistance, and historic resource surveys frequently hire preservation graduates. There are also opportunities for individual consulting work.

 
Rehabilitation architects, contractors, artisans and craftspeople

Preservationists with design, buildings, or craft knowledge and skills are in demand by architectural, engineering, and construction firms specializing in rehabilitation or restoration.

 
Preservation Education

The Master of Historic Preservation is a terminal professional degree and individuals holding the degree have opportunities for teaching and administrative positions.

 

Alumni Perspectives

Alumni of the UGA MHP program have gone on to have successful careers with a variety of organizations. Some of our former students have gone on to jobs with the National Trust of Great Britain and the United States, the National Park Service, various state historic preservation offices, regional planning agencies, county and city governments, local and statewide non-profit organizations, local Main Street programs, museums, and many other careers in the preservation field.

Amy Bracewell

bracewell portrait (00000002)I was lucky enough to find my career niche through the MHP summer internship opportunity. While interning with the National Park Service, I found a place where I could utilize my interests in historical research and public education to promote our collective history. In preserving the nation’s cultural resources, I rely on my education in historic preservation on a daily basis as I restore historic buildings, process Section 106 compliance reviews, and work with interpretive staff on the presentation of historic assets. I’m thrilled to serve as the Superintendent at Saratoga National Historical Park where I work with a great team to preserve, protect, and interpret a pivotal battlefield of the Revolutionary War. The MHP program gave me the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in the National Park Service.

 

Jennifer Bailey

BaileySince graduating in 2013, I have coordinated the Alabama Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit Program and the Alabama Register of Landmarks & Heritage for the Alabama Historical Commission and State Historic Preservation Office.  I hold a unique position to help shape the future of the preservation in ethic in Alabama and the Southeast, which would not have been possible without my training at UGA.  The MHP program provided me with a strong academic base, a vast alumni network, and a brimming toolbox of strategies to use in the real-world application of preservation principles.  The program’s reputation for producing quality professionals is unsurpassed and the skills I obtained have proven invaluable.

 

Kristen Puckett
PuckettMost recently, I have been able to join the City of Columbia, SC as a Preservation Planner. I use the basis of my education at UGA daily to make interpretations of our city design guidelines, ordinances and other city planning issues to guide the preservation of the city. I cannot think of a single day of work that I do not rely on some skill that I gained at UGA.

 

 

Ethiel Garlington
Garlington-headshotIf I’m being honest, I had no idea what to expect out of UGA’s MHP program.  With an undergrad major in history with minors in art and English, I was hunting for a practical application of those interests.  The built environment and historic preservation has been a natural fit for my background and passions.  I love my job as Executive Director of Historic Macon Foundation, largely because it’s always interesting and an impossible blend of all of my disciplines.  Simply put, without my experience at UGA I would not be in the position I’m in and likely would have never known that a career dedicated to saving old buildings is possible.

Garlington’s work was recently featured in a National Trust for Historic Preservation newsletter and was the subject of an article by Macon’s 11th Hour Magazine.

 

Seth Wilcher

WilcherMy time in UGA’s MHP program provided a firm foundation in the fundamentals of National Register evaluations and Section 106 compliance.  I’ve been able to use that knowledge and build upon it while performing work for a major engineering firm.  From surveying the remnants of an 1800’s mill town on the Canadian border in Maine to assessing project impacts to a historic district exemplifying the National Park Service’s trademark rustic design in California to developing a historic building management plan at Fort Des Moines National Historic Landmark in Iowa, my work is always interesting and has taken me to 20 states. Meanwhile, I’ve been able to stay connected to my former UGA MHP classmates.  Whether it’s asking for help with a technical question or just meeting up for a drink when in town, I’m grateful to have the friends I made during my time in the program.

 

Kristie Person

Person PhotoMy career in cultural resource management began just after completing the MHP program at UGA.  The combination of program coursework and my internship and assistantship as a FindIT field surveyor for the Center for Community Design & Preservation were essential to my employment.  The preparation I received through the program helped me establish myself as an architectural historian in Georgia and led to continued work throughout the southeast and beyond.

 

Brent Runyon

Runyon-PPS_FM_03The MHP program at UGA gave me the knowledge and practical skills that allowed me to transition from being an electrical engineer to running two local historic preservation non-profits. I always tell people that what I learned in the two-year program prepared me for almost any job in the cultural heritage field. The most valuable part of the experience was the interaction with others, many of whom were also transitioning from other disciplines. It is a well-rounded program for well-rounded learners of any age or background.

 

There are many advantages to having a Master’s degree when heading into the field of Historic Preservation.  Daniel J. Vivian, a historian with the National Register of Historic places, explains some of these in “The MA and a Career in Historic Preservation”

 What are the advantages of earning your MHP?

Click here to find out

  • Today, the strongest applicants for professional positions in the historic preservation field are generally graduates of specialized Master’s programs in historic preservation or public history.
  • They provide training in the theory and practice of historic preservation and give students practical experience through internships, non-teaching assistantships, and employment. Together, these translate into a significant competitive advantage for job applicants.
  • Professional standards in historic preservation have risen significantly in recent decades.In the 1970’s and earl 1980’s,many recently minted history MA’s began working in the field without specialized training or much work experience. Many went on to have successful careers, and some currently occupy senior positions at major historical institutions. But today, getting a start in the field is more difficult. For entry-level professional positions, employers generally expect candidates to hold a MA in an appropriate discipline and have some practical experience. By contrast, someone who holds a master’s degree in historic preservation will have a working knowledge of the field and a substantial body of practical experience on their resume.
  • Employers consider specialized training and work experience valuable for several reasons. One is the interdisciplinary nature of the field. Practitioners must be able to maintain productive working relationships with architects, archaeologists, community planners, and other professionals. Historic preservation draws upon all of these  disciplines, and it is essential that they speak a common professional language and have respect for differing points of view.
  • The methods used for evaluating the significance of historic properties and developing historic contexts are unique to historic preservation and cannot be learned overnight. Experience with preservation-specific research and analysis is therefore a huge plus.
  • Preservationists are responsible for documenting, preserving, interpreting, and finding viable uses for historic properties. To be effective, historians must be versatile. First and foremost, they must be able to communicate with a variety of audience, both orally and in writing. They must be comfortable speaking with the public, elected officials, attorneys, property owners, and academic historians, and they can expect to give presentations at public meetings and professional conferences. They must be ale to do original research and write reports, often under deadline pressure. They must be knowledgeable about historic preservation laws and regulations and be able to answer questions from private citizens about how specific projects will affect them, their homes and businesses, and their communities. More generally, they need strong analytical skills and administrative aptitude, especially if they aspire to advance into supervisory positions.
  • In historic preservation, there is a strong pool of applicants for every job opening, and the ratios of qualified candidates to jobs shows no signs of decreasing anytime soon. Positions at state historic preservation offices, federal agencies, and major institutions such as the National Trust for Historic Preservation, which offer attractive salaries and benefits packages, are especially sought-after.

Job Resources

All job openings and internship opportunities received by the MHP Program are posted to the student listserv and the UGA Historic Preservation Linkedin Group. The following organizations list preservation-related job and internship opportunities.

UGA Career Center

The UGA Career Center provides the following services to graduates students AND alumni:

  • Resume & curriculum vitae (CV) critiques
  • Cover letter critiques
  • Interview preparation
  • Academic & industry job search
  • Ph.D. & Master’s virtual career fair

<<MHP Home