Museum Technician: Career and Salary Facts

Explore the career requirements for museum technicians. Get the facts about job duties, education requirements, training and salary to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Museum Studies degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Museum Technician?

Museum technicians help prepare and maintain artifacts and collections, install museum exhibits, conduct research and keep records. They are responsible for acquisitions, loaning and insurance of items in their care. They sometimes have to address the public and scholars who wish to view or have questions about collections. These tasks may be performed under the supervision of a museum curator. Take a look at the following chart for an overview of how to enter this field.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Museum studies or special interest such as American history, anthropology, art, or science
Training Required Museum or exhibit design experience may be required for employment
Key Skills Curation, exhibit design & construction, research, care of artifacts
Job Growth (2014-2024) 5% (museum technicians and conservators)*
Median Salary (2015) $40,340 (museum technicians and conservators)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Would I Do as a Museum Technician?

As a museum technician, sometimes called a registrar, you may perform a variety of tasks related to preparing and maintaining collections and exhibits. You work closely with and assist collection managers and curators. You might pack and store artifacts, perform research, assist with museum record-keeping or help with registration activities.

You're also likely to be involved in the construction and installation of museum exhibits. This process could include hands-on tasks, such as designing exhibition spaces, constructing backgrounds and mounting artwork, or you may play a supervisory role by overseeing the crew that performs such tasks.

What Degree Do I Need?

Most museum technicians have an undergraduate degree in the subject of the museum's focus, such as American history, art history or photography. A general bachelor's degree in museum studies, anthropology, art, science or history may also be sufficient, depending on the type of museum you want to work in. Alternatively, you might pursue a museum studies minor or undergraduate certificate in museum studies or a related field. In addition to a degree, you may need previous experience working in a museum or designing exhibits.

What Would I Study in a Museum Studies Program?

Bachelor's degree programs in museum studies aren't very common, but online and on-campus options are available. Regardless of whether offered online or in person, these programs are usually interdisciplinary programs that include courses in liberal arts and sciences. Topics covered include curation and research, conservation issues, collections care, exhibition development, museum administration and photography. Some programs also include courses in accounting, finance and management and most include an internship.

What Might I Earn?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported in 2015 that museum technicians and conservators earned a median salary of $40,340 (www.bls.gov). The BLS also noted that during the same year, most museum technicians worked for museums and similar institutions, and the federal government.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

One related career is craft and fine art. Craft and fine artists employ a multitude of tools and methods to create pieces to be used for exhibition sale. Craft artists normally create functional items, like pottery and textiles. Fine artists focus on aesthetic with illustrations, drawings and paintings. Most obtain at least a bachelor's degree to hone their skills and improve their employment opportunities.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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