How to become a Cultural Heritage Officer

Cultural heritage officers are involved in the identification, assessment, conservation and interpretation of places and objects that have cultural heritage value.

Personal requirements of a Cultural Heritage Officer

  • Interest in objects, events, places and practices of the past and their significance for the present and the future
  • An inquiring mind and a capacity for detailed observation and accurate research
  • Good written communication skills
  • Able to work independently or as part of a team
  • Interest in other people and cultures
  • Able to prioritise and work under time constraints

Education & Training for a Cultural Heritage Officer

To become a cultural heritage officer you usually have to complete an arts or science degree at university with a major in cultural heritage studies, history, Indigenous studies, Australian studies, anthropology or archaeology. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education. Prerequisite subjects, or assumed knowledge, in one or more of English and mathematics are normally required. Most universities in Australia offer degrees with majors in these areas. Universities have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements or offer external study. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information.

Duties & Tasks of a Cultural Heritage Officer

Cultural heritage officers may perform the following tasks:

  • develop conservation policy and guidelines
  • check and administer legislation
  • compile and supply educational information on cultural heritage and conservation
  • seek and arrange funding to support heritage applications
  • identify, assess and compare the heritage value of objects, places, events and practices, and determine how they acquired their heritage value
  • provide advice on proposed projects or activities that may affect cultural heritage sites
  • provide advice about the interpretation, conservation and management of places and objects of cultural heritage significance
  • prepare thematic histories (studies based on a particular theme in history).

Working conditions for a Cultural Heritage Officer

Cultural heritage officers must also develop and regularly update their knowledge of Australian history, Indigenous history and culture, urban/environmental design and one or more areas of specialisation such as prehistory, archaeology, geology, ecology, architecture, visual arts or popular culture.

Employment Opportunities for a Cultural Heritage Officer

Cultural heritage officers can work as research assistants and officers, project officers, community officers, professional consultants or sub-consultants working as part of a team on a conservation project. They may work in a number of different areas, including the National Trust, heritage councils, museums, historical sites, art galleries, the minerals industry, local councils, private sector consulting organisations, the Australian and state or territory public services and the tourism industry. After completing formal education and gaining practical experience, you may be able to become self-employed as a consultant.

Avg. weekly wage:

$702

Future growth:

moderate growth

Employment by state:

ACT 1.8%

NSW 24%

NT 4%

QLD 19.6%

SA 4.6%

TAS 2%

VIC 38.5%

WA 5.4%

Hours worked:

35.4

Unemployment:

average

Gender split:

Proportion of male workers 36%

Proportion of female workers 64%

Education level:

Proportion of workers who have not completed Year 10: 0%

Proportion of workers who have not completed Year 12: 0%

Proportion of workers whose highest qualification is secondary school: 23.3%

Proportion of workers whose highest qualification is a Certificate 3 or 4: 0%

Proportion of workers whose highest qualification is a Diploma or Advanced Diploma: 17.8%

Proportion of workers whose highest qualification is a Bachelor degree: 42.5%

Proportion of workers whose highest qualification is a Postgraduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate: 16.4%

Age bracket:

Proprortion of workers aged below 35 years: 38%

Proportion of workers aged above 35 years: 58%

*The data above is sourced from the Department of Employment’s Job Outlook website.

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