GCSE history is to be offered together with related work skills like tourism and museum management.
Some have complained that traditional history is 'too dry'
A pilot course, to be run by the OCR exam board, will be tested in 50 schools from autumn 2006.
Skills involved may include "designing and writing a series of web pages for a local historic site or critically evaluating a museum display".
The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA), England's exams watchdog, has approved the more vocational history GCSE.
'Knowledge and experience'
Chief executive Ken Boston said: "There is now a wide range of employment related to our national heritage.
"The combination of academic knowledge and practical experience is what many employers in this expanding sector want in their recruits."
The new GCSE will be taught from 2006, with the first final exams taking place in 2008.
Archive research, archaeology and media skills will be developed.
Students will also be asked "to investigate historical events, individuals or developments which have generated controversy in recent times".
The QCA asked exam boards to come up with a "lively and innovative" pilot course earlier this year.
The history syllabus has been widely debated during the last few years.
In 2002, the historian Simon Schama criticised it for too narrow a focus on "Hitler and the Henrys with nothing in between".
He added: "Students cannot make the connections in between with these gobbets of knowledge."
Last year, the Historical Association and the Geographical Association discussed a possible merged GCSE course.
But they decided not to proceed with the idea and did not submit a formal proposal to the QCA.