How To Become an Archaeologist: Salary and Qualifications (2022)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 28 June 2022 | Published 30 November 2021

Updated 28 June 2022

Published 30 November 2021

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Archaeologists inform what we know about the past by studying artefacts and objects they find or dig up in the field. Becoming an archaeologist takes years of training but is a gratifying role for graduates who are passionate about history. As an archaeologist, you may discover new historical finds and piece this information together to develop theories on the way people lived in the past. In this article, we look at what an archaeologist is, what it's like to work in this field and how to become an archaeologist.

How to become an archaeologist

When researching archaeology careers, it can be beneficial to know how to become an achaeologist. Becoming an archaeologist requires qualifications and experience, though there are multiple entry routes into this career path. It's possible to become an archaeologist through an apprenticeship, but most archaeologists today hold a relevant degree.

(Video) Careers For Archaeology Majors! | Job Ideas For Archaeology Students! | Job Hunt With Me UCLA Anthro

1. Go to university

The most common route into this field is to study an undergraduate degree in archaeology at a university. You could also choose to go on to study a Master's course in a related field. Aim to achieve a degree grade of 2.1 or above to give you the best chance of success in your career. While an archaeology degree is preferable, other subjects can give you the experience you need to embark upon a career in archaeology. Relevant topics to consider studying at university include:

  • conservation

  • human evolution

  • archaeological science

  • forensic investigation

  • environmental archaeology

Related: A Beginner's Guide To Earning Your Undergraduate Degree

2. Get experience in the field

Archaeology roles are very competitive. Before applying to your first professional archaeology job, it's important to get practical experience working as an archaeologist. You can do this by applying for internships or volunteering to participate in field activities with local archaeological societies. The more practical archaeology experience you can acquire, the easier it is to secure your first archaeology job.

3. Gain extra qualifications

You can also improve your chances of getting archaeology jobs by developing technical skills or studying further in your free time. You could look for a Master's, or even a PhD, at university. You can take courses in Computer-Aided Design (CAD) and Geographical Information Systems (GIS) to boost your archaeology CV. You can do this while working in an internship or applying for jobs to strengthen your CV for future applications.

(Video) How to Become an Archaeologist | step-by-step guide

4. Write a great CV

To secure your first role in archaeology, your CV has to effectively showcase all of your qualifications, skills and experience related to your chosen career. Include a concise personal summary at the top of your CV and then list all of your education and work experience roles in chronological order. Highlight the skills you developed in each course or role and use job adverts as a reference to ensure your CV matches the criteria for the job.

Related: How To Write a CV Employers Will Notice

5. Apply for roles

Once you've got the qualifications, experience and skills needed to become an archaeologist, you can start applying for roles. Search for entry-level archaeology positions via jobs websites. These roles might include excavation technicians and research assistants. From here, you can gain further experience to advance in your career as an archaeologist.

What do archaeologists do?

An archaeologist carries out excavations and studies the remains found in those excavations to piece together information about the past. An archaeologist's role is to organise excavations in sites that may be home to valuable artefacts, uncover and preserve these artefacts and use these objects to find patterns and develop theories about ancient civilisations. Archaeologists collaborate with historians and museums to build on our existing knowledge of the past and preserve objects for public viewing and future research. The responsibilities of an archaeologist might include:

  • performing surveys on foot and via satellite to locate sites of interest

  • compiling reports on areas of significance

  • taking part in excavations and digs

  • recording site findings, writing notes, taking photographs

  • cleaning and preserving artefacts in a laboratory

    (Video) Study Archaeology | How to Apply | How to Become an Archaeologist | Salary | How to Apply Job

  • using computers to analyse and recreate damaged or worn artefacts

  • working to protect important sites of historical interest

  • classifying and caring for artefacts in museums and displays

Archaeology is a field that seeks to expand our understanding of humanity constantly. People often dedicate their whole lives to this role as it requires a lot of passion for the undertaking.

What are the different fields in archaeology?

Before you embark on a career in archaeology, you may want to consider specialising in a particular field. Possible fields of archaeology include:

  • Marine archaeologists specialise in studying underwater sites, including shipwrecks and sunken cities. This requires expert knowledge of both archaeology and how to explore artefacts underwater safely.

  • Ethnoarchaeologists study artefacts and remains that help us understand human cultures throughout history. Ethnoarchaeologists use our knowledge of modern-day cultures to construct theories about past civilisations.

  • Environmental archaeologists focus on the relationship between human civilisation and the environment by researching the flora and wildlife that existed at certain stages of human history.

  • Industrial archaeologists specialise in finding, studying and protecting raw materials from various stages of human history, connecting them to industries and using them to learn more about the production of goods and objects in these periods.

    (Video) ആർക്കിയോളജിസ്റ്റാവാനാഗ്രഹിക്കുന്നവർക്ക്! Career in Archaeology (MALAYALAM)! Career Guidance! AKF!

There are a lot of exciting specialisations in the world of archaeology. Picking one may help expand your expertise and narrow down the job search to help you find a role in which you thrive.

What essentials skills does an archaeologist need?

Archaeology is a competitive field and one that requires several hard and soft skills to succeed. It's essential to spend time developing these skills, both during your study and while you're working. These skills help you secure your first job as an archaeologist and improve your performance at work once you start this career path.

Physical stamina and dexterity

To carry out fieldwork as an archaeologist, it's beneficial to have decent physical fitness and flexibility. Archaeologists work long hours at excavation sites, and it's vital that you have the coordination required to safely and carefully uncover artefacts without damaging them. Stamina, physical fitness and precision are all necessary for practical archaeology.

Historical knowledge

You need excellent knowledge of history and a passion for history to succeed as an archaeologist. Besides studying historical artefacts, you may need to use your knowledge of history to conclude what these objects can tell us about the past. If you choose to study for a degree in archaeology, your degree course is likely to include modules on history and civilisation.

Computer skills

As an archaeologist, you might work with computers daily, even when conducting fieldwork. Archaeologists use computers to scan, model, analyse historical artefacts, categorise and record finds. You need excellent computer skills and competence with CAD programs for your role in archaeology.

Related: Computer Skills: Definitions and Examples

Attention to detail

As an archaeologist, it's important to have excellent attention to detail. During digs, you may need to spot even the smallest finds. On uncovered artefacts, its important to pay attention to small clues and details that explain how past civilisations may have used these objects. Close attention to detail and strong concentration skills are important for all archaeologists.

Communication skills

Good written and verbal communication skills are necessary for this role. You may have to write reports on your findings and verbally report your results to stakeholders and other interested parties. You may also have to communicate clearly with your team, mainly while working in the field at excavation sites. If you want to, you can work on your communication skills by taking a course or studying online.

Related: 7 Ways to Communicate Effectively at Work

(Video) $65,000 Archaeologist Salary & Job Description

What is it like to work as an archaeologist?

As an archaeologist, you could work from a museum, an office or an excavation site. You may have to travel between locations, so holding a current driver's licence is helpful. Your role could include core hours of 9 am to 5 pm, but, particularly when carrying out fieldwork, you may have to work evenings, weekends or longer hours and spend nights away from home. The average salary of an archaeologist is £25,074 per year. Your salary is likely to increase with experience. Once you gain adequate professional experience as an archaeologist, you can apply for senior archaeological director or supervisor positions.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at the time of writing. Salaries‌ ‌may‌ ‌‌vary‌‌ ‌depending‌ ‌on‌ ‌the‌ ‌hiring‌ ‌organisation‌ ‌and‌ ‌a‌ ‌candidate's‌ ‌experience,‌ ‌academic‌ background‌ ‌and‌ ‌location.‌

FAQs

Is archeology a good career? ›

Archaeology can be a great career, but it doesn't pay very well, and there are distinct hardships to the life. Many aspects of the job are fascinating, though—in part because of the exciting discoveries that can be made.

How do I start an archaeology career? ›

  1. Get a bachelor's degree. The first step for aspiring archaeologists is to complete a bachelor's program in anthropology or a related field such as history or geography. ...
  2. Participate in an internship. ...
  3. Earn a master's degree. ...
  4. Consider a doctorate. ...
  5. Seek employment.

Does archaeology pay well? ›

American archaeologists are inevitably rather better paid: no overall average is quoted; perhaps the most tangible figure is that 61% of male archaeologists earn over $40,000(= £25,000).

Which course is best for archaeology? ›

Subjects such as History, Anthropology, and Sociology, etc. build a solid foundation for a career in archaeology. A bachelor's degree in Archaeology, Anthropology, Geology or History, and a master's degree in Archaeology and Historical Studies is required to qualify and work as an Archaeologist.

Is archaeology a hard degree? ›

Majoring in archaeology is not too hard but not too easy, either. It requires a lot of reading and memorization, which can be boring or challenging for students who are not fully interested in archaeology. In 2020, a total of only 324 degrees in archaeology were conferred by US colleges and universities.

Where can I study archaeology? ›

Archaeology courses span across both the humanities and social sciences, examining human history over millions of years.
...
Current top for Arts & humanities.
UniversityRank*
Stanford University1st
Massachusetts Institute of Technology2nd
University of Cambridge3rd
University of Oxford4th
6 more rows

Do archaeologists travel a lot? ›

Anthropologists and archeologists often do fieldwork, either in the United States or in foreign countries. Fieldwork may involve learning foreign languages, living in remote areas, and examining and excavating archeological sites. Fieldwork usually requires travel for extended periods—about 4 to 8 weeks per year.

Is it hard to find a job as an archaeologist? ›

Archaeology jobs in museums and universities are highly competitive. The majority of jobs opening up this decade will likely be in the cultural heritage management sector.

How many years does it take to be an archaeologist? ›

The minimum amount of education

education
Teacher education or teacher training refers to the policies, procedures, and provision designed to equip (prospective) teachers with the knowledge, attitudes, behaviors, approaches, methodologies and skills they require to perform their tasks effectively in the classroom, school, and wider community.
https://en.wikipedia.org › wiki › Teacher_education
needed to work in the field of archaeology is a 4-year college degree (BA or BS). Usually archaeologists major in anthropology or archaeology. They also receive training in archaeological field and laboratory techniques.

Can I do archaeology after 12th? ›

The Students Who have completed 12th in any stream with at least 55% marks in aggregate can be admitted in UG Courses offered in Archaeology. Some colleges and institutes conduct Entrance exams for the same, which is often followed by Personal Interviews and Meeting.

How many hours do archaeologists work? ›

An archaeologist typically works between 35 - 40 hours a week. A lot of their work involves fieldwork and may be required to travel frequently. They also work on the weekends in case they have tight deadlines.

What is the highest paying job? ›

Here are the highest paying jobs of 2022:
  • Anesthesiologist: $208,000.
  • Surgeon: $208,000.
  • Obstetrician and Gynecologist: $208,000.
  • Orthodontist: $208,000.
  • Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon: $208,000.
  • Physician: $208,000.
  • Psychiatrist: $208,000.

Who pays an archaeologist? ›

Even employers in the private sector are often highly dependent on federal grants to conduct archaeological research. The federal government offers the best archaeologist pay potential. According to the BLS, the average annual wage for all archaeologists employed by the federal government is $79,990.

What jobs are in archeology? ›

10 types of jobs in archaeology
  • Environmental archaeologist.
  • Archeological researcher.
  • Director of archaeology.
  • Historical archaeologist.
  • Archaeology project manager.
  • Museum director.
  • Forensic analyst.
  • Cultural resource lawyer.
14 Apr 2022

What is the entrance exam for archeology? ›

Popular Exams for Archaeology Colleges in India

Calcutta University Entrance Exam. AUCET – Andhra University Common Entrance Test. BHU PET– Banaras Hindu University Post Graduate Entrance Test. IPU CET- Indraprastha University Common Entrance Test.

How many types of archaeologists are there? ›

There are two major disciplines of archaeology: prehistoric archaeology and historic archaeology. Within these groups are subdisciplines, based on the time period studied, the civilization studied, or the types of artifacts and features studied.

Does archaeology require science? ›

Entry requirements

Some universities may ask that applicants, particularly for BSc programs, have an A-level or equivalent in a science subject, but most universities will accept students from any study background.

How do I join the archaeology department? ›

For master courses, students must have a bachelor's degree in the related field like Archeology, Indian History Culture, anthropology, etc. For postgraduate diploma, students should have a master's degree in Ancient/Medieval Indian History or Archaeology. Undergraduate Courses: Diploma in Indian Archaeology.

Which college has the best archaeology program? ›

Here are the best colleges with a Archeology Major
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
  • Harvard University.
  • Stanford University.
  • Yale University.
  • University of Chicago.
  • Johns Hopkins University.
  • University of Pennsylvania.
  • California Institute of Technology.

What is it like to study archaeology? ›

The study of archaeology will combine lots of learning styles and environments into one course, as much of archaeology as a profession calls for adapting in real-time. One day you might be reading ancient dusty books in a library, the next you might be crawling through caves to uncover ruins.

How do I become an archaeologist without a degree? ›

Can you get the field school experience without college? Yes. Find a local public archaeology project and start volunteering ASAP. Begin in high school if you can.

What are the disadvantages of archaeology? ›

Archaeology necessitates the use of specialists. In our country, archaeologists are in short supply. It has the unique capacity to reach back to the earliest periods of human history and pull the previously unknown out of the mists of time. It can be difficult to determine where one can discover fossils at times.

Where do archaeologists live? ›

We found that Alaska is the best state in the nation for archaeologists, and people in Newport earn the most in the field.
...
1. Alaska.
Total Archaeologist Jobs:6
Highest 10 Percent Earn:$84,000
3 more rows
6 Apr 2021

Which country is best for archeology? ›

The US is the best-represented country in the archaeology ranking, with 21 entries.

What is the future of archaeology? ›

In the near future, rebuilding in urban areas will likely mean that older architectural remains will be destroyed by successive generations. Archaeologists will have to look to abandoned areas for clues to material culture and everyday life.

What is the difference between archaeology and archeology? ›

archeology. Archaeology is the standard spelling throughout the English-speaking world, even in American English, where the a is dropped from many words traditionally containing ae (or æ, as it used to be rendered). Archeology is a somewhat common variant.

Do you need a PhD to be an archaeologist? ›

An archeologist requires a master's degree or PhD in archeology. They would normally do field work for 12-30 months while obtaining a PhD and many master's degrees may also require field work hours as well. Experience in some form of archaeological field work is usually expected, by employers.

Can you get a PhD in archaeology? ›

The University of Washington PhD Program in Archaeology is designed to train students in archaeological method, theory and practice, in critical thinking, in the scientific analysis of the physical content of archaeological sites, and ethical engagement at the doctoral level.

What is the main subject for archaeology? ›

Archaeology is an interdisciplinary activity that involves the investigation of material developed by previous human societies. The primary objective of the course is to study past human cultures through survey, identification and excavation of historical sites.

What is scope of archaeology? ›

The scope of Archaeology is very broad. It has various field of study like archives, museology, numismatics, epigraphy, art, architecture, iconography.

Can a arts student study archeology? ›

Yes. As you done 12th with Humanities then there will be no problem of Starting with Archaeology. Archaeology is a multidisciplinary subject that integrates the knowledge of history and anthropology with subjects like geology, chemistry and art. The areas of specialization include numismatics and epigraphy.

What are the benefits of being an archaeologist? ›

This rewarding and often challenging career has plenty of advantages such as getting the chance to travel a lot and having diverse career opportunities.
  • Archaeologists Have an Exciting Job. ...
  • Archaeologists Travel a Lot. ...
  • There Is a Lot of Employment Growth. ...
  • Archaeologist Salary.

What does an archeologist do everyday? ›

Archaeologists wash, sort, catalog, and store recovered artifacts after bringing them back from the field. They analyze individual artifacts, but also may sort them into groups to see patterns.

Is an archaeologist a scientist? ›

An archaeologist is a scientist who studies human history by digging up human remains and artifacts. Lucy, the oldest human known to man — nearly 3.2 million years old — was dug up in Ethiopia by archaeologist.

What is the lowest paying job? ›

25 of the Lowest Paying Jobs
  • Food-Preparation Workers. ...
  • Gambling Dealers. ...
  • Gambling Change Persons and Booth Cashiers. ...
  • Parking Lot Attendants. ...
  • Non-Farm Animal Caretakers. ...
  • Maids and Housekeepers. ...
  • Entertainment Attendants and Related Workers. ...
  • Shoe Machine Operators and Tenders.
13 Sept 2022

What jobs make 300000 a year? ›

What jobs make $300,000 per year?
  • Radiologist.
  • Chief executive officer (CEO)
  • Chief financial officer (CFO)
  • Principal software architect.
  • Obstetrics and gynecology physician.
  • Emergency medicine physician.
  • Psychiatrist.
  • Physician.

What is a good salary? ›

What is this? In the US, an annual salary between $70,000 – $78,000 before tax ($5,800 – $6,500 monthly) is considered to be a good wage in any state.

What is the highest salary of an archaeologist? ›

The average salary for an archaeological field director is 50,000 INR per month. The entry-level position offers a salary of 45,000 INR per month. After gaining some experience, an associate archaeologist can earn up to 80,000 INR per month.

Who is the most famous archaeologist in the world? ›

  • Howard Carter.
  • Robert John Braidwood. ...
  • Arthur Evans. ...
  • Dorothy Garrod. ...
  • Kathleen Kenyon. ...
  • Mortimer Wheeler. ...
  • Thomas Jefferson. ...
  • Flavio Biondo. While the history of Ancient Rome is well-studied and documented by now, that wasn't the case back in the 15th century. ...
17 Dec 2020

Where do archaeologists dig? ›

Artifacts can be almost anywhere—on the ocean floor, inside caves, buried underground. How do archaeologists know where to look? Sometimes they get lucky. A worker may be digging a new basement, and a 2,000-year-old bowl appears!

What subjects are needed to become an archaeologist in UK? ›

You'll need a degree in archaeology or a related subject such as forensic archaeology or archaeological science. Other useful subjects include ancient history, anthropology, conservation or heritage management to work as an archaeologist.

How much do archaeologist get paid UK? ›

How much does a Archaeologist make in United Kingdom? The average archaeologist salary in the United Kingdom is £29,500 per year or £15.13 per hour. Entry level positions start at £25,000 per year while most experienced workers make up to £36,331 per year.

Where can I study archaeology? ›

Archaeology courses span across both the humanities and social sciences, examining human history over millions of years.
...
Current top for Arts & humanities.
UniversityRank*
Stanford University1st
Massachusetts Institute of Technology2nd
University of Cambridge3rd
University of Oxford4th
6 more rows

Do archaeologists travel a lot? ›

Anthropologists and archeologists often do fieldwork, either in the United States or in foreign countries. Fieldwork may involve learning foreign languages, living in remote areas, and examining and excavating archeological sites. Fieldwork usually requires travel for extended periods—about 4 to 8 weeks per year.

How many years does it take to study archeology? ›

Archaeology degrees typically take three or four years to complete, and may be offered as either Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Science (BSc) degrees.

How long does it take to study archeology? ›

The minimum amount of education

education
Teacher education or teacher training refers to the policies, procedures, and provision designed to equip (prospective) teachers with the knowledge, attitudes, behaviors, approaches, methodologies and skills they require to perform their tasks effectively in the classroom, school, and wider community.
https://en.wikipedia.org › wiki › Teacher_education
needed to work in the field of archaeology is a 4-year college degree (BA or BS). Usually archaeologists major in anthropology or archaeology. They also receive training in archaeological field and laboratory techniques.

Do you need history to study archaeology? ›

While you can probably get onto an archaeology degree without having studied history before, you'll need to show a passion and interest in the subject. This isn't only to convince the university of your suitability, but with archaeology so linked to history it's for your benefit and enjoyment too.

What is the average age of an archeologist? ›

The average age of an employed archaeologist is 40 years old. The most common ethnicity of archaeologists is White (70.9%), followed by Hispanic or Latino (11.8%), Asian (7.2%) and Black or African American (7.1).

What jobs are in archeology? ›

10 types of jobs in archaeology
  • Environmental archaeologist.
  • Archeological researcher.
  • Director of archaeology.
  • Historical archaeologist.
  • Archaeology project manager.
  • Museum director.
  • Forensic analyst.
  • Cultural resource lawyer.
14 Apr 2022

Who pays an archaeologist? ›

Even employers in the private sector are often highly dependent on federal grants to conduct archaeological research. The federal government offers the best archaeologist pay potential. According to the BLS, the average annual wage for all archaeologists employed by the federal government is $79,990.

Can I do archaeology after 12th? ›

The Students Who have completed 12th in any stream with at least 55% marks in aggregate can be admitted in UG Courses offered in Archaeology. Some colleges and institutes conduct Entrance exams for the same, which is often followed by Personal Interviews and Meeting.

Is archaeology a science? ›

But although archaeology uses extensively the methods, techniques, and results of the physical and biological sciences, it is not a natural science; some consider it a discipline that is half science and half humanity.

Which college has the best archaeology program? ›

Here are the best colleges with a Archeology Major
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
  • Harvard University.
  • Stanford University.
  • Yale University.
  • University of Chicago.
  • Johns Hopkins University.
  • University of Pennsylvania.
  • California Institute of Technology.

Is it hard to find a job as an archaeologist? ›

Archaeology jobs in museums and universities are highly competitive. The majority of jobs opening up this decade will likely be in the cultural heritage management sector.

What are the disadvantages of archaeology? ›

Archaeology necessitates the use of specialists. In our country, archaeologists are in short supply. It has the unique capacity to reach back to the earliest periods of human history and pull the previously unknown out of the mists of time. It can be difficult to determine where one can discover fossils at times.

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