What Schooling Is Required To Become An Archaeologist

By David Krug David Krug is the CEO & President of Bankovia. He's a lifelong expat who has lived in the Philippines, Mexico, Thailand, and Colombia. When he's not reading about cryptocurrencies, he's researching the latest personal finance software. 3 minute read

Who doesn’t want to be Indiana Jones after seeing Raiders of the Lost Ark? Our fantasies are filled with fast-paced, carefree adventures that take us from exotic locale to exotic locale while signing our names on a dotted line. As a tomb robber and international criminal, you could have a great future if you possess these traits. Most likely, you’ll end up in a squalid prison facility someday. As an archeologist, however, this is not the case.

To put it another way, as cool as Indiana Jones may be, he has to be the world’s worst archeologist. Real archaeologists don’t snatch the most beautiful artifacts from ancient sites and run away with them – they meticulously uncover the past of a place and people to build a narrative of humanity’s history. Since they have to work in places that are either religiously sacred or politically unstable, or both, they are required to be responsible and honest. A career as an archeologist may be right up your alley if that describes you. Non-tomb robbers are not welcome to apply.


Though archaeology is an adventure hunt, it is also true that those with the right personality traits can find treasures from a bygone era and share them with the world. You must have at least a bachelor’s degree (BA or BS) in Anthropology or Archaeology in order to work as a field archaeologist.

Anthropology is divided into four sub-fields, including archeology.

  • Anthropology of the Cultures
  • Anthropology of the Living World
  • Linguistics
  • Archeology

Archeology is a popular minor at many universities, so locating a school should not be too difficult. Make sure that at least one archaeologist is on the faculty of the Anthropology department when choosing a school.

You’ll have to brush up on your English, writing, history, and public speaking abilities. Researchers and mathematicians spend a lot of time in the field of archaeology. Take as many statistics classes as you can, because you’ll need to use math and statistics in data analysis. A working knowledge of computers is a must, not only for entering data but also for transforming it into research that can be understood.

It is possible to find out a great deal about graduate programs and faculty members in the AAA Guide (published by the American Anthropological Association). Even if you don’t plan to pursue a Master’s or Ph.D. in archaeology, it’s important to know about this organization.

Expectations for a given position

Managing cultural resources is a popular career choice for many archaeologists these days (CRM). They are federally mandated historic preservation businesses. They are primarily in charge of guarding archaeological digs. There are a variety of roles that archaeologists can play, including project managers, lab assistants, field researchers, and public educators. The federal, state, and local governments employ some people. Tribal government agencies employ some people. Others work for both public and private sector organizations as archeologists.

Archaeologists have a wide range of career options, but the best strategy is to focus on a specific area of study and work hard to grow in that area.

There may be times when an archaeological team needs to travel for field work. This may necessitate frequent travel. Even if you’ve worked in a lab or a museum your entire career, it’s important to keep in mind that many people in this field have little to no experience outside of the classroom.

Bottom Line

Employment in the United States is expected to grow by 19% between 2012 and 2022, faster than the average for all jobs, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

As a result of including both anthropology and archeology in their salary statistics, the BLS data on wages is somewhat inconsistent, but you can expect an annual salary of around $57k on the average. Jobs in the federal government typically have higher salaries, averaging $72k on average.

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