Archaeologists examine, recover, and preserve evidence and artifacts from past human cultures. They connect artifacts with information about historic environments to learn about the experiences, customs, and living habits of people in earlier civilizations. Archaeologists also manage and protect archaeological sites. Some work in national parks or historical sites, where they protect known historical or archaeological sites and educate the public. Others assess building sites to ensure that construction plans comply with federal regulations regarding preservation of these sites. Archaeologists often specialize in a particular geographic area, time period, or subject matter, such as animal remains or underwater sites. Many people with a Ph.D. in archaeology become professors or museum curators. 

Educational Qualifications

Those with a bachelor’s degree in archaeology and work experience in an internship or field school can work as a field archaeologist or do basic laboratory work. To advance beyond entry-level positions, a master’s degree is usually desired. Most master’s degree programs are 2 years in duration and include field research. Jobs that require leadership roles and more technical experience may require a Ph.D.

Job Outlook

Employment of archaeologists is expected to grow 21 percent from 2010 to 2020, faster than the average for all occupations. Outside of research, employment of archaeologists will be largely influenced by the level of construction activity. As construction projects increase, more archaeologists will be needed to ensure that builders comply with federal regulations regarding the preservation of archaeological and historical artifacts.

Entering Salary

According to the California Career Resource Network, directors of religious activities and education earned an average annual wage of $48,570 in the state of California during 2012. Most earned salaries ranging between $27,530 and $74,450. According to the Southeastern California Conference, Bible workers may earn $600-$1,200 every two weeks, depending on the duties assigned by the individual church.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median annual wage of archaeologists was $54,230 in May 2010. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $31,310, and the top 10 percent earned more than $89,440.

Career information adapted from:

  • U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2012). Occupational Outlook Handbook. Retrieved from