Archaeologist Salary

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Archaeologist Salary

If you ‘dig’ adventures, and have a ‘thing’ for history, then archeology should be a good career option. To know about how to become an archaeologist or what is the average annual salary of an archaeologist across sectors, continue reading this CareerStint article.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of archaeologists is projected to grow 19% from 2012 to 2022. However, as it is a small occupation, the growth is expected to generate only about 1,400 new jobs, an average of 140 per year over the decade.

The most popular and the coolest archaeologist of the world would most definitely be Indiana Jones. This character from Spielberg’s landmark Indiana Jones series has probably inspired a lot of people to take up this highly adventurous career option. Anyway, it doesn’t matter much what inspires you to choose archeology as a career option, but a few important basics like, what does an archaeologist actually do, the degrees needed to become one, and the average annual salary; do need to be answered before starting out to become an archaeologist.

Employers of archaeologists include local government agencies, museums, private enterprises (architectural, engineering, and related services), graduate schools and colleges, research and development services, and various nongovernmental organizations. The specific duties of an archaeologist may vary from project to project, but the fieldwork generally involves strenuous outdoor labor in hot blazing sun or freezing cold. Backbreaking daily activities require physical endurance and good health.

Average Salary of an Archaeologist

Entry-level archaeologist salary – around US $28,000
Federal government employees earn about $75,350 p.a.
Management, scientific, and technical consulting services – $59,830
Scientific research and development services – $59,090
The median annual wage for archaeologists – $59,280
The lowest 10% earned less than $34,580
The top 10% earned more than $93,650

* Source: BLS, May 2014

Average annual salary in Portland – $57,000
In Virginia – $59,000
In New Mexico – $51,000
In Texas – $57,000
In Hawaii – $36,000
In Boston – $73,000
In Arizona – $48,000

* Source: Indeed, June, 2015

States with the highest employment level in this field:
California – $62,060
Oregon – $68,230
Arizona – $62,990

Top paying industries for this occupation:
Federal executive branch – $75,350
Museums, historical sites, and similar institutions – $69,460
Local government – $60,140

Top paying States for this occupation:
District of Colombia – $90,870
Georgia – $84,900
Massachusetts – $77,880
Alaska – $77,230
New York – $72,630

* Source: BLS, May 2014. All figures indicate median annual salary of an archaeologist.

A career in archeology is not a very high paying one, as compared to the other options. A lot of factors go into determining an archaeologist’s salary. It can be concluded that the salary generally ranges from US $28,000 to $120,000, depending upon the education and work experience of the candidate, and the type and location of the employer.

Job Description

To examine and study past cultures
To help locate a site based on the geological changes
To search beneath the surface of the earth
To study materials found at the bottom of lakes, rivers, and oceans
To analyze and prepare the site for excavation
To determine the methods of excavation
To excavate and analyze ancient artifacts
To take detailed photographs of the found pieces
To prepare a detailed report
To present papers about the findings

A lot of exciting discoveries are in store while pursuing a career in archeology. An archaeologist spends a lot of time, preparing, planning, and analyzing the site and the findings. Thus, the four important factors of an archaeologist’s job are recovery, documentation, analysis, and interpretation. ‘Enjoying outdoor traveling’ and ‘having a problem-solving attitude’ are a couple of aspects of an archaeologist’s personality which make the work a little easier.

Educational Qualifications

A 4-year bachelor’s degree in anthropology
Either MA or MS with a specialization in a subject like:
Prehistoric Archeology,
Industrial Archeology,
Conservation of historic objects, or
Biomedical and Forensic Egyptology.
Practical experience (field work), and/or

A PhD is needed in case you want to become a professor or handle really large projects. This would add up to another 4 or more years of studying. So in case you end up with your studies till you reach the wrong side of your 30s, don’t worry, its natural! As archeology has a few technical aspects attached to it, a good knowledge of subjects like geology, geography, chemistry, and history is expected. With a bachelor’s degree in anthropology, one can get a job. However, most of the jobs in the archaeological field require people with a master’s degree.
Apart from this, you need to gain some practical experience by working with local archaeological groups. You may work as an apprentice with a successful and established archaeologist. This will only add to your credentials, once you have finished your studies.

We learn from the above data that the average salaries are more, when it comes to government jobs or private firms, compared to university or nonprofit organizations. A government job is the most lucrative and sought after, as it pays well, besides employing the largest number of archaeologists. However, a job in this sector is highly competitive.

If you work hard you shouldn’t really bother much about the salary. Sincerity and perseverance seldom go unnoticed or unrewarded. Or just as Dr. Jones said, “It’s not the years, honey, it’s the mileage!

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