Home  »  Getting Your Degree   »   Archaeology: Degrees and Careers

Archaeology: Degrees and Careers

Educating Your Inner Indiana Jones: Archaeology Degrees for Military & Veterans

A Degree in Archaeology is the perfect field of study for students interested in exploring the past of humankind. An education in archaeology focuses on the study of human past through its material remains. A comprehensive program in archaeology will equip students with the knowledge and skills for excavation, recovery, and interpretation of artifacts and other evidence of human history.

What can you do with an archaeology degree?

Archaeologists have a wide range of opportunities, from studying the million-year-old fossils of early humans to the not-so-ancient 20th century buildings in bustling metropolises across the globe.

A Degree in Archaeology is still very much in demand today with so much of human history to constantly explore! Archaeologists are employed in a wide variety of fields including:

  • Consulting services: scientific, technical, and management
  • Research and development: social sciences and the humanities
  • Federal government: including museums, educational services, preservation, etc.
  • Engineering firms
  • Self-employed
  • Academia

Earning a degree in Archaeology can be found as an Associate, Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctoral program.

Is an archaeology degree hard?

A degree in archaeology is not difficult to earn! Students that put in the time and effort will find that earning a Degree in Archaeology will be enjoyable and rewarding, both personally and professionally! A Degree in Archaeology is ideal for students that exhibit characteristics such as:

  • Passion– With such a vast field of study, students are able to find the topic (or topics) they are passionate about to carve out their niche as an archaeologist.
  • Curiosity– Archaeology is a seemingly endless field of study, with history being made daily. Archaeologists are fortunate to let their innate curiosity guide their careers.
  • Critical thinking skills– Always a key component for success in any career field
  • Hands-on learner– From labs to dig sites, one of the appeals of archaeology is the ability to learn from active participation!
  • Team player– Yes, most archaeologists will have a specialty but it is important to see how all aspects overlap and contribute to the greater whole.
  • Wanderlust– The desire to travel, whether a lot or a little, is readily apparent in almost all archaeologists.

Because there are so many opportunities in architecture at every degree level, there is truly an opportunity for everyone in the study and career field of architecture!

Getting a Degree in Archaeology

Associate Degree in Archaeology

Archaeology analyzes the physical remains of ancient and recent human past in pursuit of a broader understanding of human culture. An associate degree in archaeology will introduce students to the two main aspects of archaeology: prehistoric and historical.

Prehistoric archaeology examines sites that are without a written record. This includes ancient villages, stone quarries, rock art, ancient cemeteries, campsites, and stone monuments. A site can be as small and simple as a pile of chipped stone tools left by a prehistoric hunter or as large and mysterious as Stonehenge.

Historical archaeology sites are those where archaeologists can use historical records (writing) to aid their examination. This includes densely populated modern cities, shipwrecks, battlefields, slave quarters, cemeteries, and centers of industry.

With an Associate Degree in Archaeology students are prepared for an entry-level job in this career field. Students may also choose to continue their studies in archaeology and pursue a Bachelor’s in Archaeology.

Jobs with an Associate Degree in Archaeology

Teacher Assistant- Work with a licensed teacher to give students additional attention and instruction. Median Annual Salary: $29,000.

Human Service Assistants- Provide services for clients, and specific populations of clients, in a variety of social service fields. Human Service Assistants may work for nonprofit organizations, for-profit social service agencies, and state and local governments. Median Annual Salary: $35,000.

Public Relations Specialist- Create and maintain a favorable public image for the organization they represent. Median Annual Salary: $63,000.

Bachelor’s Degree in Archaeology

With a Bachelor’s in Archaeology students will further explore this field of study while also refining their research and writing skills.

Students are encouraged to choose a particular region of the world or a specific topic to specialize in. Specialization will allow an archaeologist to develop expertise. This is especially relevant for students that are planning to pursue their Master’s in Archaeology. Popular archaeology specializations include:

  • human remains (bio-archaeology)
  • animals (zoo-archaeology)
  • ancient plants (paleoethnobotany)
  • stone tools (lithics)
  • underwater archaeology
  • mapping

Fields of specialty are especially relevant for students that will continue to graduate studies in pursuit of a Master’s and/or Doctorate in Archaeology.

Jobs with a Bachelor’s Degree in Archaeology

Teaching Assistants, Postsecondary- Assist faculty or other instructional staff in postsecondary institutions by performing instructional support activities, such as developing teaching materials, leading discussion groups, and grading examinations or papers. Median Annual Salary: $39,000.

Museum Technician- Prepare and restore items in those collections. Median Annual Salary: $52,000.

Social Science Research Assistant- Assist social scientists in laboratory, survey, and other social science research. May help prepare findings for publication. Median Annual Salary: $54,000.

Technical Writer- Prepare instruction manuals, how-to guides, journal articles, and other supporting documents to communicate complex and technical information more easily. Median Annual Salary: $75,000.

Public Relations Manager- Direct the creation of materials that will enhance the public image of their employer or client. Median Annual Salary: $118,000.

Master’s Degree in Archaeology

Graduate students seeking a master’s in archaeology will refine their research and communication skills including their ability to gather and interpret data. A Master’s in Archaeology is ideal for those seeking careers in postsecondary education and research.

Jobs with a Master’s Degree in Archaeology

Curator– Oversee institutions’ collections, such as of historical items or of artwork. Median Annual Salary: $52,000.

Historian- Research, analyze, interpret, and write about the past by studying historical documents and sources. Median Annual Salary: $63,000.

Archaeologist- Study the origin, development, and behavior of humans. archeologists typically work in research organizations, government, and consulting firms. Median Annual Salary: $66,000.

Doctorate in Archaeology

With a doctorate (PhD) in archaeology, students will become the ultimate expert in the field. Students earning a PhD in Archaeology are expected to have at least one specialty field within archaeology to perfect their expertise in. Doctoral students are also expected to be skilled in field work, research, and writing for publication.

It is important to note that, especially in the US, archaeology is sometimes found as major within anthropology.

Jobs with a Doctorate (PhD) in Archaeology

Postsecondary Teacher– Instruct students in Archaeology courses beyond the high school level. Median Annual Salary: $80,000.

Author- Develop written content for various types of media on the topic of Archaeology. Median Annual Salary: $122,000.

Dr. Jones- Become the next pop-culture archetype for exploration and adventure. Median Annual Salary: priceless.

Is an archaeology degree worth it?

Absolutely! An archaeology degree is worth the time, money, and effort invested with the payoff being an exciting and profitable career with great job opportunities across the globe! Use your GI Bill benefits and other educational entitlements (such as Yellow Ribbon benefits, scholarships, and grants) and you can earn a spectacular degree and an exciting career without spending a dime!

Don’t forget, a degree in archaeology isn’t just for aspiring archaeologists! There are a wide variety of related jobs and career fields for those earning a degree in archaeology including:

  • Museum workers (curator, archivist, technician, etc.)
  • Researcher
  • Academia
  • Non-profit and NGO humanitarian groups
  • Historian
  • Cultural Resource Management
  • Park Services
  • Urban Planning

GI Bill®-approved Schools with Degrees in Archaeology

Ready to start your Degree in Archaeology? Check out these great programs available at our partner schools:  

Moorpark College- Offers an Associate in Arts in Archaeology. Moorpark College is a GI Bill® approved school and offers credit for military experience. Moorpark College is a MyCAA approved school and is approved for Tuition Assistance.

University of Arizona- Offers a Master of Arts in Anthropology-Applied Archaeology. University of Arizona is a GI Bill® approved school, offers credit for military experience, and awards credit for both the CLEP and DSST exams. University of Arizona is a Yellow Ribbon school and is approved for Tuition Assistance.

University of Colorado at BoulderOffers a PhD and a Master of Arts in Archaeology with specializations in archaeology, cultural or biological anthropology available. University of Colorado Boulder has GI Bill approved programs, offers credit for military experience, and awards credit for the CLEP exam. University of Colorado Boulder is a MyCAA approved school, is approved for Tuition Assistance, and proudly participates in the Yellow Ribbon program.

University of Southern Mississippi Hattiesburg- Offers a Master of Arts in Anthropology with specializations in Archaeology and Bio-archaeology available. The University of Southern Mississippi has GI Bill approved programs, offers credit for military experience, awards credit for both the CLEP and DSST exams, and is approved for Tuition Assistance. The University of Southern Mississippi is a Yellow Ribbon school and a MyCAA approved school.

*All statistics and calculations from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. For more information click here.

 

RELATED:

 

 

About the author

+ posts

Born in SoCal yet raised Tampa, Florida - Leah earned her undergraduate BA in Liberal Studies from the University of Central Florida. Leah earned her MA in the MALAS at San Diego State University, while also completing a graduate teaching certificate in English for Secondary Education. An avid traveler, she has visited more than 60 countries. With the birth of her son Spencer in 2012, Leah embarked on her biggest adventure (yet) as parent and Coast Guard wife.