There are approximately 7,600 archaeologists and anthropologists employed in the United States. Archaeologists work for universities and community colleges. They also work for museums that may be independent or affiliated with universities. Government agencies, such as the National Park Service and state historic preservation offices, employ archaeologists. More and more archaeologists are finding jobs in the private sector, working for consulting firms, environmental companies, and other businesses.
Students may have an opportunity to work as a research assistant or a teaching fellow while in graduate school, and frequently this experience is of tremendous help in qualifying for a first job. Graduate school professors should be able to help establish contacts in the field.
While in school, get involved in internships to gain experience. Internship opportunities may be available through your graduate program, or you may have to seek them out yourself. Check with your state's archaeological society, the National Forest Service, or the National Park Service to find out about volunteer opportunities.
Because of the relatively small size of this field, advancement opportunities can be scarce. Most archaeology teachers start as assistant professors and move into associate professor and, possibly, full professor positions. Archaeology researchers at the college level have the opportunity to head research areas and to gain recognition among colleagues as an expert in many areas of study.
Those working in museums also have an opportunity to advance within the institution in terms of higher pay or increased responsibility. Archaeologists working outside academia and museums will be promoted according to the standards of the individual companies and organizations for which they work.
Tips for Entry
Read Historical Archaeology, SAA Archaeological Record, Journal of Archaeological Science, and Environmental Archaeology: The Journal of Human Palaeoecology to learn more about the industry.
Visit the following Web sites for job listings:
Join professional associations to access training and networking resources, industry publications, and employment opportunities.
Talk with archaeologists about their careers. Ask them for advice on preparing for and entering the field.