Careers for Archaeology Majors & Minors
Graduates with archaeology degrees can find careers in a variety of fields, which range from public education and conservation to commercial archaeology. These different careers utilize skills learned in archaeology classes and while participating in fieldwork, laboratory, and research projects. The most common archaeology careers (ordered alphabetically) are discussed below.
Many archaeologists have careers as professors, teaching classes and advising undergraduate and graduate students during the academic year. They also may conduct laboratory research throughout the year and lead archaeological excavation projects during the summer months.
Conservators work to preserve artifacts and objects in museum collections. This may involve protecting objects from deteriorating due to natural processes or restoring them to their original states. Conservators typically have some training in archaeology as well as chemistry.
Cultural Resource Management (CRM) Firms
In the United States, the majority of archaeologists are employed by Cultural Resource Management (CRM) firms to do commercial archaeology. These archaeologists are responsible for archaeological research (including survey, testing, excavation, and resulting analysis and report writing), which is required by federal law. To learn more about careers in CRM, visit https://shovelbums.org/.
Archaeologists often find employment as staff at historic sites, which may include conducting archaeological excavations at the sites, writing research reports, and engaging with visitors. Archaeologists also work as interpreters at historic sites, drawing on their knowledge of historic events to help visitors better understand the daily lived experiences of people in the past.
Archaeologists can utilize their backgrounds in artifact identification and historical knowledge for careers as museum curators, educators, and exhibit designers. Archaeologists can also find careers as museum docents, helping to communicate archaeological findings to the public.
National Parks Service
The National Parks Service employs archaeologists to help facilitate the preservation of nationally-recognized historic sites through initiatives like the Vanishing Treasures Program. Archaeologists also conduct research on federal land. To learn more, visit https://www.nps.gov/subjects/archeology.
State Historic Preservation Offices
Many archaeologists have careers through State Historic Preservation Offices (SHPO), which involve maintaining archaeological collections, evaluating the impact that development projects may have on historic landscapes, and nominating sites for the National Register of Historic Places. To learn more, visit https://ncshpo.org/about-us/what-is-shpo/.
Archaeology graduates have also found employment in other careers including the following:
-User experience (UX) researcher