Archaeologist: Career Summary, Occupational Outlook, and Education Requirements

Archaeologists study ancient artifacts from past human cultures to learn how they lived. Read on for more information about professional activities, education and occupational outlook. Schools offering Social Science degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is the Career Summary of an Archaeologist?

Archaeologists study ancient human cultures by digging up remains and artifacts that give information about past civilizations. In this career, you'll study artifacts such as tools, pottery, buildings, figurines and stones, examining their conditions to determine how long they have been buried. You'll gather data and spend time analyzing it in laboratories, and then you'll write reports about your findings. Work will be performed with the help of other archaeologists, and you might spend most of your time in outdoor areas all around the world. Depending on the kind of artifacts you are seeking, you may work in deserts, mountains or caves, so it will be necessary to adjust to extreme temperatures.

What Is the Occupational Outlook?

About 5,800 people held as jobs archaeologists and anthropologists in the United States in 2008, and colleges, government agencies and private organizations employed them, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). Employment opportunities for social scientists in general were expected to grow at a rate of 28% between 2008 and 2018, largely because of corresponding growth in the technical consulting services and scientific industries. Archaeologists who worked for the federal government earned average annual salaries of $71,940 as of 2010, while those who were employed in the areas of management, scientific and technical consulting earned an average salary of $50,300 per year.

What Education Requirements Should I Complete?

While a bachelor's degree in archaeology will suffice for some entry-level positions and will allow you to work as a management trainee or high school archaeology teacher, you may otherwise have limited employment opportunities. In order to obtain well-paying positions, you may earn a master's degree so that you can teach in community colleges. If research or teaching positions at the university level interest you, you'll need a Ph.D., which allows you to lead your own excavation teams and write books about your excavations.

Your undergraduate program will include classes such as archaeology of Egypt, ancient cities, Roman art and classical Greek sculpture. Master's-level programs should consist of courses such as foreign languages, political anthropology, advanced research methods, human osteology and thesis research. Doctoral programs will focus on archaeological theory, quantitative methods, advanced laboratory apprenticeship courses and a dissertation.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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