How to become an Archaeologist

How to become an Archaeologist in 2022

Both online and  options exist for earning a  degree in archaeology.  An associate degree will take 2 years approximate and a bachelor’s degree will take upto 4 years. Online  tuition start from $13,020/yr. Employment in archaeology is expected to grow by  7% in current decade.

Types of Degrees available in Archaeology

DegreeCreditGeneral Program Length
Associate Degree                60-702 years
Bachelor’s Degree120 credits     4 years
Master’s Degree50-70 credits1-3 years
DoctorateRequires coursework including dissertation or thesis.Minimum 4 years

 Online Degrees in Archaeology

Online degrees in archaeology are rare but exist as fully online bachelor’s degrees in general anthropology with classes in archaeology.

Austin Community College (Austin, TX)

Tuition: $13,020/yr

Degree: Associate of Arts Degree in Anthropology

The Anthropology Program at the Austin Community College gives students an Associate of Arts degree in anthropology. Students in this program examine the diversity of human experience, histories, cultures, and traditions in every part of the world. Students can choose from anthropology and archaeology associate degree options. Students are prepared to transfer and earn a bachelor’s degree at a four-year institution.

Oregon State University (Corvallis)

Tuition: 15,500/yr

Degree: Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology

The Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology degree program at Oregon State University provides an interdisciplinary approach to studying culture, society, and human behavior. The program is offered through the College of Liberal Arts, ranked No. 1 in the nation for best online liberal arts colleges.

Southern New Hampshire University

Tuition: $15,380/yr

Degree: Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Anthropology

The Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology program at the Southern New Hampshire University: is a great way to learn about the complexity and diversity of human nature. Students will explore similarities and differences in society through cultural, biological, archaeological, and linguistic lenses. You can earn a master’s degree or dive right into the field after graduation.

University of Florida (Gainesville)

Tuition: $16,579/yr

Degree: B.A. in Anthropology

The Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology at the University of Florida offers students the opportunity to focus their coursework in one of four major subfields: cultural anthropology, archaeology, biological anthropology, and linguistics. Students pursue innovative research that focuses on postindustrial regions and communities struggling with industrial decline’s social and material consequences.

University of Central Florida

Tuition: $21,503/yr

Degree: Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology

The Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology degree at the University of Central Florida will give students a broad understanding of culture, language, and religion from around the globe. During your time here, you’ll learn to conduct research and fieldwork and understand the methods and theories that drive anthropology.

On Campus Degrees in Archaeology

University of Missouri – Columbia

Tuition: $10,723/yr

Degree: M.A./Ph.D. in Archaeology

The Archaeology degree at the University of Missouri focuses on the material culture of ancient Greece and Rome. In addition to studying the archaeological record, students learn about the theoretical implications of their research. The program prepares M.A. students for advanced work in Archaeology and related fields and Ph.D. students for academic careers in Archaeology and related fields at the college/university level. 

The University of North Carolina At Chapel Hill

Tuition: $12,352/yr

Degree: Bachelor’s Degree in Archaeology

 The Department of Anthropology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill prepares students for graduate training in archaeology or for a career in any field that requires skills in analytical thinking, writing, and teamwork. The graduate program provides doctoral training that leads to jobs in universities, museums, and cultural resource management.

Michigan Tech University

Tuition: $16,463/yr

Degree: M.S., Ph.D. in Industrial Heritage and Archaeology

At Michigan Technological University, you can earn an Industrial Heritage and Archaeology degree. Students are positioned to work at a cultural resource management firm, an archive or museum, for government agencies like the park or forest service, or non-profit heritage organizations. The program conveniently offers an accelerated master’s degree program, which can be completed in 1 year by transferring six credits from your bachelor’s degree.

Johns Hopkins Krieger School of Arts and Sciences

Degrees Offered: B.A. in Archaeology


The Archaeology degree at the University of Johns Hopkins Krieger School of Arts is a four-year program that prepares students to pursue careers in archaeology. The program immerses students in archaeological theory, the analysis of archaeological materials, and the results of archaeological research in prehistoric and early historical periods in the Old and New Worlds.

Washington University St Louis

Tuition: $27,233 /year

Degrees: M.A., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in Archaeology

The Department of Anthropology at Washington University in St. Louis offers a wide range of courses, from introductory levels to advanced graduate and postdoctoral programs. Students are engaged in active field research across North and South America, East, Southeast, Central Asia, and Africa. Students may receive funding through independent research projects, as well as through coursework.

Entry Requirements into an Archaeology Studies Program

The requirements for acceptance or admission into an Archaeology Studies Program vary from university to university. Some universities have strict requirements, such as a minimum GPA, while others do not.

Generally, most colleges and universities require applicants to have completed at least one year of college before applying for admission into an Archaeology Studies Program. Other typical requirements include:

  • High school transcripts
  • SAT/ACT scores
  • Two letters of recommendation from teachers or employers
  • Personal statement outlining why you want to study archaeology and what your goals are after graduation

The minimum requirement for a job in Archaeology

A four-year degree from an accredited school will help you qualify for entry-level positions with most companies and organizations that employ archaeologists. If you have an undergraduate background in anthropology or archaeology, the minimum requirement for most archaeologist jobs will be a master’s degree. However, you may also need field experience or postgraduate work (a Ph.D.), depending on your area of expertise.

Archaeology  Salary and Growth Potential

According to the BLS, employment in archaeology is expected to grow by 7 percent between 2020 and 2030. During this time, a projected 800 jobs will be added each year.


If you are interested in pursuing a career as an archaeologist, you should think about your desired position and how it fits into the field. You can work for museums or other institutions or as private contractors. You may also teach or do research at an academic institution.

Some archaeologists work on-site to excavate artifacts and study their history for preservation purposes. Others work in storage facilities like museums and archives, cataloging artifacts to be accessible for future use by researchers or by the public at large.

There are also many opportunities for those who would like to pursue this path professionally, such as teaching positions where they can apply skills learned while earning their degrees.

Complete an internship or volunteer to embellish your résumé

Internships and volunteer opportunities can help you stand out from other applicants when seeking jobs. In addition to providing real-world experience, an internship or volunteer position demonstrates a commitment to a career in archaeology by showing that you can perform tasks independently and learn new skills quickly.

Get hands-on experience before graduating

There are many different paths that you can take with an archaeology degree, but it is essential to get some hands-on experience before graduating and deciding which jobs to pursue.

  • In the field: You may work for a private company or state or federal agency on projects that involve digging up artifacts and analyzing them in the lab. This could be working on roads and bridges where artifacts are found or researching sites like old battlefields or Native American burial grounds.
  • In the lab: Often, archaeologists, will often analyze artifacts in labs at universities or museums to learn more about what materials were used and how they were made. They will also track down similar objects from other sites to compare them with each other to understand how cultures changed over time and why these changes happened.
  • In a museum: Museums have collections of artifacts that need to be cared for properly, so they do not fall apart over time while also letting visitors see them safely behind glass displays. This might be a good option if you like working with people because getting new visitors interested in history is another part of your job!

There are also alternative opportunities if you want something less hand on but still interesting—like working as an archaeologist consultant, where companies hire people specifically because they know how best practices should be implemented when excavating valuable information from cultural sites.

As an Archaeologist, you will need the following qualities:

Endurance and adaptability An archaeologist has to be able to work in various environments and situations. They must be able to handle extreme temperatures and weather conditions; they may also have to spend long periods in remote locations without access to modern facilities like phones or computers.  
Good physical staminaArchaeology students need good physical stamina and strength because they will be digging up human remains and removing artifacts from their resting place. They’ll also need good analytical skills because they’ll have to interpret what they find based on clues such as the type of soil, where it was found, how deep it was buried, etc.  
Critical-thinking skillsCritical-thinking skills are essential because you won’t always be able to rely on someone else’s interpretation for your findings — you’ll have to interpret them yourself.  
 Strong communicationArchaeologists also need strong communication skills to explain their findings clearly and logically when presenting them at conferences or seminars.  

In archaeology, you can research discoveries that help us understand ancient peoples better, work as an educator teaching others about their findings, or just enjoy the thrill of uncovering something nobody else has seen before!

If this sounds like something you’d like to do, then we hope we’ve given you as much information needed to get started as soon as possible on your path toward becoming an archaeologist.

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