How Much Archaeology Professors Make

Posted on February 20, 2012

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How much do archaeology Professors in the United States make? A quick google search will turn up lots of websites with horrible results e.g. $250,000 a year. The Society of American Archaeologists did a salary survey in 2004 that is probably the most accurate but now about 8 years out of date. Using the information I collected on the number of academic archaeologists in the United States and some general data on average professors salaries I have come up with the following averages (per yr):

All Men Women
Full Professor 105.9 108.0 99.4
Associate Professor 72.5 74.3 69.8
Assistant Professor 60.4 62.2 58.4
Instructor 44.2 43.4 43.2

The results are in the thousands.

The difference between men and women is not known for sure. As described in the methodology below, these numbers are based on general averages for universities so it is possible that archaeology is more gender equal, or unequal, than their peer professors at universities. There are of course ranges to these averages with some making more and some making less. On average an Instructor makes little more than crew chiefs and probably less than project managers in Cultural Resource Management (private sector).

Full Archaeology Professors are actually, on average, in the 94th percentile (i.e. they make more money they 93.9% of the population) of Americans- calculator here. If of course you are lucky enough to get the job this is not a bad job to have pay-wise. It is important to remember that there are less than 500 professors out of about 15-20,000 archaeologists. Also, one has to wait 15-20 years of being paid Associate and Assistant Professors’ wages before making the big bucks.

More detailed breakdown of Full professors pay can be seen here , Associate professors here, and Assistant professors here.

Methodology-

There are no official numbers on how much an archaeology professor makes but there are numbers for the average salary of a professor makes at a specific university provided by American Association of Professors. Of course different types of professors make different amounts of money-

Professor  Associate professor Assistant professor* new assistant professor Instructor
Agriculture, agriculture operations, and related sciences  $       92,716.00  $             72,805.00  $         62,122.00  $     63,343.00  $    45,057.00
Architecture and related services  $       97,505.00  $             74,466.00  $         60,522.00  $     57,510.00  $    50,111.00
Area, ethnic, cultural, and gender studies  $       97,637.00  $             73,457.00  $         58,282.00  $     58,827.00  $    41,776.00
Biological and biomedical sciences  $       92,505.00  $             68,806.00  $         58,709.00  $     57,272.00  $    45,049.00
Business, management, marketing, and related support services  $      111,621.00  $             93,767.00  $         87,248.00  $     93,926.00  $    57,873.00
Communication, journalism, and related programs  $       85,057.00  $             65,444.00  $         54,303.00  $     53,524.00  $    45,070.00
Communications technologies/technicians and support services  $       87,611.00  $             65,162.00  $         55,474.00  $     61,840.00  $    51,400.00
Computer and information sciences and support services  $      101,985.00  $             83,362.00  $         71,760.00  $     72,199.00  $    53,356.00
Education  $       83,748.00  $             65,671.00  $         55,848.00  $     55,379.00  $    46,183.00
Engineering  $      114,365.00  $             87,663.00  $         75,822.00  $     76,518.00  $    57,678.00
Engineering technologies/technicians  $       87,583.00  $             72,351.00  $         62,081.00  $     62,516.00  $    49,994.00
English language and literature/letters  $       80,545.00  $             62,077.00  $         52,081.00  $     51,786.00  $    41,733.00
Family and consumer sciences/human sciences  $       88,068.00  $             67,934.00  $         57,484.00  $     56,259.00  $    45,247.00
Foreign languages, literatures, and linguistics  $       85,139.00  $             65,759.00  $         54,005.00  $     52,968.00  $    43,126.00
Health professions and related clinical sciences  $       95,437.00  $             75,207.00  $         63,518.00  $     64,943.00  $    52,720.00
History  $       82,202.00  $             63,228.00  $         52,626.00  $     52,470.00  $    42,318.00
Legal professions and studies  $      134,162.00  $             99,746.00  $         84,374.00  $     91,828.00  $    64,785.00
Liberal arts and sciences, general studies, and humanities  $       83,573.00  $             63,098.00  $         52,394.00  $     51,568.00  $    42,912.00
Library science  $       92,099.00  $             68,213.00  $         55,015.00  $     56,427.00  $    47,253.00
Mathematics and statistics  $       84,942.00  $             66,263.00  $         56,337.00  $     56,647.00  $    42,538.00
Multi/interdisciplinary studies  $       92,148.00  $             71,058.00  $         57,645.00  $     56,902.00  $    47,435.00
Natural resources and conservation  $       93,375.00  $             70,470.00  $         60,102.00  $     56,070.00  $    47,423.00
Parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies  $       80,366.00  $             65,072.00  $         54,039.00  $     54,444.00  $    43,503.00
Philosophy and religious studies  $       85,073.00  $             63,998.00  $         53,598.00  $     52,270.00  $    43,579.00
Physical sciences  $       89,280.00  $             67,590.00  $         57,447.00  $     57,607.00  $    43,980.00
Psychology  $       84,509.00  $             64,892.00  $         55,133.00  $     54,859.00  $    45,421.00
Public administration and social-service professions  $       90,251.00  $             69,791.00  $         56,952.00  $     58,230.00  $    46,946.00
Security and protective services  $       85,311.00  $             66,094.00  $         54,639.00  $     53,769.00  $    44,052.00
Social sciences  $       89,858.00  $             69,064.00  $         58,436.00  $     58,946.00  $    46,158.00
Theology and religious vocations  $       74,267.00  $             59,593.00  $         52,241.00  $     50,620.00  $    46,042.00
Visual and performing arts  $       79,768.00  $             62,686.00  $         52,127.00  $     50,618.00  $    43,464.00

These numbers are from the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources. Not the same data used to figure out salaries.

Looking at the average pay of the a professor in the AAP data against the SAA salary survey in 2004 of archaeologists it is possible to see that archaeologists make roughly between %92-88 of what the average professor does. Thus with the average pay (all, men, and women), the difference between the average and what an archaeologists makes, and the number of archaeologists at each university it is possible to figure out the average pay roughly of all archaeologists -

Ex. 5 archaeologists at university A make z each and 4 archaeologists at university be make y each = the average salaries  (5z + 4y)/9. Here are the averages-

Prof. 115.095 117.3958 108.0393
 Count 476 476 476
Assoc. 80.54479 82.52362 77.56994
 Count 326 326 326
Ass. 68.63934 70.70369 66.32295
 Count 244 244 244
Instructor 48.52078 47.65058 47.43437
 Count 308 259 288

There numbers were then mutilated by .9 to get the estimations presented at the top. Those numbers line up fairly nice with the 2004 SAA numbers if they kept up with inflation. These numbers are a little higher but not all of the universities with archaeologists were represented in the AAP data. Most that were not were small colleges that probably would have lowered the average slightly. Of course if they line up with inflation then why bother going through this extra work and just calculate the average from 2004 based on inflation? For one, it double checks the numbers through a different method and two it allows for the estimation of distributions of pay. How many professors make above or below the average? Who makes the most? Who makes the least? All of these questions can be answered as well as cost of living comparisons.  100k in New York does not go as far as in Wyoming, some archaeologists make make 20k less but still have more money to spend. This will be covered in a later post.

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