How Much Do Federal Archaeologists Get Paid?

Posted on January 16, 2014

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In the last part of this series I talked about GS (General Service) and what it means for those employed as Archaeologists in the US Federal Government. Essentially, it is a pay level. I also talked about ‘steps’ and how they affect the rate of pay you get for a GS level. You would think then it would be pretty easy to determine the pay rate of Federal archaeologists, just look at the GS and estimate.

Change in pay across GS grade based on steps.

Change in pay across GS grade based on steps.

It is more complicated than that because of the above mentioned ‘steps’, which are determined by length of service, and also because of geography. In January of 1994, the Federal Employees Pay Comparability Act of 1990 (FEPCA) introduced a “locality pay adjustment” component to the GS salary structure. This is were pay is adjusted to local pay conditions. It is mainly cities but some times whole states. There are currently 34 local pay areas that increase Federal pay to match higher private sector pay conditions:

·         Alaska (24.69%)

·         Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Gainesville, GA-AL (19.29%)

·         Boston-Worcester-Manchester, MA-NH-RI-ME (24.80%)

·         Buffalo-Niagara-Cattaraugus, NY (16.98%)

·         Chicago-Naperville-Michigan City, IL-IN-WI (25.10%)

·         Cincinnati-Middletown-Wilmington, OH-KY-IN (18.55%)

·         Cleveland-Akron-Elyria, OH (18.68%)

·         Columbus-Marion-Chillicothe, OH (17.16%)

·         Dallas-Fort Worth, TX (20.67%)

·         Dayton-Springfield-Greenville, OH (16.24%)

·         Denver-Aurora-Boulder, CO (22.52%)

·         Detroit-Warren-Flint, MI (24.09%)

·         Hartford-West Hartford-Willimantic, CT-MA (25.82%)

·         Hawaii (16.51%)

·         Houston-Baytown-Huntsville, TX (28.71%)

·         Huntsville-Decatur, AL (16.02%)

·         Indianapolis-Anderson-Columbus, IN (14.68%)

·         Los Angeles-Long Beach-Riverside, CA (27.16%)

·         Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL (20.79%)

·         Milwaukee-Racine-Waukesha, WI (18.10%)

·         Minneapolis-St. Paul-St. Cloud, MN-WI (20.96%)

·         New York-Newark-Bridgeport, NY-NJ-CT-PA (28.72%)

·         Philadelphia-Camden-Vineland, PA-NJ-DE-MD (21.79%)

·         Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ (16.76%)

·         Pittsburgh-New Castle, PA (16.37%)

·         Portland-Vancouver-Beaverton, OR-WA (20.35%)

·         Raleigh-Durham-Cary, NC (17.64%)

·         Richmond, VA (16.47%)

·         Sacramento–Arden-Arcade–Yuba City, CA-NV (22.20%)

·         San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, CA (24.19%)

·         San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland, CA (35.15%)

·         Seattle-Tacoma-Olympia, WA (21.81%)

·         Washington-Baltimore-Northern Virginia, DC-MD-VA-WV-PA (24.22%)

·         Rest of U.S. (14.16%)


 These local pay rates are set by comparing GS and non-Federal pay in each area. The local salary is based on the salary surveys conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

This adds a bit of complexity to pay rates for Federal Archaeologists. Luckily, through Fedscope it is possible to get a rough idea, within 10k, the pay for most Federal Archaeologists, including location and steps. For 0193 Archaeologists, most, 77%, made between $50,000-$89,000 a year in 2012. A caveat to this is that this is yearly pay not take home pay. Furloughs, un-paid leave, or simply being a seasonal worker means that some employees may not actually make the listed yearly pay. By the same token over-time, holiday work or bonuses might mean that some Archaeologists make more than their listed salaries in a year. A more realistic representation of wages might be placing yearly wages into per hour wages.  Yearly rates are based on a 2,087 hour work schedule which translates into the following per hour pay:

Per Year

Per Hour

$          20,000

 $       9.58

 $          30,000

 $    14.37

 $          40,000

 $    19.17

 $          50,000

 $    23.96

 $          60,000

 $    28.75

 $          70,000

 $    33.54

 $          80,000

 $    38.33

 $          90,000

 $    43.12

 $        100,000

 $    47.92

 $        110,000

 $    52.71

 $        120,000

 $    57.50

 $        130,000

 $    62.29

 $        140,000

 $    67.08

 $        150,000

 $    71.87

 $        160,000

 $    76.67

 $        170,000

 $    81.46

Here is how pay has change over the years for 0193 Archaeologists (see this post about the difference between 0193 and 0102 archaeologists)

Annual pay for 0193 Archaeologists from 1998-2012

Annual pay for 0193 Archaeologists from 1998-2012

Here is how pay has change for 0102 Archaeology Technicians:

Annual pay for 0102 Archaeologists from 1998-2012

Annual pay for 0102 Archaeologists from 1998-2012

Here is how pay has change for all Federal Archaeologists.

Annual pay for Federal Archaeologists (0193 & 0102) from 1998-2012

Annual pay for Federal Archaeologists (0193 & 0102) from 1998-2012

Depending on your particular job the Federal Government probably pays better than some, if not most, private sector CRM archaeology jobs, especially at the field Tech. level. Though probably not better than some of the higher up CRM positions.

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