What Does it Take to Get that Archaeology Job?- Principle Investigator/Senior Archaeologist

Posted on September 25, 2011


This is the fifth post in a series exploring the question – What qualifications do I need to get X job in archaeology. The earlier posts looked at field tech positions, crew chiefs, Middle Management, and dedicated GIS Tech positions in Cultural Resource Management CRM (North America). This is all done quantitatively by looking at job postings. This post looks at Principle Investigator/Senior Archaeologist positions (different terms are used but basically it is top management).

Here is the percent of job posts listing the respected qualification:

Senior Archaeology Positions-what it takes to get the job

Senior Archaeology Positions-what it takes to get the job

To be senior management you will need at least a MA, regional experience, and experience with federal heritage laws. You will also need at least 5 years of previous CRM experience (some mention just CRM experience some say specific  5 years of PI experience) but quite a few employers are look for people with 10-20 years of experience (there is overlap in categories because of ranges requested e.g.- we want someone with 5 yrs of PI experience and 8-16 years of general archaeology experience).  About a quarter of the positions requested that a person be a member of the Registry of Professional Archaeologists (RPA). Looks like there is still room to grow for the RPA.

Will meeting these requirements get you the job? NO, there are no guarantees. Most of these requirements are check boxes of the bare minimum. Meaning you must have at least these qualifications to be considered for a job.

Methodology – jobs postings on the job website Shovelbums was examined for the year 2010. All postings involving Senior Managment were examined and the numbers were compiled above. A total 38 posts were used for the data; duplicate posts were eliminated.

Note on specialty– ranges from geomorphology to general historics. instead of giving each area its own classification they were put into one category. Many jobs gave a range of specialities they were looking for and would accept any. Basically, a specialty will help you but it can be pretty much any speciality, except for a few cases.