Topic ID #36153 - posted 9/16/2015 1:03 PM

Advice on beginning education


A little background: After doing a lot of research and consideration, I've decided that I want to pursue the field of archaeology, but I'm no longer fresh out of high school so the answer isn't simply "get your degree" anymore. I went to college for a few semesters, decided that wasn't the right path, and have been working full-time professional jobs ever since. So I'm enjoying my financial independence and pay my own insurances, etc., but I don't enjoy my current job. Now I'm 22, still very young, but it's very likely that I'll be married in the next year to someone who wants to start their own business.

My question is if it's at all possible to score an entry-level archaeological job without a degree, as long as I somehow quantify any certifications/personal studies, participate in local archaeological societies, volunteer, and attend multiple field schools?

It doesn't look like getting a bachelors entirely online in archaeology/anthropology is possible; I found one school but it's over 20k a year to do so and that's not very appealing. The possibility of being married soon to someone who intends to start their own business ASAP also means that I can't just pick a school and say "this is the location where you're going to lay the foundation of your business future" because both of our interests have to be accounted for. I personally feel that heavy field school experience is the way to go since a lot of them are outside of the US anyway and are shorter-term than attending university.
I am open to going back to school later, it's just that the next few years are a bit uncertain so it's hard to want to commit to spending 3 years in a particular location.

Post ID#20692 - replied 9/17/2015 9:26 AM


Honestly, you're going to have a hard time getting your foot in the door without a degree in the field. The market is saturated with Masters and Doctoral level archaeologists in entry and mid-level jobs. Anyone who wants to get into the CRM field really needs to start with the degree.

Sorry to rain on the parade, but on the bright side if you're working at a trade on the professional level you are probably making more money in your 20s than the vast majority of archaeologists.

Post ID#20700 - replied 9/23/2015 4:27 PM


Don't do it. I'm getting out of the field after 17 years. I have a BA and GIS degree. I have had only had about 4 months of work this year and great contacts and a good reputation.

The field has become saturated in MA's doing grunt field work, with huge student debt. Not much opportunity for advance.

You have to travel from job to job at low wages for at least the first 5 years, to even get a feel of the reality of the work.

If you are planning to get married then absolutely not. If you want to travel around the country with no job security then try it.

Post ID#20701 - replied 9/24/2015 9:57 AM


I agree wholeheartedly. After many years of doing this I'm finding it almost impossible to find work. The big projects aren't there anymore, MAs are a dime a dozen, and there are lots of youngsters who can be molded (or manipulated, take your pick) into being whatever the bosses want. I would love to keep doing this, and will keep trying, but hope is fading fast. I know lots of people way younger than myself who are out of archaeology simply because they have to live somehow.


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