Topic ID #42523 - posted 7/22/2020 3:28 PM

Entry level archaeology; is there a career path?

Brett Colburn

Hey there folks,


I’m new to the group. My Name is Brett Colburn, I am preparing to graduate from a 4 year archaeology program (technically masters) in Scotland. Although I’ve gotten several job offers here in the UK, my chances of getting a work visa have been slashed for a number of reasons. So here I am, back to the drawing board… in the US. What I’ve found in doing some research is that employment here for entry level positions is unregulated, unsteady, and underpaid. This scares me. And many other’s I presume. My question is this;

As someone who has put all of their eggs in a useless backet (the UK) what advice can you offer to someone attempting to enter the job market here in the US? Broadly speaking I’m curious as to the reliability of CRM work and how competitive applications are. More specifically, I wonder if that work is frequently seasonal and if there is frequently a distinguished upward trajectory at these firms.


P.S. Are there any central bodies that establish a line of communication between the public/ employees and employers? For example, in the you UK we have CIFA that sets standards for all archaeological jobs.

Post ID#21048 - replied 9/25/2020 9:09 AM


What I’ve found in doing some research is that employment here for entry level positions is unregulated, unsteady, and underpaid.

That sounds like a fairly accurate summary. As a temporary field technician in the USA, you'll basically hop from project-to-project between companies, with potentially large gaps in-between, with no benefits or health insurance. Sometimes the pay, per diem, and lodging is good, a lot of times it isn't. Be sure to ask about this stuff when applying.

It's a very competitive field to get into compared to the pay and benefits you get out of it. It's also a bit of a career deadend. If you are going into it, I highly suggest figuring out a way to get your RPA, so you can actually run projects, and advance professionally.

Post ID#21049 - replied 10/4/2020 2:08 PM


Being a field tech is the very definition of a dead-end job. You will forever be looking for a job. You may get lucky and get on several call lists for companies for temporary help, but that's all you will ever be. You can get a master's degree, which is necessary for an RPA designation, but even that won't guarantee a permanent job, and you might end up doing the same things you did as a tech, but with more student loans. There are a lot of people out there who got master's degrees, I know because I was their crew chief. I loved my time as an archaeology tech, but it left me with bad feet and knees and a legacy of short-term employment. If there's anything else you can do, do that instead.


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