The quick answer to the captioned question is a resounding – yes! Judging from labor statistics, your chances of securing a job outside of teaching are more generous than a position in the teaching profession. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), anthropologists and archaeologists’ occupation reports that 8,000 work in this category as of May 2019. The BLS ranks the top five industries that employ this job group and the fewest work in colleges, universities, and professional schools. Here is the employment data:
- Management, Scientific, and Technical Consulting: 2,100
- Scientific Research and Development Services: 1,540
- Federal Executive Branch: 1,380
- Architectural, Engineering, and Related Services: 640
- Colleges, Professional Schools, and Universities: 320
It seems apparent from these numbers that your chances of landing a job in consulting are almost seven times greater than finding a teaching job. Another interesting fact is that most jobs, per the BLS, are in California, with 1,610 employed as anthropologists or archaeologists. The second place goes to Oregon with 420, followed closely by Arizona with 410. One could conclude that the bulk of job opportunities are in consulting in the state of California.
Those interested in academia typically require a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.). The Archaeological Institute of America attests that this level takes seven to nine years after earning a bachelor’s degree. Therefore, it takes years of years of study with the slim possibility of obtaining work at a college or university. More importantly, the BLS states the job growth at 5% or the addition/change in only 400 jobs over the ten years from 2019 to 2029. That is only 40 available positions across all industries per year, assuming their predictions are accurate!
By searching job sites as Indeed, one frequently listed job opening is the field of Cultural Resource Management (CRM). The National Park Service adopted the term cultural resources in the 1970s, which the Archaeological and Historic Preservation Act of 1974 reinforced. Today, the term refers to the management, investigation, and preservation of historic sites, graves, documents, religious sites, archaeological sites, and folklife of current and past cultures. An archaeologist’s services may be needed when constructing buildings or roads, unearths artifacts or human remains from an unknown date.
Further information on CRM is available at the National Preservation Institute. The site has numerous national and international organizations dedicated to historic preservation. For example, the League of Historic American Theaters (LHAT), founded in 1976, oversees historic theaters’ restoration and conservation.
There are ample job possibilities for firms involved in consulting and consulting services. Some of these involve CRM among the assigned duties. A design and consulting company posted an opening for a Project Archaeologist in Wisconsin. Examples of responsibilities include conducting and supporting cultural resource assessment projects in urban and remote areas and performing archaeological surveys and testing. This job requires at least a bachelor’s degree in archaeology, anthropology, or history.
Less frequent are jobs in the government sector. One of the limited positions posted on Indeed is from the U.S. Department of Agriculture seeking a Heritage Program Manager/Archaeologist to work in Rutland, Vermont. The listing also refers to the title as Forest Archaeologist located on the Green Mountain and Finger Lakes National Forests. The responsibilities include:
- Provide leadership when managing various historic properties of national, state, regional, and local significance.
- Conduct reviews on archaeological project development
- Develop and coordinates networks and contacts beneficial to the performance of archaeological work assignments
With federal government jobs as the one above and another posting with the U.S. Department of the Interior – they require a one year probation period. Also, candidates are subject to the same requirements as all federal employees, which means a criminal background investigation and fingerprinting.
An example of a rare job posting (Indeed) in academia is for a Director in the Center for Archaeological Research a Missouri State University. The successful hire serves as the primary point of contact for clients and provides information to clients, University personnel, students, and the public about research. The university accepts applicants with a minimum of a master’s degree in archaeology, anthropology, or related field.
The highest number of job openings exists in the private sector with research, consulting, and environmental companies and firms. You may find a job in teaching at the community college level but not so at colleges and universities. As mentioned above, these competitive positions in academia are reserved for those with a doctorate. The BLS statistics confirm this statement – most jobs in archaeology/anthropology are in consulting and research services.