Archaeology is a profession that people tend to enter because they have a real passion for it. It’s not a career option that people tend to drift in to. At the bottom end of the career ladder salaries are often quite low, and many positions can be on set-period contracts, and even higher up the career ladder, salaries are frequently lower than in correspondingly similar positions in other fields of employment. The up-side of this is that you have a job that is the envy of many others, a great talking point, and an interesting position in which to spend your working career.
So it isn’t really a subject you would recommend?
On the contrary, archaeology offers a sturdy foundation for many careers. Those who are really keen often make their way eventually, but the rewards lie in intellectual satisfaction, not wealth. If you are looking for a big salary or a company car, don’t be a professional archaeologist but that need not stop you from studying the subject. A university degree in archaeology bridges practical and theoretical skills, calls for practice in the collection and analysis of data, and is a good foundation for other careers because it combines literacy and numeracy, arts and sciences. Archaeologists are often the most versatile and skilled of employees with excellent transferable employment skills. For those who truly love their subject however, archaeology is often a job they will do for life. The specific path they take through their career may develop and change over the years because there are plenty of avenues to be explored.
The section on archaeologists’ job roles in the ‘How do I become and archaeologist’ FAQ may also help answer your questions.
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