How To Become an Archaeologist In Australia: Explained

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Students want to know how to become archaeologists in Australia.


Are you wondering whether becoming an archeologist is your right career choice?


Archaeologists uncover and research the history of humanity. They add substantial value to the economy and community with the help of their findings. These specialists also look for patterns and determine why and how human behaviour has changed.


To become an archaeologist in Australia, you must commit to higher education, training, and perseverance. Individuals with a passion for archaeology may find this job gratifying.


In the post below, you will learn about becoming an archaeologist in Australia, including the education requirements, courses, degrees, qualifications, tasks, salary, and much more.



1. What Does an Archaeologist Do?


Archaeologists continue to deal with the antiques and remains of long-dead societies. Still, they do it under rigorous conditions. Today, most of the work conducted by archaeologists is in a lab setting.


They spend much time photographing fragments of discovered artefacts in great detail. Furthermore, they use microscopic imaging equipment to examine these artefacts closely. Then, the archaeologist classifies artefacts based on their age and who might have used or created them. 


This detail-oriented work can sometimes be tedious, take several months, and require collaboration with others in the industry. Archaeologists also participate in fieldwork, often for people working in civil engineeringconstruction, or surveying companies.


You need a university degree in to become an archaeologist. Most archaeologists begin their careers as students to obtain practical experience. Only a few fortunate and highly qualified individuals in this area continue in academia and perform field research on ancient civilisations. 


However, it is more likely that archaeologists work in the private sector under public work or engineering departments, where fieldwork is much more localised.



2. Major Duties and Tasks of an Archaeologist


  • Prepare material for publication.

  • Carry out and organise field surveys, excavations, and surface collections.

  • Liaise with non-Indigenous and indigenous community groups.

  • Document the information obtained from the findings in a concise report

  • Draw or photograph artefacts and features during post-excavation or on-site analysis.

  • Conserve, clean, restore, display, and reconstruct material found at archaeological sites.

  • Assess building applications when a specialist review is needed.

  • In a concise report, document the information collected from the findings.

  • Analyse results using various approaches, such as chemical and physical techniques and documentary investigation.

  • Map, survey, and record archaeological sites.

  • Advise groups and individuals on heritage matters, including legal provisions and conservation options.

  • Create virtual simulations of how archaeological sites and artifacts might have appeared in the past.

  • Carry out documentation, examination, and preservation of artifacts.

  • Perform interpretation and analysis of archaeological findings and data.

  • Use aerial photography to find appropriate areas for digging and excavation of artifacts.

  • Conduct fieldwork with tools such as brushes, pickaxes, and bulldozers.



3. Where Do Archaeologists Work in Australia?


Archaeologists do everything from locating and excavating ancient sites to conducting rigorous laboratory analyses of artefacts and producing books and papers about their research.


Australian archaeologists specialise in the following three primary subfields: historical, indigenous, and maritime. 


Most archaeologists in Australia work for organisations to locate, dig, and record sites affected mainly by development initiatives like construction and mining. 


Here are some of the organisations archaeologists work for:


  • Archaeological consulting firms

  • Universities

  • Environmental/engineering consultants

  • Large corporations like resources and mining companies

  • Museums

  • Aboriginal Land Councils

  • Local, state, and federal-level government departments, such as Environmental Protection, Heritage Planning & Development, Mining and Energy, Forestry, and National Parks


Note: Every week, prominent Australian newspapers publish archaeologist jobs in Australia. It will help if you look for employment titles like Cultural Heritage Officer, Consultant, Heritage Consultant, and Field Assistant, in addition to common ones like an archaeologist. 


Apart from working in Australia, Australian archaeologists may work on a variety of projects all around the world.



4. Steps To Become an Archaeologist In Australia


You must complete some level of university study to enter any archaeological field. Also, the road to employment may differ, depending on your professional ambitions. 


Here are some common steps you can follow to become an archaeologist in Australia:



Step 1: Become Eligible To Attend University


All universities in Australia need a Senior Secondary Certificate of Education and, in most cases, a passing grade in English. You must complete Year 12 of high school to complete this qualification. 


You can also undertake tertiary preparation and equivalency programs offered by some universities and tertiary education institutions like TAFE.



Step 2: Earn A Bachelor's Degree


Many institutions around the country provide bachelor's degrees in archaeology and other related fields. Archeology is generally a vital component of a more extensive degree program, such as a Bachelor of Social Science or Bachelor of Arts. 


These degrees usually take three to four years of full-time study. You might also have to pick another minor area of study to gain the required course credits for this degree.


Most archaeology undergraduate programs provide students with hands-on experience via fieldwork programs and laboratory classes.



Step 3: Complete an Internship or Volunteer Work


You should do an internship or volunteer work in an archaeology-related field to supplement your academic education. This is incredibly useful when planning to start a PhD program or applying for paid jobs.


Government agencies, museums, and archaeological groups are familiar places to look for internships.


The ANCATL (Australian National Committee for Archaeology Teaching and Learning) and the Australian Archaeological Association have developed a helpful Australian Archaeology Skills Passport system. It enables professionals and students to monitor their activities and training. 


All in all, the passport assists you in tracking your progress in your career and focusing on your studies.



Step 4: Go For Postgraduate Study


You may pursue postgraduate archaeology studies based on your professional goals and interests. However, a master's degree is not mandatory as the Australian Archaeological Association recommends only a three-year degree for those interested in working in the cultural heritage management industry.


Many institutions offer Masters's and Graduate Certificate programs to help you expand your practical and theoretical skills. Furthermore, a Master of Philosophy or a Master of Museum Studies can be appropriate, particularly if you want to be a full-time researcher or work at a museum.



Step 5: Consider a Doctorate


After that, you may apply to pursue a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in your chosen field, which is the most advanced level of study available and takes around three years to complete.


This qualification requires you to first apply to the university of your choice and obtain their approval before you begin your research. Furthermore, you must fulfil basic educational requirements as part of this procedure. 


You may also be required to submit a research proposal, including methodology, the significance of the study, and the thesis. In most cases, the university provides you with income and funds during your research process.



Step 6: Create Your Cover Letter (CV)


A professional CV (Cover Letter) highlighting your abilities, relevant education, and experience can positively impact your prospective employer. When creating your CV, focus on your archaeological experience and the specific area in which you wish to advance your career.


For instance, when applying for a post as a historical archaeologist, try mentioning your field experience in the CV instead of your teaching experience.



Step 7: Seek Employment


After earning your bachelor's and master's degrees, you can look for work in your field of interest. Starting a suitable job after completing your archaeology studies is crucial to advancing your career and gaining experience


Here are a few entry-level archaeologist jobs in Australia that you can apply for:


  • Cultural resource specialist

  • Associate archaeologist

  • Excavation technician

  • Collections manager

  • Heritage consultant

  • Historic preservation officer

  • Laboratory technician



5. What Skills Do You Need To Become An Archaeologist In Australia?


If you want to become an archaeologist, you need to have or acquire specific abilities that will help you succeed in your job. As an archaeologist, you should be able to interpret and analyse data using analytical skills and scientific concepts.


In addition, critical thinking skills assist the archaeologist in concluding evidence gathered via experiments and field observations during research. They should also possess excellent communication skills to present their research reports and findings to governmental organisations, corporations, the public, and other archaeologists.


Besides, they may even work in the field in distant areas, requiring plenty of physical stamina.


Here are some common skills needed to become an archaeologist:


  • The ability to effectively work with other professionals.

  • Enthusiasm and a desire to keep up with archaeology's developments.

  • Master in using a variety of equipment and tools.

  • Excellent teamwork abilities, especially during fieldwork.

  • Well-organised approach while paying close attention to the smallest details.

  • Additional communication skills and the ability to collaborate successfully with other professionals.

  • Focus and self-motivation.

  • Good IT skills.

  • Dedication and patience.

  • A calm and analytical mind with a keen interest in archaeology.



6. Can You Study Archaeology Online in Australia?


Yes, you can study archaeology online in Australia. However, only a few institutions in Australia offer online courses and provide an excellent academic environment for you to conduct research at multiple levels. 


Some of the Australian universities that offer online archaeology courses include the following:




7. How To Become an Archaeologist Without A Degree?


Just like you cannot become a doctor without a degree, it's the same with archaeology. You cannot pursue a career in archaeology without a relevant degree.


However, you can take it as a passion and do independent research. If you discover something remarkable, you will surely get credit for it.



8. How Long Does It Take To Become An Archaeologist In Australia?


Education and field experience, such as an internship and volunteer fieldwork, are both required to become an archaeologist in Australia. To be an archaeologist, you need to obtain a three-year bachelor's degree and some fieldwork experience.


Additionally, a two-year master's degree is standard for this area. It takes around 5 to 6 years to meet field experience and education requirements and become an archaeologist in Australia.



9. How Much Does an Archaeologist Earn In Australia?


Like other occupations, archaeology also has a range of pay scales that may vary based on the sector and employer. According to Payscale, the average archaeologist's salary in Australia is between AU$52,000 to AU$143,000 per annum.


Now that you know everything about how to become an archaeologist in Australia, you are ready to explore this exciting field and pursue the career of your dreams.


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