Topic ID #30576 - posted 1/7/2014 2:49 PM

Federal Archaeology Jobs


I thought some people might be interested in this sort of information as some of you might be considering a archaeology job with the US Feds.

There are (as of 2013) roughly 1200 permanent-ish ( I explain in the post) jobs and 300+ seasonal jobs. Here is some more information-

Over the next couple of months I will be digging into all sorts of stats on Fed jobs e.g. pay, where they are, how many people get hired a year, etc. I will post more as I get the information.


Post ID#20387 - replied 1/8/2014 1:36 AM

Jennifer Palmer

Good info. I've tried to track such numbers down in the past, and it's tough. You may have better luck inquiring by each agency. I remember the NPS posted their numbers in the past.

The distinction between the Archeologist (0193) and Archeological Technician (0102) series is probably confusing to some folks. From what I've seen the technician positions only go up to GS-07 (maybe they are higher, but I've never seen such a posting). I worked at one agency where there were 0193 positions advertised for GS-05s but this seems to be rarer and the technician slots are generally reserved for the lower grades. To add to the confusion, sometimes archaeologists (er archeologists) fall under "Cultural Resource Technician" but these slots seem to be few.

Post ID#20388 - replied 1/8/2014 1:53 AM


There is actually one or two GS-09 for (0102) and for some reason a few of them are permanent full time employment too. Yeah there are a few GS-05s for the 0193 position too but very rare. For the most part as you say GS7 and below for the techs (lots of GS5s). I will get around to putting up all those numbers for everyone to see.

Post ID#20390 - replied 1/10/2014 12:00 PM


Here is a look at GS- what's it mean, how can it help with your job searches, etc.

PS- hopefully this clears up anyone's confusion about the difference between the positions i.e. 0102 are entry/training positions most actual permanent archaeologists are 0193.

Post ID#20391 - replied 1/11/2014 8:07 AM


And some agencies/regions distinguish between technician experience and professional experience. One does not equate to the other. For example, as some of the qualifications for a 0193-GS-9 is to work for one year at a grade level below, so a GS-7. But the tech 0102 series GS-7 experience will not count towards that qualification. 

Post ID#20398 - replied 1/14/2014 11:57 AM


I can understand the functional differences of the titles, but I find it concerning that I may also meet barriers within narrow field inside the federal system.  Would it theoretically be as difficult to transition from 0193 to 0102 or 0199 titles?  My current 0193 title entails a lot of both field and office/lab duties, but I don't like the idea that experience earned under one may not even make to consideration for another due to "streamlined" HR processes. 

Post ID#20399 - replied 1/14/2014 12:11 PM

Jennifer Palmer

Regarding the jump between job series, I can only speak for my own experience. I worked for two seasons as a GS-07 (0193 Archeologist) and two seasons as a GS-05 (0102 Archeological Technician). Honestly I found little difference in my job duties other than being a field supervisor as a GS-07 (over a crew of 2-3). I have heard that what series you put your time in may make a difference. In other words, working several years as an Archeological Technician (0102) may not count as much as having worked that time as an Archeologist (0193) if you were applying for a higher-grade professional series (0193) position. In practice, I'm not sure how much of a difference this really makes. Most federal archaeologists I've worked with have far exceeded the base qualifications called for by their position.

Post ID#20400 - replied 1/16/2014 7:21 AM


Here is some info on pay, current and past, for Federal Archaeologists-

Post ID#20431 - replied 2/12/2014 5:23 AM


The main difference between 0193 and 0102 is that 0102 tops out at GS-09 and is generally non-supervisory. In theory, with 0193, you can end up in upper management with a GS-15 (though not many actually do and these positions are pretty much purely administrative).

Post ID#20440 - replied 2/21/2014 3:19 AM

Jennifer Palmer


Post ID#20442 - replied 2/28/2014 6:17 PM


Wow, that GS-9 is a classic "we already know who we want to hire" job if I ever saw one. Open period of 7 days, and requires one year of being a mythical GS-8 arch tech. To be qualified based on experience for a GS-9 in our field it requires one year as a GS-7. I'm sure the total number of Archs who've ever worked as a GS-8 in the applicant pool can be counted on one hand.

Post ID#20444 - replied 3/1/2014 1:52 PM


For those trying to get a federal position like a GS-07 or GS-09 check out this free 25 page government pdf publication  link click on Download this publication for FREE (PDF format) along the side it shows you how to format your vita or resume to get a government job.  Look at page 15 under work experience.  Below is what is states:

"For each past job, give the
standard information found in most resumes. Specifically, state the job title, starting and ending dates (including month and year), employer's name and address (or write “self employed,” if that applies), and major duties and accomplishments. In addition to that information, a resume for a Federal job also must show the average number of hours worked per week or simply state “full time”; salary or wage earned; supervisor's name, address, and telephone number; and whether your most recent supervisor may be contacted. If you have had past jobs in the Federal Government, include the occupational series numbers and the starting and ending grades of those positions."

I used to state fulltime and forget to put the words 40 hours per week and would not get credit for my overtime worked like if I was doing 5 tens, state 50 hours to get the credit of work done.  This will get you 25 percent faster to the next 1 year required like from GS-07 to GS-09.  When I was getting my resume rejected by the OPM person looking at the resume I called them and asked them why they told me they would only give credit of 1 hour per week if I didn't state 40hrs even with the words fulltime.  I can see why people love the feds. 

Post ID#20448 - replied 3/7/2014 9:43 PM


@whatamIdoing That position closed on a Friday night and by Monday morning I received my "Eligible but not among the most qualified" notice. That had to be the fast cert list formation on record.

Post ID#20450 - replied 3/9/2014 7:36 PM


even knowing what this "public" opening was from the get go, that's crazy fast

Post ID#20451 - replied 3/10/2014 4:05 AM


I don't waste my time applying for fed positions anymore, unless someone tells me to do so.  For specialized fields, the process is garbage. 

Post ID#20485 - replied 4/25/2014 11:47 AM


You should of seen the response I got from a Fed job I applied for a month ago: "You were referred to the selecting committee in the Highest Qualified category; however, the selecting committee has chosen not to hire from this group." My first thought was, "they decided to go with the poorly qualified group?" Ha!

I'm sure they meant to say the typical "despite the fact that you were in the highest qualified category, we already have enough minimally qualified veterans already apply."

Post ID#20487 - replied 4/26/2014 2:39 PM


kendoggg, I got almost that exact same response to a job I applied for at Fort Irwin.  I should have known better since it was on a short suspense.  Usually if it is open for a week, the "hiring official" has somebody in mind.

Post ID#20488 - replied 4/29/2014 9:58 AM


I don’t understand the problem about applying to a government position if you qualify for the position weather it’s open for a few days or as long as months; if your able to do the job physically, willing to do what is described in job announcement as to hazards involved, have the time to fill out the application correctly and do all the requirements that an employer asks. 

This is what usually happens in a government selection process is not everyone that applies to a job announcement will be rated Eligible among the most qualified from the OPM which is sent on to the selection panel, not everyone Eligible among the most qualified will get an interview for the job from the selection panel and lastly not everyone that was interviewed for the position will be offered a job after the interview panel makes a candidate selection.

When you’re rated Eligible among the most qualified you should be proud for that accomplishment you beat out a large percent of the other job candidates that have applied to the job announcement that you applied for.  If you get an interview you’re among the top 1 percent and lastly if you get offered the job after the interview it’s even better you got a job you really wanted and the employer and selection panel got the best candidate for the position unless there was some favoritism involved which is unlikely because the selection panel is made up of the people who interviewed you each with one vote.

My conclusion is nothing ventured is nothing gained you should so take the effort to apply for every position your interested in.

Post ID#20489 - replied 4/29/2014 10:25 AM


My experience with the Fed game is the same as everyone else has mentioned.  If you aren't a former military or former Fed already, you aren't getting a position unless its some NTE 1 year in Wyoming or something.

Starting at the bottom is all well and good, but if you spent your early career in private side CRM and have a spouse or family....and no military points.... you ain't getting that job.

Nothing ventured; nothing gained... maybe.   Waste of Time.... most likely.

Post ID#20536 - replied 7/21/2014 5:55 PM


First post!

I am an archaeologist with a GS-12 job. Shock! And I came in to the job with zero, I repeat zero, previous federal service. Also, I am not a vet and had no other preferential points to get in. I am an archaeologist with a Masters and 15 years experience. I thought for a while like many of the people posting here that I would NEVER get a job with the federal government. But I learned a few things that may be helpful to others and I will share them.

1) Don't just search on USA Jobs for ones with "Archaeologist" in the title. Look for archeology, archaeology and archeologist as well.

2) Also, look for jobs by searching "NEPA." If you dont know what NEPA is, go do you're homework. It is extremely important for NEPA jobs to have an SOI qualified archaeologist on staff (or historian, or architectural historian). There is alot you can learn on the ACHP website. Check it out.

3) Also search the following: advanced search within Dept of Interior, or Forest Service or EPA or etc. All these agencies will have NEPA people and they might not easily show up under the position title "archeologist" or something to that effect. Archaeologists will just fall in with the rest of the "Environmental Protection Specialists" or something similar.

3) Keep an eye out for jobs that say, "Excepted Service." I had no idea what that meant but you can read about it here:

4) Branch out laterally for a little while. Sometimes you need to move sideways to move up. I found a job as an analyst in law enforcement as they were looking for someone who could analyze data and work on policy. An archaeology degree makes people excellent scientists/researchers and it shows. I ended up working on grants. Which I now review from the other side for ground disturbance and do SHPO/THPO consultations.

5) Learn GIS. It helps on the resume and will probably make you look that much better for the cert list. ESRI has alot of free classes and enough to at least state you have a basic knowledge.

6) I work for FEMA and FEMA has a cadre of whats called, "Reservists." Its a way to get a start in the federal system. And they are usually hiring. They position may be called Environmental Specialists or Environmental and Historic Preservation Specialists, but there is a strong need for archaeologists to do site visits with Public Assistance teams and recordation (as well as biologists, historians, ecologists, floodplain specialists, etc). Be warned you may be traveling all over the country at a moments notice but what archaeologist doesnt anyways.

I hope someone out there finds this useful. They were tips that helped me and just looking to pass them along.

Post ID#20541 - replied 7/25/2014 2:17 AM

Jennifer Palmer

Some good advice! I do try to hit all the search terms (archeology, archaeology, cultural resource, historic preservation etc) when posting ads here from USAJOBS. There are occasionally ones I do not forward, such as local ICTAP positions. Been debating whether or not to post status or agency employee-only positions. If your heart is set on a federal job, your best bet is to set up your own search query on USAJOBS so new posts are e-mailed to you.

Post ID#20543 - replied 8/11/2014 12:27 PM



I have seen these CORE positions with FEMA.  I understand that they do not give you any competitive status when reapplying with the government.  These positions are also term.  Would you care to give your impressions of this program and do CORE employees tend to become full-fledged PFT employees or let go at the end of their term?

These sound more like contractors, but with government benefits for a limited time.

Post ID#20548 - replied 8/24/2014 3:40 PM


Yes, you are correct in that neither the Reservist position nor the CORE (Cadre of On Call Response/Recovery Employment) position have competitive status. So when it comes to applying for another federal job I am in the same boat as everyone who has never had a federal job or military experience. And, yes, they are 2 year term positions. However, in my experience (and everyone I have talked to) there is a justification made every 2 years by the supervisor on why the position is still required and it is renewed. No action on the employees part. I know some who have been a CORE for 8 years+ as the position is still necessary. It mainly has to do with fund codes and which pot o' money one is being paid through. I am a CORE and thus under Stafford Act funds.

One other important item to mention is that as a CORE I get almost all the benefits of a Permanent Full Time or Temporary Full Time employee. I just cant be in the Federal employee union. Otherwise, I get the same health care options, retirement plans, etc. Reservists have also recently received the option to have health care benefits as well (when deployed).

Regarding the transition to PFT's, these positions are a bit scarce at least in FEMA. However, in my opinion the experience you get as a CORE gives you those key experiences which bump you up on the cert list if you were to apply for one. But generally speaking, I believe people simply keep getting renewed as CORE's over and over again. The disaster work load isn't going anywhere and actually is growing due to project closeouts with Katrina, Sandy, and other federal declarations.


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