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Welcome to the Register of Professional Archaeologists
Field School Certification program!

RPA actively advocates the professional growth of all archaeologists, and believes that a strong professional career should begin with a sound introduction to archaeological field methods. Archaeological field schools serve as primary introduction to the discipline. The RPA believes that certification of archaeology field schools will strengthen these important training and learning contexts by requiring certain standards for basic research methodologies, field experiences, reporting of results, and time devoted to field school activities.




  1. The Director or Principal Investigator (PI) of the field program must be RPA-certified by the beginning of the field school program. The Director or PI should have primary responsibility for direct supervision of field school participants in the field and in the laboratory.

    1. The Director or PI must be affiliated with an institution of higher education, cultural resource management archaeology company, or other institution that meets the "Sponsor" criteria outlined below.

    2. Assistant(s)/Supervisor(s) must be qualified by completion of at least one field school which meets the RPA certification guidelines or by an equivalent combination of field and laboratory experiences as determined by the field school Director.

    3. Supervisors should be responsible for no more than 6-10 students, with an ideal student:supervisor ration of not more than 6:1.

  2. The Register realizes that field school research programs include a wide variety of research objectives, field methods, and theoretical perspectives. For that reason, we do not list a set of procedures that all field schools must follow. We do, however, list a number of procedures required of certified field schools if they employ particular field methods.

  3. All field schools are expected to produce a report summarizing their findings within one (1) calendar year of the end of the field school. A report must be produced for each year a field school is conducted. The report should be accessible to the research community.

  4. Field school duration has a direct influence on the education and training process. Field schools should provide at least four weeks of field experience including both field and laboratory training during the course of the program.

  5. To be considered for RPA certification, field school directors must submit an Application Questionnaire, along with a course syllabus and research design. There is a processing fee of $35.

  6. Field schools will be certified for two years. Re-certification after the end of the second certification year will require completion of a new application form.
To learn more about the standards that RPA-certified field schools are expected to uphold, read the full Guidelines and Standards for Archaeological Field Schools.


Apply Today!

If you would like to submit an application to attain RPA certification for your field school, you may now submit an application entirely online by filling out the Online Application for RPA Field School Certification Form.



Click here to begin your online application



Applicants who prefer mailing the application


Alternatively, you may complete a physical Field School Application form and mail it to RPA Headquarters. Click here to download the application.

Please submit your application to Dawn R. Lipsey, who will process your request and submit your application to the Field School Certification Committee. Mail all correspondence to:

RPA Headquarters
3601 E. Joppa Road
Baltimore, MD 21234

If you have any questions about the Field School Certification program, feel free to contact RPA Headquarters via email ( or phone (410-931-8100).


Field School Resources

  • If you would like to view the full list of field schools that are currently certified by the Register of Professional Archaeologists, click here.

  • For information on field school scholarships, including how to apply and details about previous scholarship recipients, click here.


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