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The Register values on-going professional development, however, the proposal to require continuing education credits has been tabled by the Board of Directors due to the COVID-19 crisis. We will revisit this issue in the fall or whenever it seems appropriate to do so. No continuing education credits will be required at this time.

Check out Career Paths in Archaeology (PDF) by Register Communications Director Dina Rivera and Professional Development Chair, Matt Emerson!


The Register of Professional Archaeologists recognizes that archaeological training is a lifelong endeavor. The Register’s code of conduct states that it is an archaeologist’s responsibility to “stay informed and knowledgeable about developments in her/his field or fields of specialization” (2.1.b) and that an archaeologist shall not “undertake any research that affects the archaeological resource base for which she/he is not qualified” (1.2.d). To meet these requirements, archaeologists must continue to learn long after acquiring their graduate degree and RPA recognition. It is an archaeologist’s duty to stay abreast of changes in field practices, technological innovations, analytical techniques, legal requirements, and ethical conduct.

The Register does not require demonstrations of continuing professional education (CPE) to maintain recognition as a Registered Professional Archaeologist (RPA). Instead, as a service to RPAs and the discipline, the Register certifies CPE programs such as training courses, workshops, and other learning activities that meet the Register’s mission of improving archaeological standards and conduct. The Register is not a CPE provider and derives no financial benefit from CPE program certification.

The Register invites providers of training courses or other professional development programs to participate in the Register’s CPE initiative by applying for certification of educational opportunities. In certifying the training, RPA will inform the RPAs that the professional training opportunity has been reviewed by the Register and that it meets the standards of the Register. RPA will post CPE program information on the RPA website and inform the RPA electronic mail list of the opportunity.


Archaeology today is much more than finding, excavating, and analyzing sites and artifacts. Archaeologists are involved in activities ranging from tribal consultation and expert witnessing to DNA analysis and digital archiving. Many of these activities cross over into other fields, such as architectural history, law, Native American and indigenous studies, anthropology, museum studies, linguistics and philology, geology, soil science, public policy, remote sensing, and so on. We expect this dynamic diversification to continue. Instead of trying to define the scope of archaeological activities, the Register has established a CPE committee to vet prospective CPE programs.


Register-certified CPE programs must meet the following six criteria:

  • Educational Focus: All CPE programs must focus on learning. CPE programs may include workshops, trainings, classes and other suitable formats. The length, depth, venue, and manner of instruction must be appropriate for the subject matter and stated learning objectives.

  • Expert Instructors: All instructors must be subject matter experts. An expert is defined by the Register as a professional who has mastery of the method and theory of the subject matter as demonstrated in practice, teaching, research, or publication. Instructors also must demonstrate proficiency in the specific principles of the activity being taught. In team-taught programs, instructors must be subject-matter experts in the field(s) for which they are responsible.

  • Lack of Commercialism: CPE instructional materials must be for educational purposes. Program materials promoting goods or services are unacceptable.

  • Non Discrimination: CPE programs must be open to all RPAs eligible to participate. Certain CPE programs may require prospective participants to demonstrate knowledge or proficiencies prior to enrollment.

  • CPE Credit: CPE programs may range from short courses completed in hours, to intensive field, class, or laboratory training that take days or weeks to finish. The Register recognizes the value of documenting both successful CPE completion and the program scope and intensity. One hour of CPE credit will be given for each hour of program training, up to a maximum of eight hours per day and 40 hours per week. Successful completion of the program will be recognized with a certificate of completion.

  • Evaluation: All CPE programs must submit to the Register copies of original attendance logs and participant evaluations of CPE content and delivery. The submission to the Register must specify the RPA or RPAs who successfully completed the program and must be received by the Register within 20 days of CPE program completion. The Register may, upon review of the submission and other materials, ask for modifications to the program or withdraw Register certification for the CPE program.


In presenting your objectives, keep the following questions in mind:

  • How does this activity enhance an RPA’s ability to meet the Register’s code of conduct and its standards of research performance?
  • What are the specific learning objectives?
  • How does the activity meet those learning objectives?
  • How will you measure a participant's success in mastering these objectives?


An archaeologist wishing to be an instructor must meet the following criteria:

  • Be listed in good standing with the Register (i.e., be a current, active RPA)
  • Demonstrate expertise in the subject matter as evidenced in a curriculum vitae

The CPE committee may at its discretion request information such as publications, letters of reference, or certifications. An exemption for “1.” may be requested if the workshop is not archaeological in matter.

A non-archaeologist wishing to be an instructor must meet the following criteria:
  • Demonstrate professional credentials by submitting certification, registration, or license (as appropriate)
  • Demonstrate expertise in the subject matter, as evidenced in a curriculum vitae
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the relevance of CPE activity to archaeologists through a letter of support from an RPA

The CPE committee may at its discretion request information such as publications or letters of reference. The Register strongly suggests that program instructors who are non-archaeologists consider co-teaching the activity with an RPA.


It is the instructor’s responsibility to ensure that she/he has the right to use images, reading materials, handouts, software, etc. and that sources are properly credited. The Register reserves the right to have instructors submit such permissions to the Register’s business office.


All certified CPE programs will be listed on the Register’s website and be open to all RPAs that meet eligibility requirements. Prerequisites and the number of CPE credit hours offered will be identified on the Register’s website. Instructors are free to advertise elsewhere and to invite non-RPAs to participate, as appropriate.


Register of Professional Archaeologists
411 East Northfield Drive, Box 9
Brownsburg, IN  46112

Phone: (317) 798-3001

Grievance Hotline: (410) 246-2150

You do not have to be an RPA/RA to file a Grievance


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