Log in

Log in

field school certification

The Register of Professional Archaeologists 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. We believe 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.

2021 Deadlines 

  • Application submittal deadline- Mar 1, April 1, June 1, July 1
  • Notification date (within 30 days of submittal)
  • (This application includes consideration for Field School Scholarships)

What is the Register's Field School Certification?

Certifying your field school with the Register of Professional Archaeologists means that your field school has met a set of professional standards covering the following five areas:

  • Purpose. The field school must have both an explicit research design and an explicit curriculum design that integrates research with student education.

  • Personnel. The Director or Principal Investigator of the field school must be certified as an RPA.

  • Operational Procedure. The field school must include formal instruction on field techniques including excavation, survey, and laboratory work.

  • Field Procedure. The field school must include proper data recovery and recording techniques.

  • Sponsor. The sponsoring institution must provide appropriate resources for laboratory work, curation, and publication/distribution of the research results.

Why Certify your field school?

Field schools are the training ground for the next generation of archaeologists and an important public face of archaeology. They should display our discipline’s highest standards of research and site stewardship. Both students and prospective employers can be confident that a certified field school meets established professional standards.

Benefits of certification include:

  • National recognition of your field school’s high standards of student training and site recording.
  • Advertisement of your field school on the organization’s and affiliated-organization’s web sites.
  • Eligibility for the student field school scholarships.

program qualifications & requirements

  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.

  2. The Register of Professional Archaeologists 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 Online Application, completing all required fields. 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.

Field School Certification Application

Before applying, make sure to read the our Guidelines and Standards for Field Schools in order to make sure your field school meets the published guidelines.

In order for Register to certify a field school, we must make a determination if the proposed program meets the published guidelines and standards. In order to do this, simply complete the online application and submit it, along with the application processing fee of $35. If approved, 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.


Once the Certification Committee has reviewed your application, you will be notified of the results. If you application is approved, you can publicize you field school as being Certified by the Register for Professional Archaeologists.


    Click here to access the application


    Full List of Register-Certified Field Schools

    Certified Field School Scholarships Info


    If you have any questions about the Field School Certification program, please contact us at

    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


    © Copyright 2020. All rights reserved.

    Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software