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How to apply

Interested in joining the Register of Professional Archaeologists? Please refer to the following break down of the application process to understand which registrant category you should apply for based on your educational and professional experience.

1.  Do I register as an RPA or an RA?

The Register of Professional Archaeologists has two professional designations: the RPA (Registered Professional Archaeologist) and the RA (Registered Archaeologist). While RPA designation requires an advanced degree in addition to evidence of archaeological experience, the Register recognizes that not all career archaeologists have obtained an advanced degree and instead have terminated their education at the BA level. Archaeologists practicing full-time in our profession should have the opportunity to register and to demonstrate to employers, clients, and the broader profession that they adhere to the Code of Conduct and Standards for Research Performance, whether or not they have an advanced degree. The Registered Archaeologist (RA) Category is designed to make our professional standards inclusive of those who meet the requirements for registration, but who have not completed an advanced degree.

If you are an RA in good standing, and would like to apply for RPA status, follow the instructions for RPA below.


Accept the organization’s Code and Standards. The applicant must accept and agree to abide by the standards the Code of Conduct, Standards of Research Performance, and Grievance Procedures of the Register of Professional Archaeologists.



  • The applicant must possess an advanced degree (such as an M.A., M.S., Ph.D., or equivalent) in archaeology, anthropology, classics, or another germane discipline with a specialization in archaeology from an accredited institution.

  • Design, execute, and report on archaeological research and analysis in a thesis, dissertation, or equivalent documents. The report must include substantive data analysis by the applicant directed towards an explicit archaeological research problem.


  • The applicant must hold a bachelor’s degree in archaeology or a related field from an accredited institution. The degree must be in archaeology, anthropology, classics, or another germane discipline with a specialization in archaeology.

  • Have at least two years of supervised work experience within the archaeological field. Accepted experience includes employment, internship, laboratory work, or field work. Participation in a field school for credit does NOT meet this qualification.

  • Has reported on professional archaeological investigations in a thesis or equivalent professional documents that must include, at a minimum, descriptive analyses by the applicant.

2.  What documents do I need to submit with my application?


  • A completed online application;
  • An Official Transcript showing both coursework and degree(s) completed (Note: unofficial transcripts will NOT be accepted); and
  • A PDF of the thesis, dissertation , or equivalent report or series of reports that demonstrate the applicant’s design, execution of research, and substantive data analysis on an archaeological topic.



  • A CV/Resume

Please note: Applicants who have an advanced degree but attended an  Advanced Degree with No Thesis or Non-Qualifying Thesis program or completed a thesis/dissertation that does not include both archaeological research problem focus and substantive data analysis must also:

  • complete Section IV of the application (detailed documentation of 52 weeks of excavation, survey, and laboratory experience, including 20 weeks of supervisory research experience); and

  • submit up to two project reports they have authored that demonstrate problem focus and data analysis equivalent to that required for a thesis or dissertation. Descriptive reports, including standard survey reports, cannot be accepted as thesis equivalents.


  • A CV or resume that documents at least two years of supervised work experience, including date(s), position(s), and duties.

  • Registered Archaeologist applicants are required to upload an RA Sponsorship Form with their application. The RA Sponsorship Form must be completed by an active RPA who sponsors the applicant and endorses their application.

3.  What are the Application and Annual Fees?


There is a $55 fee due at the time of application. The application fee is waived for applicants who have received their degree within the six (6) months prior to application submission. Application fee is also waved for RAs in good standing who apply for RPA status.



  • $75 for members of our sponsoring organizations (AIA, AAA, SHA, SAA)
  • $95 for members of affiliated societies who are not otherwise members of a sponsoring organization
  • $135 for unaffiliated individuals


  • $50 for members of our sponsoring organizations (AIA, AAA, SHA, SAA)
  • $65 for members of affiliated societies who are not otherwise members of a sponsoring organization
  • $99 for unaffiliated individuals


Files of ALL required documentation must be included at the time of application submission. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Click below to view .pdf samples of the applications. 

You can expect to receive email notification regarding the status of your application within 60 days.

View Sample Applications: 
RPA Sample Application (Short Form - MA with thesis)
RPA Sample Application (Long Form - MA without thesis)

RA Sample Application (BA with or without thesis)

Student/Early Career Application

Please note that ALL documentation must be submitted in PDF format and that the submitted transcript must be an OFFICIAL one that confirms both coursework in archaeology and degree(s) awarded.  We suggest having those documents ready before starting the application.



Please refer to the Registration FAQ page.

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

Email: info@rpanet.org

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