Paul Courtney wrote, in part:
 OK an MA doesn't necessarily mean you are a good archaeologist (some of
the cleverest people I know haven't got a degree) but it's an employer's
market. However, being cynical I suspect most employers like cheap and
quiet people rather than talent anyway.

This employer, an American, prefers talented, motivated folks who enjoy
challenges, can write well, attend to details, work as team members, and
who are willing to work as many hours a week as necessary to make a
program a success. The trade-off: they get to learn new skills and build
their resumes. And they get paid as much as the market will bear. Those
who do not have an advanced degree should actively pursue one--advanced
degrees suggest a commitment to the field and they are all important in
securing grants and contracts.

In the USA, earning a baccalaureate in anthropology does not qualify one
as an archaeologist. Even extensive experience makes one little more
than a technician, and technicians in most fields tend not to be well
paid. Scientists and writers--or perhaps more accurately, scientists who
can write--tend to earn higher salaries. American universities turn out
thousands of B.A.s in history, but surely no one expects these graduates
to become historians, making at least a living wage, upon graduation.
Most, like most anthropology students, go into other fields with little
or no bearing on their undergraduate education. As Paul Courtney pointed
out, the American system promotes the liberal arts--it provides a basic
cultural education and, when it works well, teaches students how to
think and how to learn.

Jim Gibb
The Lost Towns of Anne Arundel Project
Annapolis, Maryland USA