Cultural Resource Management and Policy

Cultural resources management is concerned with the preservation, documentation and analysis of cultural resources. Read further for more on career opportunities, required education and training, job prospects and earning potential.

Is Cultural Resources Management and Policy for Me?

Career Overview

With the right graduate degree or certificate, a discerning eye for details and the versatility to handle tasks both indoors and in the field, you could pursue the diverse opportunities in cultural resources management. As an architectural historian or historic preservation consultant, you'd survey buildings or sites to determine their cultural value. As an architectural conservator, you'd also do surveying, but your work would include determining the proper techniques for restoration and repair. You could also become a craftsman and perform the actual restoration.

Additional Job Possibilities

Being a cultural resources lawyer, where you'd work with property owners, government officials and citizens regarding the National Historic Preservation Act, might be a good choice if you're interested in public policy. Other career options are archaeologist, museum conservator, archivist, museum technician and museum curator.

Employment Information

You can expect good job opportunities for most professions in cultural resources management, though competition may be keen. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job growth for archaeologists is expected to be 19% during the 2012-2022 decade ( Museum archivists, curators and conservators could see 11% growth and lawyers 10% growth. The BLS also reports varying wages within these professions. In 2013, museum conservators and technicians earned a median salary of $40,020, archivists made $49,110, archaeologists took home $58,360 and museum curators received $50,550. Lawyers, including cultural resources lawyers, earned median wages of $114,300 during the same year.

How Can I Work in Cultural Resources Management?

Undergraduate Education

Training in cultural resources management is available at both the undergraduate and graduate levels and is usually interdisciplinary. For example, you might study the connections between archaeology, art history, public policy and computer technology. To be a restoration craftsman, you could pursue an associate's or bachelor's degree in building arts.

Graduate Programs

In graduate school, you might focus on a special interest as part of a broader program, such as earning a Master of Arts in Art History with a focus on historic preservation. If you're an aspiring attorney, you'd need to get a bachelor's degree, go to law school and then pass the bar exam.

An archaeology career requires at least a bachelor's degree, but a master's degree in archaeology could improve your job opportunities. Archivists are required to have a master's degree in history, library science or archival studies, with voluntary certification available through the Academy of Certified Archivists. Getting field experience is important whether your goal is archaeology, museum work or preservation.

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