© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.


Average Salary: $57,420

Expected Lifetime Earnings: $2,397,000

Considering how difficult it is to get into this field, one would think the money, once you got there, would be just as…elite. Maybe even one percenters. Think again. Academic Egyptologists make as much money as other professors do, which is to say enough to have yourself a nice place to live, but quite a bit less than you'd make in medicine or a scientific career. Egyptology's take-home pay is definitely less than you could make in finance, or law, or other disciplines that take a decade or more of education to enter, so the school-to-salary ratio is not good. Museums are usually nonprofit organizations, and while nonprofit doesn't actually mean "no money," in reality, it often does. Many museums will not hire Egyptologists, preferring to staff with interns or students who can be paid very little, while occasionally giving out consulting or short-term contract jobs to an Egyptologist for a specific exhibit or issue with Egyptian materials in its collections.

Egyptian archaeologists seem to do well financially, but this might have to do with the fact that it's cheap to live in Egypt, and many Egyptian archaeologists are already independently wealthy and fund their own digs. Otherwise, there's not much more money in digging holes and writing reports about what you find in them than there is in sitting in the ivory tower poking fun at the guys who give you artifacts to write about in the first place. If you're lucky, you might discover something important enough to get on the public lecture circuit, but you'd probably have better luck finding the Ark of the Covenant in that secret government storehouse.

Don't look directly at it….

At an Ivy League school you might start out at 45k and end up in the 60-70k range. At state schools, a bit less. Those Egyptologists who sell books and do lectures and tours make some money on the side, but it's not a ton. For more than ten years of school, though, you'd be better off being a doctor or lawyer, and your chances of securing employment in your chosen field would be vastly improved.