Professional pathways

Please note this page is under construction

Our professional pathways scheme provides structured resources to support members throughout their careers and help understand and meet the competence requirements for professional accreditation at the appropriate grade.

To join professional pathways and receive informative bulletins relevant to you, please login to the CIfA website, go to the 'Access members area' Dashboard and scroll down to the 'Your details and mailings' form and tick the Pro-Pathways box. If you have any queries please email admin@archaeologists.net

Professional pathways to accreditation

Gaining CIfA accreditation at Practitioner, Associate or Member level demonstrates that you are a professional archaeologist working in the public interest.

The CIfA non-accredited and accredited grades are as follows:

Student or
Affiliate
Practitioner
(PCIfA)
Associate
(ACIfA)
Member
(MCIfA)

Please expand the sections below for more information.

Whilst you have been studying and working as a volunteer or employee you will have been closely supervised. Practitioners will still be under overall supervision but you will need to show that you are able to use your own judgement and take responsibility for your own work. You will be part of a team working to understand complex situations. You will also need a good working knowledge of an area of historic environment practice and be able to use that knowledge practically in your work. It is important to recognise your place in the team and how your work adds to the understanding of the project as a whole.

Structured training can help to give you the skills and competencies that are expected of a Practitioner and some of CIfA’s Registered Organisations run CIfA Approved employer training programmes. CIfA Approved employer training programmes should give you the evidence you need to apply for accreditation at Practitioner level. You can also look out for CIfA Approved excavation training and learning opportunities. Find out more about CIfA Approved courses & CPD (PDF)

The key documents to help you apply for accreditation at Practitioner (PCIfA) or with an accredited degree can be found here.

Other useful links and documents

Professional practice and papers Full list here (login required)

Advice from CIfA’s Groups

Advice from CIfA's Validation committee

CIfA annual conference

External resources

While you’ve been working as a Practitioner you will have developed your knowledge, competence and confidence in your area of work. To apply for Associate you need to demonstrate that you have added to your competence and background knowledge through CPD and reflection on your practice and show evidence of the breadth of work you have applied it to.

You now take responsibility for your own work within a structured working environment so you’ll need to provide some evidence that shows that you have achieved independent working within a team.

As a Practitioner you will have played a part in interpreting and resolving complex situations. As an Associate you will understand the need to assess complex work in advance and develop a planned approach to it.  You will need to show that you are regularly working in complex and non-routine situations.

You may still have a defined role within a team and be working under the direction of others but you will now have an appreciation of the way in which your work adds to the interpretation both of the project and the wider archaeological landscape. For examples of the evidence that you could use to show that you have reached Associate grade you can look at the specialist competence matrices developed by CIfA's groups.

If you are following a particular career path look for training and learning resources that are not only subject specific but targeted to the appropriate level. To prepare for roles that will give you the competence you need at Associate grade, look at developing ‘soft skills’ such as communication skills, people management and ensuring you have an up to date knowledge of IT packages. It is important to reflect on how the CPD you have undertaken has helped you to develop your skills and competence in these areas.

Volunteering for CIfA committees such as the Validation, Registration and Accredited degree, CIfA Area and Special Interest Groups, and Advisory Council will deepen and widen your knowledge of the historic environment and CIfA’s work.

Other useful links and documents

Professional practice papers Full list here (login required)

Advice from CIfA's Validation committee

CIfA annual conference

External resources

Member grade is a recognition by your peers that you have achieved a high level of professional competence. Members (MCIfA's) are expected to have authoritative knowledge and depth of understanding of the sector and of a broad range of historic environment practices. You will have achieved this by continuing to add to your background knowledge about historic environment practice through CPD whilst working at Associate grade and beyond. You will need to provide examples of work that show the range of your knowledge and engagement with historic environment practice, and your reflection on it, at a high level.

You will now take full responsibility for your own work and may also be accountable for others. You may have responsibility for staff and/or for allocating budgets and resources, where appropriate. Now you are confident to make decisions across a broad range of complex, technical or professional activities. You understand how complex situations, considered together, inform the overall interpretation.

You can now see how work can be approached in different ways and have a high level of understanding about the impact of your work within the sector.

For examples of evidence that you could use to demonstrate Member grade you can look at the specialist competence matrices developed by CIfA's groups.

If you are following a particular career path, look for training and learning resources that are not only subject specific but targeted to the appropriate grade. To prepare for roles that will give you the skills you need at Member grade look at developing ‘soft skills’ such as budget control, management skills, and ensuring you have an up to date knowledge of heritage legislation and policy. Continue to reflect on your CPD and to ensure it is aligned with your Personal Development Plan. At annual appraisals you could develop targets with your employer that will add to your evidence of Member level work.

Volunteering for CIfA committees such as the Validation, Registration and Accredited degree will deepen and widen your knowledge of the historic environment and CIfA’s work. Having an officer role in a CIfA Area or Special Interest Group, and representing them at Advisory Council will give you opportunities to play an active part in shaping the historic environment.

Other useful links and documents

Professional practice papers Full list here (login required)

Professional ethics

Advice from CIfA's Validation committee

CIfA annual conference

Professional pathways bulletins

Find out up to date news and tips for developing your career.

Student/Affiliate

May 2020 bulletin (PDF)

More coming soon...