Competence matrices

Competence matrix

All applications will be assessed against the main competence matrix with the specialist matrices as advisory documents only (see below).

CIfA accredited degree applicants need to apply in the same way as other applicants at Practitioner (PCIfA) using the accredited degree matrix and guidance (see below).

Every application for accredited membership is assessed on its own merits and on demonstrated technical and ethical competence, using a scoring system (0=not demonstrated, 1=not yet demonstrated, 2=Fully demonstrated) against the main competence matrix. We use an adapted competence matrix which has been aligned with the National Occupational Standards in Archaeological Practice (NOS).

Specialist matrices 

CIfA has a series of specialist competence matrices, which have been compiled by our Special Interest Groups and external groups and are tailored to specific areas. Please note additional guidance is being developed by our Groups and external groups this year to support the changes to include ethical competence.

All applications will be assessed using the main competence matrix above with the specialist matrices as advisory documents only.

The specialist matrices assist applicants in understanding how their work fits into the main competence matrix and by identifying what information they should give to the Validation committee to demonstrate competence at the relevant accredited grade. For example if you are a Field Archaeologist and you undertake some pottery identification or osteology within your role, you only need to refer to the Field archaeology specialist matrix and not the Finds or Osteology ones as well. If you are an Osteologist or Finds specialist you would refer to the relevant matrix.

If you are a volunteer you might find that you need to use more than one specialist matrix, for example finds, field archaeology and/or museum archaeology, but these should inform the main matrix which is used to assess all applications.

Academia and research


Buildings Archaeology

Community Archaeology


Field archaeology


Forensic Archaeology


Graphics (illustrators)

Information Management

International practice

Local authority, HER & Development Control

Museum Archaeology


Project Management

Specialist matrices are reviewed every 3 years to ensure they are still fit for purpose.

CIfA Accredited degree matrix and guidance

CIfA accredited degree applicants need to apply in the same way as a Practitioner (PCIfA) but using the competence matrix below. We have created some additional guidance to assist in identifying what information to give to the Validation committee to demonstrate competence at PCIfA in your statement.

You can check the list of current accredited degrees here and you need to submit a copy of your certificate when you apply.