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Careers in Anthropology

Anthropology majors with B.A degrees are well-prepared to enter specific fields as diverse as teaching and bi-lingual education, art, law and paralegal studies, medicine and health-treatment, library and information science, translating and interpreting, publishing and media, journalism, photography, documentary film-making, travel, leisure and culinary arts, cultural and historic preservation, business and management, government and industry, as well as more directly-related jobs in archaeology, applied anthropology, biological sciences and environmental studies. [COC Catalog]

Career Paths: Academic, Corporate, Nonprofit, or Government

  • Academic: On campuses, in departments of anthropology, and in research laboratories, anthropologists teach and conduct research. They spend a great deal of time preparing for classes, writing lectures, grading papers, working with individual students, composing scholarly articles, and writing longer monographs and books. A number of academic anthropologists find careers in other departments or university programs, such as schools of medicine, epidemiology, public health, ethnic studies, cultural studies, community or area studies, linguistics, education, ecology, cognitive psychology and neural science.
  • Corporations, Nonprofit organizations, Non-Governmental Organizations, and Federal, State and Local Government: Anthropology offers many lucrative applications of anthropological knowledge in a variety of occupational settings, in both the public and private sectors. Non-governmental organizations, such as international health organizations and development banks employ anthropologists to help design and implement a wide variety of programs, worldwide and nationwide. State and local governmental organizations use anthropologists in planning, research and managerial capacities. Many corporations look explicitly for anthropologists, recognizing the utility of their perspective on a corporate team. Contract archaeology has been a growth occupation with state and federal legislative mandates to assess cultural resources affected by government funded projects. Forensic anthropologists, in careers glamorized by Hollywood and popular novels, not only work with police departments to help identify mysterious or unknown remains but work in university and museum settings. A corporate anthropologist working in market research might conduct targeted focus groups to examine consumer preference patterns not readily apparent through statistical or survey methods.

Anthropologists fill the range of career niches occupied by other social scientists in corporations, government, nonprofit corporations, and various trade and business settings. Most jobs filled by anthropologists don't mention the word anthropologist in the job announcement; such positions are broadly defined to attract researchers, evaluators and project managers.

Anthropologists' unique training and perspective enable them to compete successfully for these jobs. Whatever anthropologists' titles, their research and analysis skills lead to a wide variety of career options, ranging from the oddly fascinating to the routinely bureaucratic.