The most important career skill we offer our majors and graduate students is advanced critical thinking. The essence of critical thinking is the ability to question what is known about the world. It involves the use of arguments which can be substantiated by the observations of others. Critical thinking is a powerful and creative activity. The act of questioning, or being able to understand and analyze relationships and interpretations, can be applied just as easily to anthropology as to everyday experience, the business world, career choices, problem solving and decision making.
We offer our students a number of additional skills depending on the courses taken to fulfill the degree requirements. These include statistical and other quantitative skills, qualitative research skills (for example, conducing and analyzing interviews and participant observation), and methods pertaining to excavation and surveying, including the use of GIS (Geographic Information System) software. We also emphasize writing, critical reading and verbal communication skills that help our students excel in the workplace upon graduation. In addition, we offer our students an understanding of humans that is cross-cultural and relativistic. This important knowledge is increasingly more relevant in our global world. An awareness and understanding of other cultures will make a difference in the job market.
Anthropology is an appropriate major for students interested in a variety of careers, such as education, academic research and teaching, professional archaeology or cultural resource management (CRM), government work, forensic anthropology, non-governmental agencies, museum curation and others. Former students have gone on to work in areas of archaeology, health, business, law, nonprofit management, crime scene investigation, epidemiology, program evaluation, post-graduate training and doctoral candidacy. Post-graduate opportunities include Peace Corps, Ameri-Corps and post-BA Fulbright fellowships . Our students engage in a variety of field schools, internships, study abroad programs, human rights work in forensic anthropology and archaeological excavations.
Through a variety of signature experiences, nearly all of our students are involved in research and training opportunities outside of the classroom. This initiation into active engagement begins almost immediately upon declaring the major or entering the graduate program. Our multiple laboratories, field work opportunities, internship prospects, research projects and independent learning modules provide students with practical experience which can be highly attractive to potential employers. Students interested in pursuing a career in the non-profit or the public health sector may choose to earn a Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management or a Graduate Certificate in Public Health even as they complete their anthropology training.
Want to learn more? Check out one of these links below:
Pearson’s Leave Your Mark, Major in Anthropology
Anthropology Careers from the Society for Applied Anthropology
Please Note: The following information is provided courtesy of the Careers in Anthropology Webpage from the American Anthropological Association.
It’s a great time to become an anthropologist! According to the United States Department of Labor, “Employment of anthropologists and archaeologists is expected to grow 21 percent from 2010 to 2020, faster than the average for all occupations.” An anthropologist in the United States makes, on average, $54,230 a year. Starting wages for an anthropologist begin at around $33,000 and extend to about $70,000-$100,000 (US Department of Labor).
Choosing a Career Path
An anthropology degree prepares students for excellent jobs and opens doors to many different career paths. Anthropologists have traditionally worked in higher educational institutions, teaching and researching, but today there are many other career options for trained anthropologists. Anthropologists work in practically every environment and setting imaginable. They can be found working in large corporations such as Intel and GM or studying primates in Africa. Anthropologists work in deserts, cities, schools, even in underwater archaeological sites or as forensic anthropologists in crime labs. There are not many limits on career choices for anthropologists. Most jobs filled by non-academic 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 the job title, anthropologists find that their research and analytical skills lead to a wide variety of career options, ranging from the oddly fascinating to the routinely bureaucratic.
Many anthropologists with master’s degrees or bachelor’s degrees work for contract archaeology firms at archaeological sites, in physical anthropology laboratories, and in museums in a wide range of areas. Similarly, there are many opportunities as social science researchers and in other areas available to anthropologists at every level of training. A doctorate is required for most academic jobs.
The nonacademic employment of cultural anthropologists is greatly expanding as the demand for research on humans and their behavior increases. Since 1985, over half of all new PhDs in anthropology have taken nonacademic positions in research institutes, nonprofit associations, government agencies, world organizations, and private corporations. While the job market for academic anthropologists is relatively steady, demand for anthropologists is increasing in other areas, stimulated by a growing need for analysts and researchers with sharp thinking skills who can manage, evaluate and interpret the large volume of data on human behavior.
For further information about careers in anthropology.
The Four Main Career Paths for Anthropology Graduates
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, conducting field research (either locally or internationally) composing scholarly articles, and writing 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.
Corporate and Business Careers
Many corporations look explicitly for anthropologists, recognizing the utility of their perspective on a corporate team. 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. These anthropologists use their research skills to talk to consumers and users of technology to find out how products and services could be improved to better meet the needs of consumers.
State and local governmental organizations use anthropologists in planning, research and managerial capacities. Contract archaeology is a growing 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 also work in university and museum settings.
The federal government is one of the largest employers of anthropologists outside of academia. Possible career paths include: international development, cultural resource management, the legislative branch, forensic and physical anthropology, natural resource management, and defense and security sectors.
Non-profit and Community-based Careers
Non-governmental organizations, such as international health organizations and development banks employ anthropologists to help design and implement a wide variety of programs. However, these aren’t the only opportunities available.
Many anthropologists work in local, community-based settings for non-profit agencies. Sometimes, they work through community-based research organizations like the Institute for Community Research. Other times, they might work for established organizations in a community like the YMCA, local schools, or environmental organizations.
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Dr. Jennifer Patico
Dr. Faidra Papavasiliou
Dr. Steven Black