One Does Not Simply…Write About Anthropology

My Time as a Graduate Student

What Jobs Can You Get With An Anthropology Degree?

on April 14, 2013

keyboard-job-searchContrary to popular thought, (like Florida Governor Rick Scott) anthropology incorporates everything and anything allowing anthropologists to be well suited for almost any job. The major draw back that many students just coming out of school have is that thought process: “because everyone says there are not jobs, then there are not.” Much of the time we have to look passed the “anthropologist” title and look more at the skill sets that were acquired.

What skill sets do we as anthropologists have?

In general, all anthropologists are taught: observational skills, recording data, interviewing and interacting with other people from our culture or from different, extensive researching skills, ethical issues that may or may not harm other individuals and how to protect their identity, public speaking, and writing skills.  These are just a few, depending on your anthropology interests it will change.

For archaeology – you learn public policies that pertain to sites, states, and countries, taught how to use survey equipment, recording data, site mapping, knowledge of material remains and artifacts, etc. Biological anthropologists – well rounded in evolutionary theories, knowledge of human bones, forensics, knowledge past and present, etc.

Anthropologists are not just limited to what I have outlined here, these are just a few things that have thrown out there. Our skill sets are wide and vast, you just have to think about what you were taught and how you can apply it to the world.

What Jobs are out there?

Most jobs will not list “anthropologist,” which is the mistake that many do. It is important to read the description of the job and compare your skills sets with the required skills that are required for the job. When interviewing for a job, it is important to emphasize how your anthropology degree has influenced your and could influence your training in anthropology applies to the position you are seeking.

Academia is the largest employer of anthropologists from high school to college/university level. There are even programs within the military that teach cultural awareness or cultural classes.

Government – the federal government is the largest employer outside of academia. The federal government hires cultural anthropologists for cultural affairs,   natural resource management, forensics, and in security and defense. This also includes the military.

Marketing – businesses look for ways to identify and research consumer behavior to target sales.

Great place to look is if you are interested in working with the government.

Some jobs areas that anthropologists have held:

Contract Archaeologist, Corporate Analyst, Corporate Anthropologist, Editor, Educational Planner, Forensic Specialist, Government Analyst, High School Teacher, Medical Researcher, Museum Curator, Park Ranger, Peace Corps, Social Worker, Translator, University Administrator, CRM (cultural resource management), etc  – this is a list from the American Anthropology Association.

Also check out the careers section of the American Anthropology Association AAA-Careers. This site will give you a description of a few career possibilities and what you can do to prepare for them.

Do you have to go to Grad School or get a PhD?

Grad school and PhD is not for everyone, it is an expensive investment and can be challenging for some. So the answer is No, only if you want to.  My decision to go to grad school was to become more rounded in anthropology. I love learning and learning from other people. I want to eventually teach at a college level, so the requirements of that career choice will have to be grad school and eventually a PhD.

Not only did I get a degree in Anthropology from UMW, I also studied in the Historic Preservation program, worked as part of the crew for the field school, and I practice my teaching skills through my training certification with the American Red Cross. I have been an instructor for the Red Cross for over 6 years and I organize, advertise, and teach various classes from CPR, first-aid, Lifeguard training, water safety, babysitting training – I also train individuals to be instructors. Why does this matter? Even though it is not anthropology, teaching and training individuals has given me the experience of organizing classes, public speaking, working with various individuals of different ages, ethnicity,  and backgrounds. I can apply these skills that I have learned and experienced through teaching to a career of one day teaching an anthropology class.

If you are looking to go to Grad school be prepared for the costs of tuition (grad school classes are more expensive), the costs of living (rent, bills, etc), and what is to be expected of you from professors. It is a lot of work and professors will challenge you.

As far as getting a job – you don’t have to go to grad school. Grad school does give you a leg up on the competition, but it is not a requirement unless it stated on the job description.

I have many friends I went to undergrad with who got a job right after they graduated from the Peace Corps, international teaching in Korea, internships that turned into job positions at the Smithsonian and at the National Museum of the Marine Corps, CRM positions, working at the National Archives in Washington D.C., computer software engineering, political campaign staff, etc. It depends upon your interests and your dedication to pursue a career.

This post was a request, but I hope that it will be helpful in some way. 


One response to “What Jobs Can You Get With An Anthropology Degree?

  1. Quite helpful! Basically the same information I got from my favorite Anthropology professor when I asked her honestly about a career move to anthropology. It’s always good to know these things and have someone you don’t know say them. Thank you!

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