The word anthropology combines two Greek words – anthropos, meaning human, and logos, meaning study. This science explores human civilization, culture, languages, customs, beliefs, practices, and more. In comparison, a sub-specialty of anthropology is archaeology, which is the physical digging and excavation to discover ancient artifacts, bones, sculptures, and other items created by man through evolution. At the college-level, archaeology is often housed within an anthropology department, both of which fall under the broad category of social sciences.
A bachelor’s in anthropology can be a terminal degree or a stepping stone to advanced degrees in this discipline or further studies in unrelated fields. To perform research or fieldwork, you will need at least a master’s degree to remain competitive with other candidates. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) places anthropologists and archaeologists into one group. According to the 2019 data, only 8,000 work in the occupation with a median income of $63,670. The BLS states the entry-level education as a Master’s. The projected labor market is bleak as only 400 jobs will be available, through turnover, from 2019 to 2029. That’s just 40 jobs per year if the data is accurate!
If the employment prospects are that glum, students should explore possibilities where the degree might be useful. In this article, we will present some jobs for your consideration.
One of the prerequisites for law school is a bachelor’s degree. Depending on your area of specialization in law, an undergraduate program in anthropology could be helpful. Similarly, anthropology has specific concentration areas—sociocultural, linguistic, biological or physical, and applied anthropology. College professors opine that anthropology teaches critical thinking, writing skills, understanding racism, sexism, social concerns, and environmental issues. All of which may transfer to the skills required in different law practices.
Students with a graduate degree in forensic anthropology can use the knowledge and science of forensics in crime investigation. Anthropologists become involved in determining the sex, age, and build of skeletal remains. Facial bones, in particular, can reveal physical characteristics, as well as teeth. City or state government agencies may summon these scientists to examine historical sites discovered by chance during excavation for roads or buildings.
Forensics involves many sciences, like biology, anatomy, chemistry, pathology, and physiology, and may require applicants to have a doctorate. This diversity of subjects provides the skills and knowledge to work with a coroner’s office to determine the cause of death, perform toxicology analysis, examine DNA evidence, determine the manner of death, obtain the deceased’s medical history, and write detailed reports.
Foreign Service Officers work in administrative management, consular services, political and economic reporting, and analysis. Students who focused on cultural anthropology may find the degree useful when working in a country whose beliefs and cultural practices are new to westerners. Your coursework might afford an acceptance and respect for social and cultural differences.
To be eligible for the Foreign Service, you must first be between 20 and 59, a U.S. citizen, and take the Foreign Service Officer Test (FSOT). Applicants can take the exam once every 12 months; therefore, if you fail, there is a year’s wait before you can retake it. The exam has multiple choice and essay questions. The application requires you to choose one of five career tracks:
- Public Diplomacy
Choose diligently as you cannot change your selection.
International Nonprofit Administrator
Nonprofit organizations that serve communities and clients globally are another employment possibility. Some of the roles include procuring donations, managing funds and resources, working with museums, planning budgets, and liaison with foreign entities. A background in studying cultural and societal practices can be beneficial. You may also have the task of devising solutions for famine, drought, and disease in impoverished areas overseas.
Various departments in the federal government employ graduates with a degree in anthropology, history, American studies, or archaeology. Your research should take you to online sites like Indeed, for the job qualifications. The U.S. Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture have listings for graduates in one of these degrees. Some of the latter’s duties include the oversight of historic national, state, and regional properties.
The Department of Agriculture seeks a Heritage Program Manager/Archaeologist in Rutland, Vermont. Some of these responsibilities include reviews of archaeological project development and evaluate cultural resources for National Register eligibility.
A museum curator is another position to aspire to in the Department of the Interior. The successful candidate will furnish professional and technical direction for the museum collection program, plan for, and develop recommendations for all museum management functions.
You may find more employment opportunities if you used the word – archaeologist instead of an anthropologist. For example, an international company in forensics, biometrics, and identity intelligence posted a job for a Senior Archaeologist. Applicants require an M.A., M.S., or Ph.D. in archaeology, anthropology, or related field. Experienced professionals will provide professional and scientific leadership to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) personnel working on recovery missions on a temporary, project basis.
A degree in anthropology equips students with analytical and critical thinking skills that are vital to many professions. Other possibilities are human resources, social media, organizational development, public health, and media planning.