An anthropologist is interested in the origins, cultures, customs, and connections humans have with one another. They study these areas by researching, collecting, and evaluating information of humankind. There are also four subfields of anthropology: archaeology, biological anthropology, cultural anthropology, and linguistic anthropology,
How to Become an Anthropologist
Most anthropologists pursue a degree in anthropology or social sciences. You must first earn a bachelor’s degree and then move on to earn a master’s. All programs include an internship that gives students experience, some may even require you to write a thesis prior to graduating with your degree. Students can also volunteer at museums or even historical buildings to gain experience.
To advance beyond entry level positions some earn a doctorate degree. A master’s degree usually take 2 years and then it can take another 4-5 years to earn your doctorate. There may also be specific areas of anthropology you want to focus on. For example, you can focus on biophysical (also known as forensics), sociocultural, linguistics, or archaeological anthropology. Coursework in a specialty usually occurs at the graduate level.
Job Description of an Anthropologist
Tasks can vary greatly depending on the anthropologists area of focus. Though the most common area of study is human development and behaviors. Some anthropologists may investigate and study human remains to determine their origins and way of life while others may learn about current languages in a particular culture and how those languages changed over time. Some anthropologists study and observe cultures in economical and geographical settings to determine differences. Lastly, what most individuals relate anthropology to is studying artifacts, jewelry, pottery, or even tools that an archeologist may have dug up. All anthropologist collect, analyze and draw conclusions these findings.
Anthropologist many times must know other languages and be analytical problem solvers. They document findings and have to be very organized and methodical in their recordings. Many times they work with other cultures, therefore they must also have strong communication skills and be culturally sensitive. Most anthropologist work full time, though hours can be flexible they often work more than a regular work week exceeding more than 40 hours. They often times work in the field and can work in harsh outdoor conditions. Many times that travel internationally and work very closely with archeologist. Libraries, offices, and classroom are common locations visited by anthropologist as well.
Anthropologist Career Resources
Visit the American Anthropological Association Resources for High School Students page (link opens in a new tab). This website also lists internship and scholarship opportunities.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Anthropologists and Archeologists.
National Center for O*NET Development. 19-3091.01. O*NET OnLine.
The career video is Public Domain from the U. S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.