An anthropologist studies all aspects of human behavior through looking at past and present cultures. The research helps find solutions to current world problems by understanding how and why humans behave. A bachelor’s degree in anthropology can land graduates a job as a research assistant or management trainee. However, those who want to teach or earn higher-level positions will generally need a master’s or Ph.D. to be considered.
An advanced degree in anthropology paves the way for graduates to work both in field and laboratory research and in an academic setting. Anthropologists with a master’s degree often work for archaeology firms or in museums. Some also conduct field research or work in physical anthropology laboratories. Many with a Ph.D. will work in the academic realm, but about half might also find careers in a research capacity through government agencies, nonprofit organizations or private corporations.
Anthropology is just one area of specialty in the field of social sciences. In 2006, there were about 18,000 jobs available in the social sciences — around 5,500 of those belonged to anthropologists and archeologist. This particular career path can be broken down further into the following areas of specialty:
The study of current cultures, which is primarily determined through fieldwork.
Traces the origin of a particular culture from a biological, genetic and evolutionary perspective.
Studies the nature of language in mostly non-Western cultures.
Uses artifacts and excavation to determine how previous cultures lived.
Anthropologists may work in physical laboratories or out in the field. They may also work in large corporations or in an academic setting. The field of anthropology is a diverse one that encompasses many different types of jobs and career paths.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor and Statistics, the average salary for anthropologists and archaeologists was $49,930 in May, 2006. Social scientists with a bachelor’s degree earned an average starting salary between $28,862 and $35,572, depending on their academic record. A Ph.D. could earn an average starting salary of $52,912, depending on the specific career and area of the country the job was located.
The U.S. Department of Labor also predicts that jobs for anthropologists should grow at a rate of about 15% within the next ten years. Specific growth is projected for management, scientific and technical consulting industries.