Featured Schools

    Russell Sage Online
    Brescia University
    King University
    Drexel University

Signup for email updates!

Email signup

Anthropology Careers

Career Description

Anthropologists study the origin, development,  and behavior of humans. May study the way of life, language, or physical characteristics of existing people in various parts of the world. May engage in systematic recovery and examination of material evidence, such as tools or pottery remaining from past human cultures, in order to determine the history,  customs, and living habits of earlier civilizations.

Common Work Tasks

  • Study the origin and the physical, social, and cultural development and behavior of humans
  • Examine the way of life, archaeological remains,  language, or physical characteristics of people in various parts of the world
  • Compare the customs, values, and social patterns of different cultures
  • Concentrate in sociocultural anthropology,  linguistics, biophysical, or physical anthropology
  • Study the customs, cultures, and social lives of groups in settings that range from unindustrialized societies to modern urban centers
  • Investigate the role of, and changes to, language over time in various cultures
  • Research the evolution of the human body, look for the earliest evidences of human life, and analyze how culture and biology influence one another
  • Examine human remains found at archaeological sites in order to understand population demographics and factors, such as nutrition and disease, which affected these populations

Other Job Titles

Anthropologists are also known by other titles, including:

  • Archaeologists
  • Biological Scientists
  • Biologists
  • Life Scientists

Education,  Training, and Experience

Education and Training
Graduates with master’s degrees in applied specialties usually are qualified for positions outside of colleges and universities, although requirements vary by field. A Ph.D. degree may be required for higher-level positions. Bachelor’s degree holders have limited opportunities and do not qualify for most of occupations. A bachelor’s degree does, however, provide a suitable background for many different kinds of entry-level jobs in related occupations, such as research assistant, writer, management trainee, or market analyst.

Anthropologists need excellent written and oral communication skills to report research findings and to collaborate on research. Successful anthropologists also need intellectual curiosity and creativity because they constantly seek new information about people, things, and ideas. The ability to think logically and methodically is also essential to analyze complicated issues. Objectivity, an open mind, and systematic work habits are important in all kinds of research. Perseverance, too, is often necessary, as when an anthropologist spends years studying artifacts from an ancient civilization before making a final analysis and interpretation.


The median annual salary of an Anthropologist is $53,000. The top 10 percent earn more than $84,000, and the lowest 10 percent earn less than $31,000.  Median earnings in the industries employing the largest number of anthropologists are:

  • Scientific Research and Development Services - $54,150
  • Federal Executive Branch - $66,040
  • Management, Scientific, and Technical Consulting Services  - $48,830
  • State Government - $51,480
  • Architectural, Engineering, and Related Services  - $55,960

Job Outlook

  • 2006-2016 Employment growth:  15%
  • Number of new jobs created 2006-2016: 800
  • Employment 2006 : 5,500
  • Employment 2016:  6, 400
Ask An Expert: Real Questions, Expert Answers

Ask your Question