Where are anthropologists working?
Anthropologists can be found in an impressive array of fields and career paths. Anthropology prepares students for excellent jobs and opens doors to various career paths, by providing global information and the skills critical for succeeding in business, research, teaching, advocacy, and public service.
On campuses, in departments of anthropology, and in research laboratories, anthropologists teach and conduct research. They spend a great deal of time preparing for classes, writing lectures, grading papers, working with individual students, composing scholarly articles, and writing books.
A number of academic anthropologists find careers in other departments or university programs, such as schools of medicine, epidemiology, public health, ethnic studies, cultural studies, community or area studies, linguistics, education, ecology, cognitive psychology and neural science.
Many corporations look explicitly for anthropologists, recognizing the utility of their perspective on a corporate team. A corporate anthropologist working in market research might conduct targeted focus groups to examine consumer preference patterns not readily apparent through statistical or survey methods. These anthropologists use their research skills to talk to consumers and users of technology to find out how products and services could be improved to better meet the needs of consumers.
State and local governmental organizations use anthropologists in planning, research and managerial capacities. Contract archaeology is a growing occupation with state and federal legislative mandates to assess cultural resources affected by government funded projects. Forensic anthropologists not only work with police departments to help identify mysterious or unknown remains but also work in university and museum settings.
The federal government is one of the largest employers of anthropologists outside of academia. Possible career paths include: international development, cultural resource management, the legislative branch, forensic and physical anthropology, natural resource management, and defense and security sectors.
Non-governmental organizations, such as international health organizations and development banks employ anthropologists to help design and implement a wide variety of programs. However, these aren’t the only opportunities available.
Many anthropologists work in local, community-based settings for non-profit agencies. Sometimes, they work through community-based research organizations like the Institute for Community Research. Other times, they might work for established organizations in a community like the YMCA, local schools, or environmental organizations.
The Captivating and Curious Careers of Anthropology
Discovering the bow of a ship underneath the World Trade Center, helping corporations understand how people's identities show up in technology – or a think tank looking at social relationships in the workplace, working with gangs in East LA, a death investigator helping police solve crimes – it seems anthropology is everywhere these days. And that’s no coincidence because anthropologists ARE everywhere these days, studying the biological, cultural, linguistic, and archaeological aspects of what it means to be human. These videos are just two pieces of a five part video series to showcase who we are, what we do, and how we add value to society. The full series including segments on archaeology, forensic anthropology, and socio linguistics can be accessed on YouTube.
Anthropology Careers & Employment
Anthropology Careers & Employment (ACE) is the official career site of the American Anthropological Association (AAA). ACE serves the career and professional development needs of the anthropological community. The job board hosts positions for various sectors that employ anthropologists including higher education institutions, museums, government, for-profit businesses, and not-for-profit organizations. ACE also hosts career resource articles that explore the wide range of careers anthropologists have.
Additional Career Resources
- Anthropology Career Readiness Network - The Anthropology Career Readiness Network websites provides resources for anthropology students, graduates, and instructors. Among these resources are job seeker tools and exercises that help anthropology graduates prepare explore and apply for jobs.
- AAA Career Development Webinar Series - The Career Development webinar playlist features 17 webinars highlighting different careers in anthropology, as well as how to leverage an anthropology degree. Webinars include, "Demystifying the Fear Around Job Searches", "Practicing Anthropology in User Experience, Design and Business", and "Doing Cultural Resource Management (CRM) Your Way".
- This is Anthropology Miniseries (with American Anthropological Association) from The Dirt Podcast - Learn more about anthropology through this five-part interview series from The Dirt Podcast.
- AnthroGuide - A fully searchable reference of anthropologists within universities, colleges, museums, non-profits, government agencies, and businesses. The online version of the AnthroGuide allows you to search for organizations by name, location, degrees offered, available internships, field schools, and more.