Like so many others in university, I decided to go the liberal arts/humanities/social sciences route. Even better, I decided on a major that most people don’t even know exists. So, whenever it comes up at family gatherings, in the workplace, with strangers in the produce section at the grocery store, etc., I always get the puzzled, “and what do you expect to do with that?” question accompanied with a worried or even annoyed look. Well, that is, if people even know what the discipline is. And when I explain what Anthropology is and the skillset it equips the student with, people still say, “oh, well you’re definitely not getting a job,” in that know-it-all voice that so many of us have come to know – as if they even knew your major existed or anything about it five minutes ago.
Well, here’s the thing: you can get a job with a degree in Anthropology, and those who say otherwise are uninformed. Anthropology equips the student with a unique set of communication and interpersonal skills, allowing us to speak confidently and comfortably in any given situation (whether this manifests in the field, the classroom, or the office). We are familiar with following the details of methodology as careful observers of the world around us along with utilizing the critical thinking and strong analytical skillset required to understand this world. Our ethical toolkit is vast and we learn to think outside the box to find solutions and explanations for the phenomena we observe.
Basically, the skillset of an Anthropologist can fit practically anywhere in the terrain of job searching, and a more appropriate question would be, “What can’t you do with Anthropology?” Even the United States Bureau of Labor and Statistics has said that the employment of Anthropologists and Archaeologists is expected to grow 19% from 2012 to 2022, which far surpasses that of any other occupation.
So, for next time anyone gives you that critical look… Here’s are just a few job options to throw out at them.
1. Cultural Ambassador
A Cultural Ambassador works for an organization (such as the United Nations, UNESCO, Heritage programs, Embassies, etc.) to be an active bridge for culture and science, culture and politics, or culture and other fields of public life to work in the best interest of the represented people.
critically and through others’ perspectives. Because of this, Anthropology majors can find careers in journalism, content platform writing, professional niche blog writing, and even as authors of their own novels. After all, Kurt Vonnegut studied Anthropology in graduate school, and he was an incredibly successful author.
comes from an Anthropology degree is ideal for this type of job. Here, you will provide patrons of your library with the information they need to move forward with their projects. This field provides you with the opportunity to specialize the niches of information you will be looking into each day as you specialize your area and your career. Of course, this will require an additional degree in library or information science, but Anthropology is a great place to start.
4. Museum Practitioner
Ultimately, museums work to curate culture and the history of any given civilization, whether this translates in to artifacts, history, local museums, or art. Working in a museum provides the opportunity for public education on the cultures at hand – ideal for any Anthropologist to tackle. This position could take many different turns, whether you choose to be a Director, Curator, Exhibition Planner, Gallery Assistant, Lab Technician, etc.!
Of course, there’s always the education route, whether this takes the form of higher education as a professor, secondary school as a teacher, or even educational outreach for institutions (museums, social programs, etc.). Here, you can take what you learned in the classroom, and help others to gain the skills you’ve found so valuable.
Working for Institutional Review Boards, Social Impact Assessment Analyses, and other types of research boards is great for someone with an Anthropology degree, as these types of boards require assessments of ethics and methodology. Putting the ethics and critical thinking learned in the classroom to work here is a great way to play out this degree.
7. News Reporter
Similar to journalism, Anthropology provides you with the skillset you need to think
critically about situations in the news and provide information to the viewer/reader. This is a field that’s constantly growing and evolving – and Anthropology could give you just the boost you need to cover all these changes. After all, someone has to write those news stories, and someone has to report on them! Why not you?
8. Public Relations
PR managers have direct contact with the public to make sure that their company,
agency, organization, etc., has good press and good contact with those that they are working with. In this career path, you’ll write, research, edit, and communicate on the institution’s behalf and put this work into the media. With the research, communication, and critical thinking skills that Anthropology provides, you’re all set to start this career!
Are you into business? Look no further! Business Anthropology exists, and is absolutely an option. This field utilizes concepts and theories developed within Anthropology in the business field to understand the base of consumers and what products they truly are interested in. The Anthropologist can hold any position, whether this takes the form of Management Consulting, Organizational Development, Marketing, Training, Advertising, Product Design, Human Resources, etc. Even Google, Intel, and Microsoft are actively hiring Anthropologists to better their companies.
A degree in Anthropology can be carried out as pre-law. Law school requires the student to have good insight in the English language (providing you’re in an English-speaking country, that is), values that matter to the people, the power to think clearly and carefully, and an understanding of people and relationships. Anthropology provides the student with all of this and more, making it an excellent pre-law degree.
part of community development projects, campaign management, or any other kind of government work.
Anthropology, working to better the conditions of the world for all those who experience it. This can be through volunteer work, social movement organizations, foodwaste prevention, environmental advocacy, and other types of nonprofits to work to create a better world.
You don’t have to major in science to go into medicine or be pre-med! Anthropology provides you with the empathy you need as a practitioner, and when focusing on physical or biological anthropology, you get the same knowledge that medical schools look for in applications.
14. Forensic Scientist
Ever seen an episode of Bones? Want to do what Dr. Brennan does? Except, you know,
with real science? You could become a forensic anthropologist and assist in lab analysis or crime scene investigation. Of course, this also requires graduate school, but an anthropology degree is a great place to start.