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Anthropologists Career

Career Description

Research, evaluate, and establish public policy concerning the origins of humans; their physical, social, linguistic, and cultural development; and their behavior, as well as the cultures, organizations, and institutions they have created.

What Job Titles Anthropologists Might Have

  • Professor
  • Professor of Anthropology
  • Researcher
  • Scientist

What Anthropologists Do

  • Teach and mentor undergraduate and graduate students in anthropology.
  • Plan and direct research to characterize and compare the economic, demographic, health care, social, political, linguistic, and religious institutions of distinct cultural groups, communities, and organizations.
  • Collect information and make judgments through observation, interviews, and review of documents.
  • Write about and present research findings for a variety of specialized and general audiences.
  • Formulate general rules that describe and predict the development and behavior of cultures and social institutions.
  • Identify culturally specific beliefs and practices affecting health status and access to services for distinct populations and communities, in collaboration with medical and public health officials.
  • Advise government agencies, private organizations, and communities regarding proposed programs, plans, and policies and their potential impacts on cultural institutions, organizations, and communities.
  • Explain the origins and physical, social, or cultural development of humans, including physical attributes, cultural traditions, beliefs, languages, resource management practices, and settlement patterns.
  • Develop intervention procedures, using techniques such as individual and focus group interviews, consultations, and participant observation of social interaction.
  • Collaborate with economic development planners to decide on the implementation of proposed development policies, plans, and programs based on culturally institutionalized barriers and facilitating circumstances.
  • Construct and test data collection methods.
  • Examine museum collections of hominid fossils to classify anatomical and physiological variations and to determine how they fit into evolutionary theory.
  • Train others in the application of ethnographic research methods to solve problems in organizational effectiveness, communications, technology development, policy making, and program planning.
  • Enhance the cultural sensitivity of elementary and secondary curricula and classroom interactions in collaboration with educators and teachers.
  • Create data records for use in describing and analyzing social patterns and processes, using photography, videography, and audio recordings.
  • Organize public exhibits and displays to promote public awareness of diverse and distinctive cultural traditions.
  • Build and use text-based database management systems to support the analysis of detailed first-hand observational records, or field notes.
  • Identify key individual cultural collaborators, using reputational and positional selection techniques.
  • Apply systematic sampling techniques to ensure the accuracy, completeness, precision, and representativeness of individuals selected for sample surveys.
  • Study archival collections of primary historical sources to help explain the origins and development of cultural patterns.
  • Participate in forensic activities, such as tooth and bone structure identification, in conjunction with police departments and pathologists.
  • Gather and analyze artifacts and skeletal remains to increase knowledge of ancient cultures.
  • Observe and measure bodily variations and physical attributes of different human groups.
  • Apply traditional ecological knowledge and assessments of culturally distinctive land and resource management institutions to assist in the resolution of conflicts over habitat protection and resource enhancement.
  • Conduct participatory action research in communities and organizations to assess how work is done and to design work systems, technologies, and environments.
  • Analyze and characterize user experiences and institutional settings to assist consumer product developers, technology developers, and software engineers with the design of innovative products and services.
  • Observe the production, distribution, and consumption of food to identify and mitigate threats to food security.
  • Build geographic information systems (GIS) to record, analyze, and cartographically represent the distribution of languages, cultural and natural resources, land use, and settlement patterns of specific populations.

What Anthropologists Should Be Good At

  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Problem Sensitivity - The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
  • Speech Clarity - The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).

What Anthropologists Should Be Interested In

  • Investigative - Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

What Anthropologists Need to Learn

  • Sociology and Anthropology - Knowledge of group behavior and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • History and Archeology - Knowledge of historical events and their causes, indicators, and effects on civilizations and cultures.
  • Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
  • Communications and Media - Knowledge of media production, communication, and dissemination techniques and methods. This includes alternative ways to inform and entertain via written, oral, and visual media.
  • Geography - Knowledge of principles and methods for describing the features of land, sea, and air masses, including their physical characteristics, locations, interrelationships, and distribution of plant, animal, and human life.
  • Foreign Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of a foreign (non-English) language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition and grammar, and pronunciation.
  • Psychology - Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
  • Philosophy and Theology - Knowledge of different philosophical systems and religions. This includes their basic principles, values, ethics, ways of thinking, customs, practices, and their impact on human culture.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • Biology - Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Diploma iconThis career requires a graduate degree.
Median Salary: $63,190

This page includes information from O*NET OnLine by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA). Used under the CC BY 4.0 license.