What are some career paths for anthropology graduates?

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Anthropology is a very broad subject and has been described as the most scientific of the humanities and the most humanistic of the sciences. Therefore, there is no obvious career path as there is with medicine or law, for example.

As the world becomes more globalized, careers related to anthropology will increase and so will employability. Anthropology graduates have a high cultural awareness and the growing need for analysts and researchers who can evaluate and interpret the large volume of data on humans and their behaviour keeps increasing.

Many anthropology graduates decide to expand their studies in law, industrial relations, economics, social science, teaching, journalism, counseling, criminology, and marketing. One can find anthropologists with master’s degrees working at archaeological sites (for contract archaeology firms), in physical anthropology labs, and in museums.

Only a small percentage of graduates become anthropologists as academics or researchers (a doctorate degree is required for most academic jobs). PhDs in anthropology can also take on nonacademic careers in nonprofit corporations, research institutes, government agencies, world organizations, and private corporations.

Anthropological knowledge can be applied in a variety of settings, in both public and private sectors. International health organizations will hire anthropologists to help design and execute a wide range of worldwide and nationwide programs. Planning, research and management roles are needed in state and local governmental organizations.

Hollywood and best selling novels have made careers in forensic anthropology quite popular, with careers available in university and museum settings as well as in police departments helping to identify unknown remains.

Corporations recognize the need for an anthropologist's perspective on a corporate team. Targeted focus groups examining consumer preference patterns are conducted by corporate anthropologists working in market research. Anthropologists can even be found working in disaster areas (Ground Zero in New York and the Gulf Coast in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina are a couple of examples).

It is interesting to note that most, if not all, positions filled by anthropologists don’t mention the word anthropologist in the job listing. Job postings are often quite broadly defined in order to attract project managers, researchers, etc.

Anthropologists, however, are able to compete successfully for these job openings due to their unique research and analytical skills, training, and perspective. These skills can lead anthropologists to a wide variety of career options, ranging from the very unique and complex, to the routinely bureaucratic.

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