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Job opportunities are generally forged by the individual, not by the program which one follows in college. The best college program encourages the performance skills which anthropology excels in molding in its students. The prudent undergraduate will take a well-rounded course of study, with a few practical career-skill courses interwoven in her or his overall program. Anthropology provides a good counterpoint to business courses, foreign language study, technical training, fine arts, and so forth. In addition to imparting invaluable core knowledge about the human animal and its cultural and biological history, anthropology lends itself flexibly as a tool to refine whatever other interests one brings to the higher-educational process.
Anthropological study provides training particularly well suited to the 21st century. The economy will be increasingly international; work forces and markets, increasingly diverse; participatory management and decision making, increasingly important; communication skills, increasingly in demand. Anthropology is the only contemporary discipline that approaches human questions from historical, biological, linguistic, and cultural perspectives. The intellectual excitement and relevance of the wide range of information presented in anthropology assures that students are engaged and challenged. Moreover, it complements other scientific and liberal arts courses by helping students understand the interconnectivity of knowledge about people and their cultures. Increasingly, undergraduate and master's students are coming to understand that the issues affecting their futures and the information they will need to prosper cannot be found in narrow programs of study.
The undergraduate anthropology major will be exposed to archaeology, biological anthropology, linguistics, and cultural anthropology. They learn how to study people and how communities and organizations work. The master's degree candidate receives additional training in how to combine these perspectives and skills to solve problems. Many undergraduates have difficulty selecting their major, changing their minds several times as they search for a course of study which interests them and can lead to post-college employment. That search sometimes results in costly extra years of study. The undergraduates choosing to major in anthropology can be comfortable that their choice is both exciting and practical.
Most of America's professional anthropologists have traditionally worked in higher educational institutions, teaching and researching, but today there are many other career options for trained anthropologists. Many anthropologists with master's degrees or bachelor's degrees work for contract archaeology firms at archaeological sites, in physical anthropology laboratories, and in museums in a wide range of areas. Similarly, there are many opportunities as social science researchers and in other areas available to anthropologists at every level of training. A doctorate is required for most academic jobs. The nonacademic employment of cultural anthropologists is greatly expanding as the demand for research on humans and their behavior increases. Since 1985, over half of all new PhDs in anthropology have taken nonacademic positions in research institutes, nonprofit associations, government agencies, world organizations, and private corporations. While the job market for academic anthropologists is relatively steady, demand for anthropologists is increasing in other areas, stimulated by a growing need for analysts and researchers with sharp thinking skills who can manage, evaluate and interpret the large volume of data on human behavior.
Academic. 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 longer monographs and 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.
Corporations, Nonprofit organizations, Non-Governmental Organizations, and Federal, State and Local Government. Anthropology offers many lucrative applications of anthropological knowledge in a variety of occupational settings, in both the public and private sectors. Non-governmental organizations, such as international health organizations and development banks employ anthropologists to help design and implement a wide variety of programs, worldwide and nationwide. State and local governmental organizations use anthropologists in planning, research and managerial capacities. Many corporations look explicitly for anthropologists, recognizing the utility of their perspective on a corporate team. Contract archaeology has been a growth occupation with state and federal legislative mandates to assess cultural resources affected by government funded projects. Forensic anthropologists, in careers glamorized by Hollywood and popular novels, not only work with police departments to help identify mysterious or unknown remains but work in university and museum settings. 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.
Anthropologists fill the range of career niches occupied by other social scientists in corporations, government, nonprofit corporations, and various trade and business settings. Most jobs filled by anthropologists don't mention the word anthropologist in the job announcement; such positions are broadly defined to attract researchers, evaluators and project managers. Anthropologists' unique training and perspective enable them to compete successfully for these jobs.
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