Oregon State University

Anthropology Careers

What can be done with a bachelors in anthropology? In the job market, a bachelors in anthropology is equivalent to any other liberal arts degree. Typically, liberal arts majors start at lower salaries initially, but end with higher salaries over the life of their career. The reason for this pattern is that liberal arts majors are generalists with excellent critical thinking skills. The entry job market looks for specialists. Specialists have relatively higher salaries at graduation, but their skills quickly get superceded. With time the management of complex projects falls to liberal arts majors, who are capable of broader thinking.

Those receiving a bachelors in anthropology are seen as liberal arts majors. Anyone getting a liberal arts degree and majoring in anthropology, economics, geography, history, philosophy, political science, psychology, sociology competes for the same types of jobs. Specializing in one of the liberal arts may provide an edge in certain fields, but liberal arts majors, irrespective of discipline, are best at generalized tasks and working with people. The skills learned include oral and written communication, interpersonal skills, problem-solving, and critical thinking. Sectors in which liberal arts major find jobs include–private businesses and industry, government and non-governmental organizations, nonprofit organizations, and international development agencies.

The American Anthropological Association, mentioned at the end of this video, keeps track of job opportunities for bachelor, masters, and doctoral graduates in the four fields of anthropology. The job titles for someone with a bachelors include:

analyst market researcher
communicator multicultural program leader
community development specialist Peace Corps volunteer
community service administrator program assistant
consultant program coordinator
cross-cultural communicator program evaluator
ecotourism director research assistant
editor, writer sales person
fieldworker teacher
information officer trainer
lab assistant travel consultant
liaison writer, editor

A career web site at the University of Kentucky says the following:

Some anthropology graduates use their Bachelor's degree in anthropology as a foundation to go into other related fields such as teaching, the law, library work, information research, documentary film making, medical and health-related jobs, translating and interpreting, bilingual education, cultural brokerage, environmental impact assessment, social impact assessment, international development, police work and forensics, genetics counseling, international business, management, marketing, personnel, public relations, fund-raising, government, park ranger work, the publishing industry, the media, journalism, travel work, historic preservation and historic archaeology, and scientific and creative writing.

The book Great Jobs for Anthropology Majors by Blythe Camenson (Paperback - 256 pages October 1999 by Vgm Career Horizons; ISBN: 0658000225) gives guidance and career examples. Read this book when considering a major in anthropology. It gives many ideas on how to use your anthropological education.

A great starting job is the Peace Corps. The Peace Corps is such a natural for anthropologists because it takes you to areas of the world that need assistance in economic and community development, in strengthening education, in managing of resources, and in improving people's health. The Peace Corps says its jobs are "The toughest job you'll ever love." Peace Corps jobs are for people of all ages. The pay is low, but the experience will change your life. To learn about the Peace Corps experiences visit their website.

OSU's Career Services receives many job announcements, it provides career counseling, gives guidance preparing resumes, and offers job search tips. One of the best ways to try your new career is to get an internship. These often lead to jobs and they give a chance to learn about career options.

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