Anthropologist & Archeologist

Anthropologist and archeologist in khaki hat studying ancient drawings on wall of a sandstone cave
Career Clusters: STEM

What you need to know


Anthropologists and archeologists study the origin, development, and behavior of humans. They examine the cultures, languages, archaeological remains, and physical characteristics of people in various parts of the world.

What is this career like?

Anthropologists and archeologists typically work in research organizations, government, and consulting firms. Although most work in offices, some analyze samples in laboratories or do fieldwork. Fieldwork may require travel for extended periods.

Some of the things an anthropologist or archaeologist might do:

  • Plan cultural research
  • Customize data collection methods according to a particular region, specialty, or project
  • Collect information from observations, interviews, and documents
  • Record and manage records of observations taken in the field
  • Analyze data, laboratory samples, and other sources of information to uncover patterns of human life, culture, and origins
  • Prepare reports and present research findings
  • Advise organizations on the cultural impact of policies, programs, and products
What skills do you need?
  • Analytical skills: Anthropologists and archeologists must possess knowledge of scientific methods and data, which are often used in their research.
  • Critical-thinking skills: Anthropologists and archeologists must be able to draw conclusions from observations, laboratory experiments, and other methods of research. They must be able to combine various sources of information to try to solve problems and to answer research questions.
  • Communication skills: Anthropologists and archeologists often have to write reports or papers in academic journals and present their research and findings to their peers and to general audiences. These activities require strong writing, speaking, and listening skills.
  • Physical stamina: Anthropologists and archaeologists working in the field may need to hike or walk several miles while carrying equipment to a research site.
What is the pay?

The average pay for anthropologists and archaeologists in the United States ranges from $40,80 to $102,770 as of May 2020.

The specific pay depends on factors such as level of experience, education and training, geographic location, and specific industry.

What is the career outlook?

Employment of anthropologists and archeologists is projected to grow 5 percent from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all occupations.

Corporations will continue to use anthropological research to gain a better understanding of consumer demand within specific cultures or social groups. Anthropologists also will be needed to analyze markets, allowing businesses to serve their clients better or to target new customers or demographic groups.

What education is required?

Anthropologists and archeologists need a master’s degree or Ph.D. in anthropology or archeology. Experience doing fieldwork in either discipline is also important. Those with a bachelor’s degree may find work as assistants or field workers.

Although a master’s degree is enough for many positions, a Ph.D. may be needed for jobs that require leadership skills and advanced technical knowledge. Anthropologists and archeologists typically need a Ph.D. to work internationally in order to comply with the requirements of foreign governments. A Ph.D. takes additional years of study beyond a master’s degree. Also, Ph.D. students must complete a doctoral dissertation, which typically includes between 18 and 30 months of field research and knowledge of a foreign language.

Discover some of the courses you will take pursuing a degree in Anthropology.