Anthropologist & Archeologist
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.
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
- 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.
The average pay for anthropologists and archaeologists in the United States was $61,910 in May 2021 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The specific pay depends on factors such as level of experience, education and training, geographic location, and specific industry.
About 800 new job openings for anthropologists and archeologists are projected each year, on average, over the next 10 years in the United States.
Overall employment of anthropologists and archeologists is projected to grow 6 percent from 2021 to 2031 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is about as fast as the average growth rate 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.
Archeologists will be needed to ensure that builders, museums, and other organizations comply with federal regulations pertaining to the preservation and handling of archeological and historical artifacts.
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.