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Anthropology Careers

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A prominent journalist once commented, "If you want to write, study anthropology." Indeed, anyone wishing to film, photograph, televise, or write about significant human events should give the study of anthropology a high priority. This is because anthropology cultivates critical thinking, reading, and writing skills that are essential to a good liberal arts education and useful in a variety of careers such as teaching, public affairs, human resources, social services, the arts, business, and politics.

The B.A. in Anthropology provides:

  • Preparation for graduate school including medical, law, anthropology, social work, forensics, history, and other related fields
  • Preparation for careers with governmental agencies, NGOs, cultural resource management firms, historical preservation offices, contract archaeology businesses, museums, forensics labs, zoos, primate centers, medical laboratories, and more.

In anthropology, the concept of "culture" provides an important tool that helps people interpret human events and conditions by digging into the underlying meanings of what is happening in the world. Anthropology can help people recognize their own cultural assumptions and limitations because it provides them with a broad perspective based on studies of different ways of life in different times and places. With ways of life changing at an increasingly rapid rate, it is important for decision makers to hold a comprehensive view. Teachers, for example, may find interpretive principles in anthropology that make the social and life sciences, as well as the arts and humanities, more understandable and meaningful to students.

Private and government agencies hire anthropologists for their research and analytical skills. Government agencies and private corporations employ cultural anthropologists as consultants in dealing with foreign countries and other cultures. Programs such as the Peace Corp and the Agency for International Development regularly require the expertise and skills held by cultural anthropologists.

Students with an emphasis in biological anthropology often pursue careers in health professions or in forensic analysis. Because laws now exist that require archaeological preservation whenever roads and other construction are proposed, students studying archaeology can prepare for jobs in cultural resource management—the recovery of archaeological materials threatened by modern construction activities. Still other careers for anthropologists include positions with museums and research institutions. The Ohio University anthropology faculty takes pride in the preparation that it gives to its undergraduate majors. Many of those students go into high-quality graduate anthropology programs. Others pursue careers medicine, law, social services, government, and business.

The diversity of possible job and career options available to anthropology majors is staggering, especially with the current emphasis on a global economy and multi-culturalism. One of the best places to start looking into anthropology job and career options is on the web, since positions can be posted to a wide public instantly. Here are some places to get started investigating anthropology as a career, but the web sites available are nearly endless.