Anthropologists study human beings--their origin, and their physical, cultural, and social development. This applies to modern society throughout the world as well as studying previous ways of life by looking at archeological remains. Most anthropologists specialize in one area: sociocultural, linguistic, biophysical, or physical. Sociocultural anthropology involves examining the customs and social lives of groups, such as tribes in the jungle or massive cosmopolitan cities. Linguistic anthropology focuses on the role of language and how it has evolved over time in different cultures. Biophysical anthropologists study early human life and research the role of culture and biology in human development and on each other. Finally, physical anthropologists study human remains from archeological digs.
Anthropology Degrees and Career Training
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employees in anthropology-related careers can expect a stable 15 percent job-growth rate through 2016. Since social scientists tend to be extremely well educated, job prospects should be best for anthropologists with advanced degrees, specifically a master's or PhD degree.
Working as an anthropologist can be an exciting job, but the degree can prepare you for more than working on digs. Today's anthropologists may be embedded with U.S. troops to help them understand the local population or hired by multinational corporations to smooth over intercultural differences. The biggest areas of job growth should come in the management, scientific, and technical consulting services industry. Consulting in anthropology alone ranges from offering advice on economic development to working in forensics, like the lead forensic anthropologist character on the popular television show Bones.
Increase Your Career Opportunities with Online Degrees
Your online degree program in social science in anthropology should teach you how to effectively collect data, analyze human behavioral patterns, and conduct advanced ethnographic study. You may also brush up on basic courses, such as history, biology, physics, and psychology. Although your associate's or bachelor's degree may qualify you for an entry-level anthropology job, such as an assistant, if you wish to become an anthropologist or teach at the college level you typically need at least a master's degree, if not a PhD. Online PhD options are limited at this time, though they should continue to increase in quantity over time.
The mean annual wage for anthropologists as of 2007 was $55,490, but this can increase with further education and work experience. The Federal Government offers the highest salaries in anthropology, with a mean annual wage of $66,040. The other top-paying industries for anthropologists are:
- Architectural, engineering, and related services
- Scientific research and development services
- Museums, historical sites, and similar institutions
- State government
It may also surprise you to learn that the highest concentration of anthropologists can be found in Hawaii, which is also among the highest paying states for this social science field. The other top five states with the most anthropologists include Wyoming, Alaska, New Mexico, and Montana.