How Great is the Demand for Anthropologists? Are there jobs?
Several new and exciting employment areas have recently opened up, however, in other work settings that require anthropological skills and imagination. These include business, health care, tourism, recreation, industry, journalism, government and communities and organizations of various kinds. Most of these require at least a Master's degree; some require a Ph.D. Sometimes, you will have to show potential employers that your anthropological training can help them as you begin to practice anthropology in these non-traditional settings.
What Courses Should I Take? What Skills Would be Good to Acquire While I'm in College?
You should take courses that provide you with a strong grounding in research methods, anthropological theories, methods and analytical tools. Then take courses that give you a broad exposure to such areas as migration, forensics and social organization and in specific geographic areas such as Mexico or East Asia. You can then identify your subfield of interest such as biological anthropology, museum work or medical anthropology. Don't forget courses in related departments such as geosciences or a course in human anatomy. Finally, its important to get training in writing, computers, qualitative data analysis and public speaking. Take advantage of co-curricular activities to enable you to enhance your verbal and written communication skills. Observation and interviewing skills are important. Internships, when available, are almost always valuable, such as those in local museums or other organizations. Participating in an archaeological "dig" as a volunteer will give you a taste of the anthropological adventure.
I've Prepared my Resume; Now what? Who Employs Anthropologists?
You'd be surprised at the different kinds of places anthropologists find work! Drug companies (such as Shaman Pharmaceutical), large hospitals (where you might study various health issues), businesses with overseas offices or even here in the U.S. (studying resource management, the impacts of new technology, or market research). Many community organizations look for creative program directors with broad intercultural skills. The U.S. Forest Service, state highway departments and local and state museums hire anthropology graduates. Many anthropologists work in the U.S. National Park system. Some anthropologists are self-employed, running their own businesses (in adventure tourism, for example, or supplying forensic expertise to local criminal investigation agencies). Others work for consulting firms in the arts, public health or international development.
I've Heard of "Indiana Jones": Are There any Well-Known Anthropologists?
"Indy" of course, was pure Hollywood fiction, but such personalities as novelists Kurt Vonnegut, Michael Crichton, Mario Vargas-Llosa (Peruvian novelist and former presidential candidate), poet Gary Snyder, Spellman College President Johnetta Cole, cellist Yo Yo Mah, popular singer Tracy Chapman, "Star Wars" creator George Lucas, choreographer Katherine Dunham and Raisa Gorbachev all have anthropology degrees.