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What Does it Take to Be an Anthropologist?

Anthropologist Job Description Research, evaluate, and establish public policy concerning the origins of humans; their physical, social, linguistic, and cultural development; and their behavior, as well as the cultures, organizations, and institutions they have created.

Anthropologist Responsibilities

  • Teach and mentor undergraduate and graduate students in anthropology.
  • Participate in forensic activities, such as tooth and bone structure identification, in conjunction with police departments and pathologists.
  • Plan and direct research to characterize and compare the economic, demographic, health care, social, political, linguistic, and religious institutions of distinct cultural groups, communities, and organizations.
  • Observe and measure bodily variations and physical attributes of different human groups.
  • Identify key individual cultural collaborators, using reputational and positional selection techniques.
  • Study archival collections of primary historical sources to help explain the origins and development of cultural patterns.

Anthropologist Skills

Below is a list of the skills most Anthropologists say are important on the job.

Writing: Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Science: Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.

Types of Anthropologist Jobs

  • Research Associate
  • Project Evaluator
  • Scientist
  • Evaluation Specialist
  • Research Director

Anthropologist Job Outlook

In the United States, there were 7,600 jobs for Anthropologist in 2016. New jobs are being produced at a rate of 3.9% which is below the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 300 new jobs for Anthropologist by 2026. There will be an estimated 700 positions for Anthropologist per year.

Forecasted Number of Jobs for Anthropologists in U.S.

The states with the most job growth for Anthropologist are Washington, Nebraska, and Utah. Watch out if you plan on working in Pennsylvania, Wyoming, or West Virginia. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Do Anthropologists Make A Lot Of Money?

The typical yearly salary for Anthropologists is somewhere between $36,840 and $97,170.

Salary Ranges for Anthropologists

Anthropologists who work in Massachusetts, Hawaii, or Idaho, make the highest salaries.

How much do Anthropologists make in each U.S. state?

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $54,390
Arizona $64,660
Arkansas $58,240
California $67,030
Colorado $63,940
Florida $54,130
Georgia $67,550
Hawaii $82,550
Idaho $71,520
Illinois $62,650
Kentucky $59,740
Louisiana $68,690
Maryland $53,680
Massachusetts $91,140
Missouri $56,880
Montana $62,690
Nebraska $74,280
Nevada $60,480
New Jersey $64,950
New Mexico $58,300
New York $67,860
North Carolina $63,690
North Dakota $62,110
Ohio $63,280
Oklahoma $56,150
Oregon $63,090
Pennsylvania $70,770
South Carolina $62,230
South Dakota $52,340
Tennessee $59,690
Texas $71,590
Utah $66,410
Virginia $72,480
Washington $74,300
West Virginia $50,550
Wisconsin $55,720
Wyoming $67,400

What Tools & Technology do Anthropologists Use?

Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Anthropologists:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Web browser software
  • Microsoft Access
  • Word processing software
  • Data visualization software
  • Microsoft Windows
  • Autodesk AutoCAD
  • Adobe Systems Adobe Acrobat
  • Microsoft SharePoint
  • Adobe Systems Adobe Photoshop
  • Structured query language SQL
  • The MathWorks MATLAB
  • SAS
  • Adobe Systems Adobe Illustrator
  • IBM SPSS Statistics
  • Adobe Systems Adobe InDesign

How do I Become an Anthropologist?

Are there Anthropologists education requirements?

Anthropologist Degree Level

What work experience do I need to become an Anthropologist?

Anthropologist Work Experience

Anthropologists Sector

Anthropologist Sectors

Anthropologists work in the following industries:

Anthropologist Industries

Similar Careers

Those interested in being an Anthropologist may also be interested in:

Are you already one of the many Anthropologist in the United States? If you’re thinking about changing careers, these fields are worth exploring:


Image Credit: Deror avi via Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic license.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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