Is Anthropology a Good Career Choice? Pros and Cons to Consider

Have you ever considered a career in anthropology? It’s not a common choice, but it could be a great fit for those who are interested in human behavior and cultural diversity. As an anthropologist, you’ll have the opportunity to study different societies, their histories, and their customs. You’ll also immerse yourself in various cultures, gaining insights into the dynamics of power, communication, and relationships. Anthropology is a versatile field that offers many paths, from academia to consulting, research, and beyond.

The beauty of anthropology is that it combines different disciplines and areas of knowledge. You’ll draw upon archaeology, linguistics, sociology, and other branches of social science to create a comprehensive understanding of human nature. As an anthropologist, you’ll need to be curious, flexible, and open-minded, as each culture and community has its own set of norms and values. You’ll also need to be a good communicator, both verbally and in writing, as you’ll need to convey complex ideas to your colleagues, clients, and the general public. In addition, you’ll need to be able to adapt to different contexts and situations, whether you’re working in an urban center or a remote area of the world.

So, is anthropology a good career choice? It depends on your goals, interests, and values. If you’re passionate about understanding the world around you and making a difference in people’s lives, then anthropology could be the perfect fit for you. Whether you choose to work in academia, government, non-profits, or the private sector, you’ll have the opportunity to contribute to the knowledge base of humanity and to promote cross-cultural understanding. As Tim Ferriss, the famous author and entrepreneur once said, “Success is not just about climbing the ladder; it’s about creating the ladder”. Anthropology is one of those fields where you can create your own ladder and make a meaningful impact on society.

What is Anthropology?

Anthropology is the study of humans and human societies. This field of study includes various social, biological, and cultural aspects of humanity. Anthropologists explore the ways in which humans have developed over time, the ways they interact with each other and with their environment, and how societies differ from one another. This field is highly interdisciplinary, drawing from fields such as history, sociology, philosophy, and genetics.

  • There are four main subfields of Anthropology:
  • Archaeology: the study of human cultures through the examination of artifacts and other remains
  • Cultural Anthropology: the study of human societies and cultures and their evolution over time
  • Linguistic Anthropology: the study of languages and their role in shaping human social interactions
  • Biological Anthropology: the study of human biology and evolution

Anthropologists often conduct fieldwork in order to gather data directly from communities and cultures. They use this data to analyze and make conclusions about human societies and their development. This can range from studying cultural practices in tribal societies to examining how urbanization affects communities.

Skills Required for Anthropology Reasons Why Anthropology is a Great Career Choice
Strong analytical skills High demand for anthropologists in various industries such as market research, international development, and social services
Excellent communication skills Opportunities to work on meaningful projects that have social impact
Ability to think abstractly Flexibility to work in different fields and sectors, including government agencies, non-profits, and private organizations
Open-mindedness and cultural sensitivity Opportunities for international travel and immersion in different cultures
Ability to work independently and collaborate with others Varied career options, including research, teaching, and consulting

Overall, anthropology is a great career choice for those who are interested in exploring and understanding the many complexities of human societies. With a wide range of skills required and opportunities available, anthropologists can make meaningful contributions to various fields and industries while fulfilling their intellectual curiosity.

Skills needed to become an Anthropologist

Becoming an anthropologist requires critical thinking, communication, and writing skills. Anthropologists are also required to conduct research and gather data to make evidence-based conclusions. Here are the skills needed to become an anthropologist:

  • Critical thinking: Anthropologists must be able to analyze and interpret complex information from various sources and apply different perspectives to solve problems.
  • Communication: Anthropologists should have excellent oral and written communication skills as they need to articulate their findings to a wide variety of audiences, including other researchers, policymakers, and the general public.
  • Research skills: Anthropologists also require research skills to conduct fieldwork, gather data, and analyze it to draw conclusions independently or in a team.

In addition to the above core skills, anthropologists tend to have some more specialized skills depending on their specific field. Here are some examples of these specialized skills:

  • Language proficiency: Anthropologists who work with non-English speaking communities must be proficient in the local language to communicate effectively.
  • Computer skills: Anthropologists also need to be proficient with computers and be comfortable working with data analysis software and databases.
  • Archival skills: Some anthropologists work with historical documents and artifacts, which require proper handling and storage to ensure their preservation.

Overall, anthropology offers many opportunities for students who seek to learn about human behavior, society, and culture. It is a highly rewarding career for those who possess the skills and graduate with a degree in anthropology.

Job Outlook for Anthropologists

Anthropology is a field that focuses on the study of humanity – from its origins, evolution, and behavior to its diverse cultures and societies. While the fascination for this subject drives many to pursue it as a career choice, one crucial factor that cannot be overlooked is the job outlook for anthropologists.

Here are some insights into the current state of the job market for anthropologists:

  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of anthropologists is projected to grow by 5% from 2019 to 2029, which is faster than the average growth rate of all occupations.
  • The need for anthropologists will arise in various settings such as government agencies, consulting firms, non-profit organizations, and research institutes.
  • Anthropologists with expertise in emerging fields such as digital anthropology and medical anthropology will have an edge in the job market.

Moreover, the demand for anthropologists is not limited to the US. Many international organizations and NGOs require anthropologists to conduct fieldwork and research in different parts of the world.

However, it is important to note that landing a job in anthropology may require advanced degrees, research experience, or specialized skills in addition to a bachelor’s degree. Anthropologists may also have to face fierce competition for the limited job opportunities available.

Despite the challenges, anthropology remains one of the most fulfilling careers, offering the chance to make a positive impact on society and contribute to the understanding of humanity and its diverse cultures.


Considering the projected growth rate of employment opportunities for anthropologists and the diverse fields they can work in, it is safe to say that anthropology can be an excellent career choice for those with a passion for the subject. However, it is equally important to acquire the necessary education, skills, and experience to stand out in a competitive job market.

Pros Cons
+ High job growth rate – Competition for limited job opportunities
+ Opportunities in diverse settings – Advanced degrees and specialized skills may be required
+ Chance to make a positive impact on society – Job market can be dependent on grant funding and government budget

At the end of the day, whether or not anthropology is the right career choice ultimately depends on the individual’s interests, skills, and goals. For those who are driven by the desire to understand humanity in all its complexity, anthropology can be a deeply rewarding career.

Different types of Anthropologists

Anthropology is a field that incorporates multiple disciplines, all with their own respective focuses and areas of research. Below are the four main subfields of anthropology:

  • Cultural Anthropology: This subfield studies the customs, beliefs, and social behaviors of different human cultures around the world. Cultural anthropologists attempt to understand the similarities and differences between different cultural practices and how these practices shape people’s lives.
  • Archaeology: Archaeology is the subfield that involves the excavation and analysis of human artifacts and materials from past cultures and civilizations. Archaeologists aim to establish a chronological framework of the human past and ultimately glean insights into our collective history.
  • Physical Anthropology: Physical anthropology is the study of the biological and physical characteristics of modern and extinct humans and primates. This subfield examines the evolutionary history of humans, our physical adaptations, and the underlying genetic factors that contribute to our physical traits.
  • Linguistic Anthropology: This subfield studies the structure and use of language across different cultures. Linguistic anthropologists examine how language influences social interactions, relationships, and cultural practices.

Each subfield offers unique opportunities for those pursuing a career in anthropology. Many anthropologists choose to specialize in one subfield, while others explore multiple subfields throughout their careers.

Anthropology vs Sociology

Anthropology and sociology are two closely related social sciences. Both are concerned with the study of human behavior and society, but they differ in their approach, perspective, and focus of study.

  • Approach: Anthropology is a holistic and comparative approach to studying human behavior and society, while sociology is a more specialized approach that focuses on the study of social institutions and structures.
  • Perspective: Anthropology takes a cross-cultural perspective, studying the similarities and differences of human behavior and society across time and space, while sociology takes a more local perspective, studying the social behavior of specific groups and institutions within a society.
  • Focus of Study: Anthropology studies human behavior and society in all its aspects, from the biological to the cultural, while sociology focuses on the social behavior of specific groups, institutions, and structures within a society.

Both anthropology and sociology can be a good career choice depending on a person’s interests and career goals. Anthropology, with its holistic approach to studying human behavior and society, can provide a broad knowledge base that can be applied to a variety of fields, including social services, cultural resource management, international business, and education. Sociology, on the other hand, with its focus on the study of social structures and institutions, can be useful in a variety of careers, such as social work, policy analysis, market research, and public relations.

Overall, anthropology and sociology are two valuable social sciences that offer unique perspectives and approaches to studying human behavior and society. Both can provide a solid foundation for a career in various fields, and the choice depends on one’s interests, skills, and career goals.

Career Opportunities in Anthropology

Anthropology is a social science that studies human beings, their cultures, and social structures. It is a field that has gained a lot of popularity in recent years due to the increasing demand for cultural understanding in various areas of life. Anthropology offers a variety of career opportunities for individuals who are passionate about understanding the social and cultural diversity of the world. Some of the career opportunities in anthropology include:

  • Archaeologists – These professionals study the material culture of past societies to learn about how people lived in the past.
  • Forensic anthropologists – These professionals apply their knowledge of human anatomy to identify human remains in forensic investigations.
  • Cultural anthropologists – These professionals study the social and cultural practices of different societies, including language, customs, and belief systems.
  • Medical anthropologists – These professionals study the cultural, social, and economic factors that contribute to health and illness in different populations.
  • Linguistic anthropologists – These professionals study the role of language in communication, identity, and cultural practices.
  • Museum curators – These professionals manage collections of cultural objects and artifacts, ensuring their preservation and display for educational purposes.

While these career opportunities are diverse, they all offer a chance to learn about and interact with various cultures and societies, making anthropology a great career choice for those who value cultural understanding and diversity.

Anthropology in the modern world

Anthropology is a field that explores different cultures, societies and their behaviors. It has become a critical field in the modern world due to increasing globalization and cultural diversity. Anthropologists study different cultures to help people understand the similarities, differences, and interactions between different societies.

As the modern world is becoming more interconnected and diverse, anthropology is becoming more relevant to today’s society. There are numerous career opportunities that come with studying anthropology. It is a fascinating field that allows you to work in various sectors, including government, NGOs, research organizations, and more.

Why Anthropology is a Good Career Choice

  • Anthropology is a versatile field. It provides valuable skills such as research, data analysis, and critical thinking.
  • The demand for anthropologists is increasing day by day. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts an 11% job growth rate for anthropologists and archaeologists from 2018 to 2028, much higher than the average growth rate across other fields.
  • Anthropologists have the opportunity to travel to different parts of the world for their work. They can immerse themselves in the culture they are studying and interact with the locals. This profession provides a unique opportunity to experience and learn about different cultures.
  • Anthropology is a highly respected field of study, and anthropologists contribute significantly to society. They work towards solving complex problems, including improving social structures, enhancing international relations, and finding solutions to global challenges.

Career Paths in Anthropology

Anthropology offers endless career paths in a wide range of sectors. Some typical career paths include:

  • Academic Anthropologist: An academic anthropologist works in colleges, universities, and other educational institutions as teachers and researchers.
  • Archaeologist: Archaeologists study past cultures through artifacts, structures, and other physical remains of past societies.
  • Cultural Anthropologist: Cultural anthropologists examine cultural practices, beliefs, and traditions.
  • Linguistic Anthropologist: They study the structure and evolution of languages, including language development in cultures.
  • Forensic Anthropologist: Forensic anthropologists work with law enforcement agencies to identify human remains through scientific methods.
  • Medical Anthropologist: Medical anthropologists focus on cultural beliefs and behaviors related to health, illness, and healing to understand better health inequalities and diseases.

The Future of Anthropology

Anthropology is a field that is constantly evolving and expanding. As the world becomes even more connected, the need for anthropologists and their expertise will continue to grow. In the future, anthropologists will focus on and work towards solving global challenges, such as climate change, social inequality, and cultural preservation.

Skills Opportunities
Research and Analysis Academic Positions
Critical Thinking Government Agencies
Intercultural Communication Non-Profit Organizations
Global Awareness International Business

Anthropology is an exciting and important field that continues to gain popularity and attract new learners, and it is a great career choice for anyone with an interest in people, culture, and society.

FAQs About Is Anthropology a Good Career Choice

1. What are the job opportunities available for anthropology graduates?

Anthropology graduates can pursue careers in a variety of areas such as education, research, healthcare, museums, non-profit organizations, and government agencies.

2. Is anthropology a financially lucrative career?

Anthropology may not be one of the highest-paying careers, but it offers average salaries that can range from $50,000 to $80,000 per year depending on the area of specialization.

3. What skills does an anthropology degree develop?

An anthropology degree develops skills such as critical thinking, research, problem-solving, cultural awareness, and communication that can be valuable in many professions.

4. What are the benefits of studying anthropology?

Studying anthropology broadens your understanding of human culture and behavior, and develops skills that are transferable to different professions.

5. Do I need a graduate degree to have a career in anthropology?

While having a graduate degree can be beneficial, there are also opportunities for those with a bachelor’s degree in anthropology, especially in research and cultural resource management.

6. Is anthropology a good choice for someone interested in traveling?

Yes, anthropology can be an excellent choice for individuals interested in traveling and experiencing new cultures as research and fieldwork often require travel and living in different locations for extended periods.

7. What future trends can be expected for careers in anthropology?

The field of anthropology is expected to grow particularly in areas such as cultural resource management, environmental anthropology, and applied anthropology.

Closing: Is Anthropology a Good Career Choice?

Thank you for reading about whether anthropology is a good career choice! As you can see, anthropology offers a vast range of opportunities to explore. From education to research, to traveling, an anthropology degree can take you far and broaden your cultural horizons. It is also a field with expected growth in the coming years, presenting a stable job outlook. Overall, anthropology can be a great option for those with an interest in human behavior and who want to contribute to society in a meaningful way. Don’t hesitate to consider this field if it piques your interest and visit us again for more exciting content!