What Are the Different Types of Anthropologist Jobs?

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  • Written By: Debra Barnhart
  • Edited By: Kaci Lane Hindman
  • Last Modified Date: 15 November 2019
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Anthropology is the study of humans within the contexts of culture and nature. Four broad categories of anthropologist jobs are available: cultural, physical — or biological, archeological and linguistic. Anthropologist jobs usually require a master’s degree or a doctorate degree. Higher education is another source of anthropologist jobs. Anthropology degrees can also offer a platform for careers outside of anthropology, especially when combined with other degrees.

Cultural anthropologists, also known as sociocultural anthropologists, focus on people and cultures that are alive today. Government, corporations and international organizations employ cultural anthropologists. These anthropologists may study workforce trends and economic conditions. They survey human behavior within the framework of culture, history, and biology, and apply their knowledge to modern business and government. Cultural anthropologists evaluate data and use critical thinking skills to make assessments about the areas they study.

Physical or biological anthropologists are concerned with the natural development of humans and the study of the human skeleton, or osteology. They determine the impact of nutrition and other lifestyle elements on humans, and their knowledge of anatomy and physiology is key to their research. The focus of the physical anthropologist could be on ancient or modern humans. These anthropologists may be employed by world health organizations, governments or other organizations, such as law enforcement. Forensic anthropologists use their knowledge of the human skeleton to help law enforcement agencies solve crimes by identifying human remains and possible causes of death.


Anthropologists who specialize in archeology study ancient civilizations through the artifacts, ruins and other remains left behind by humans. These anthropologists can work either at archeological sites unearthing artifacts or in a research laboratory setting analyzing archeological finds. Their research allows them to investigate cultures and form theories about how past civilizations lived and interacted with other civilizations.

Linguistic anthropologists concentrate on human language and its evolution. They examine language from the perspective of how geography, economics, and social interaction impact language development. The effect of language on human perception and the growth of dialects are also surveyed by linguistic anthropologists.

Higher education is another source for anthropologist jobs. These anthropologists may teach in anthropology, social science or psychology departments depending on their background and training. A doctorate degree is often required for these positions.

Anthropology degrees can be combined with other degrees to generate alternative career options. For example, someone with a degree in both anthropology and business can use the cultural understanding gained from anthropology to better understand international marketing or international trade development. The study of language and anthropology also complement each other. A knowledge of human cultures promotes better understanding and enhances communication.


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