How to Become an Anthropologist

An anthropologist studies and documents human behavior, physiology, and language.

If you’re interested in human nature, psychology, biology, and history then you might like to become an anthropologist.

An anthropologist’s role is to ask the question, ‘What are human beings?’ They study our history, our culture, and physiological form.

Anthropology is actually quite a diverse field, nearly all anthropologists will focus their career on one of the four fields of anthropology.

These include cultural anthropology, archeology, linguistic anthropology, and biological anthropology.

When you become an anthropologist you could find yourself working in a diverse range of environments.

Some spend their career researching and teaching at colleges.

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Others work on archeological site digs, while some will travel the world studying different cultures.

Education Requirements to Become an Anthropologist

If you would like to become an anthropologist, then you should definitely enjoy academics since it will be a large part of your career.

To become an anthropologist, you will need to climb the ranks of academia, and eventually earn a doctorate to be competitive in this field.

Start by getting good grades in English and the humanities while you are at high school.

You’ll then need to complete a four year bachelor’s degree at college, most likely with a major in anthropology.

It would be wise to do well enough to obtain honors or complete a dissertation.

You then will need to go on to a masers program, followed by a doctorate.

A good idea is to take on a teaching position as soon as you are able.

You might start with tutoring students one on one and then move on to teach your own classes.

As soon as you are able to, you should start publishing your own papers.

Usually at the honors or masters level you’ll have the opportunity to publish your own research.

It’s important to make good contacts in the academic world.

It’s most likely that you will be employed by a university or college when you become an anthropologist.

Most spend the majority of the year teaching and publishing papers, and usually attend digs or cultural studies during summer.

Another path to become an anthropologist is to get grants to conduct your own research.

These are highly competitive, and you will need to have a strong background of published research before you are given a grant.

They are usually given out by universities, government departments, and non-profit organizations.

The American Anthropological Society is a good place to find out more information about this career path.

Anthropologist Job Description

The role of an anthropologist is to study, record, and research the traits of the human race so as to gain a better understand of it.

Anthropology is divided into four sections:

Cultural Anthropology – The study of human behavior and the way society has functioned in different ways throughout history and in the present.

Biological Anthropology – The study of the human form, and how it has changed over time.

Linguistic Anthropology – The study of human speech, language, and communication.

Archeology – The study of buildings and structures, and how they contribute to and alter the way humans behave.

Many anthropologists teach and research in the context of colleges.

They will divide their time between teaching, researching, reading and publishing their own findings.

They may attend field trips once or twice a year.

Some anthropologists complete research all year round.

Some are employed by universities; others work with the assistance of grants and other funding.

Here are some of the tasks of an anthropologist:

  • Attending an archeological dig
  • Completing a field trip to study human behavior
  • Teaching in a college
  • Conducting research in a college
  • Publishing papers
  • Keeping up to date with recent findings
  • Applying for grants and funding

Anthropologist Salary and Career Path

To become an anthropologist, you’ll need to study anthropology at a doctoral level at college.

You’ll probably start working as a teacher, or a teacher’s assistant.

Once you have established a name for yourself through publishing papers, you’ll have more opportunities to attend digs, field trips, and other hands on research.

The wage for an anthropologist will vary significantly.

When you first start teaching, you may only be working part time and not make a lot.

Working as a college professor, your income would be significantly higher, possible over $100,000.

The current median income for an anthropologist is $54,000 according to

Some similar career paths include:

When you become an anthropologist, you will be rewarded with a very challenging and intriguing career path.

While you will face a lot of hard work throughout your career, if this is an area that you are passionate about, then it’s likely that you will enjoy it greatly.

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