Anthropology is one of the branches of Social Sciences and it is the study of human cultures and societies throughout time and history. The main goal of Anthropology is to understand and explain human history and activity from a social, biological, and evolutionary point of view. Anthropologists study the different cultural expressions and linguistic systems of different social groups and how they’re connected by similarities and differences.
Like with most Social Sciences, Anthropologists have several branches and specializations they can choose from. There’s Social Anthropology, Physical Anthropology, Anthropological Linguistics, Cultural Anthropology, and even Archaeology. It is quite common for Social Sciences to draw knowledge from one another and complement each other, and Anthropology is no different since it shares many characteristics and traits with the fields of History and Sociology.
Anthropologists usually work in academic institutions, research organizations, governments, consulting firms, and non-governmental organizations. Their work may be targeted at academic research and the advancement of the discipline. It can also be aimed towards the betterment of human societies by taking a practical approach to problem solution to their knowledge and skills.
Here’s a non-exhaustive list of common tasks Anthropologists are required to complete.
- Planning and conducting research to characterize and compare economics, demographic, social, political, linguistic, and cultural distinctions of social groups:
- Collecting information and making judgments through observation, interviews, and document reviews;
- identifying culturally specific beliefs and practices affecting health status and access to services in populations;
- gathering and analyzing artifacts and remains to increase knowledge of ancient cultures;
- explaining the origins and physical, social, and cultural development of human societies, including beliefs, languages, and resource management practices;
- observing and measuring physical and bodily variations of different human groups;
- applying systematic sampling techniques to ensure accuracy and completeness of data; and
- creating data records to describe and analyze social patterns and processes.
- Writing about and presenting research findings for specialized and general audiences:
- Formulating general rules that describe and predict social development and behaviours;
- providing advice to government agencies, private organizations, and other employers on program proposals, plans, and social policies; and
- presenting investigation and research findings by publishing papers or holding professional conferences.
- Developing intervention procedures for social development groups:
- Collaborating with economic development planners and specialists;
- applying ecological knowledge and principles to culturally distinctive land and resource management projects;
- conducting research in communities and organizations to assess how work is done in different societies and cultures; and
- observing the production, distribution, and consumption of food to identify and solve food security issues.
- Planning and conducting social research.
- Studying the similarities and differences between societies.
- Collecting and studying data and information regarding cultures and societies.
- Liaising with colleagues and other professionals to complement each other’s work.
- Developing theories and explanations of human behaviour.
- Documenting findings and research for later publishing.
- Collaborating with government agencies, organizations, and foundations devoted to social development.
The average salary for Anthropologist related jobs is $83,655 per year or $43 per hour. This is around 2.6 times more than the Median wage of the country. Entry level positions start at $59,000 while most experienced workers make up to $117,000. These results are based on 1 salary extracted from job descriptions.
- Outstanding knowledge of anthropological studies and theories:
- Being able to conduct research on social, cultural, and anthropological data;
- knowing how to collect and sort data and findings; and
- analyzing and documenting data.
- Excellent research and project development skills:
- Being able to translate ideas into practical goals and to define hypotheses on social development processes;
- designing and administering data collection tools (e.g. surveys, interviews, and observation sheets) and methods; and
- applying theoretical approaches to social problems.
- Analytical, problem-solving, and conflict resolution skills:
- Using creativity and imagination to develop new theories and to apply new solutions to problems.
- Organizational and time management skills:
- Strategically structuring and customizing interview materials and observation sheets; and
- prioritizing and planning work activities so as to use time efficiently while managing a high volume, diverse workload.
Anthropologists can find work opportunities in a variety of settings, including government agencies, foundations, and non-governmental organizations. Entry-level jobs are available for aspirants with a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology. Further studies and academic achievements are often encouraged in this field. Aspirants with a master’s or doctoral degree may be hired for higher positions and may be allowed to conduct and direct their own research projects.
An excellent way of getting experience in this field is by doing volunteer job. There are plenty of organizations, both governmental and otherwise, looking for volunteers to help them work. Having at least 2 years of experience volunteering or working in any related position in this field can be an asset for any aspirant.