5 Career Paths for Anthropology Majors

  • Anthropologist
  • Museum Curator
  • Translator
  • Public Health Worker
  • Lawyer

There are some good career paths for anthropology majors. Which one a student ultimately pursues will depend on their interests and where life takes them. An anthropology degree teaches students skills that are useful in any number of professions. Here are just a few.

Related resources:

1. Anthropologist

This degree primarily prepares students to become anthropologists, so it should be the first career to come to mind for someone looking into an anthropology major. Most anthropologist positions require a master’s degree, and a Ph.D. may be required for research positions or jobs at the college level. To become an anthropologist, an individual must have strong research ability and be able to give presentations of their findings. Anthropologists can choose to specialize in linguistic anthropology, cultural anthropology or physical anthropology, which all look at different aspects of how human societies function.

Featured Programs

2. Museum Curator

Anthropology majors can easily pursue a career working in museums, such as a museum director or curator. These professionals handle the various aspects of running a museum such as maintaining a collection, designing and coordinating exhibits, restoring specimens and more. They may be responsible for authenticating materials, creating digital copies for safekeeping and designing tours for the public. Museum directors also negotiate the purchase, sale, and loan of individual items or collections. Working in this environment can be a dream come true for students who are fascinated by the past and want to share it with others.

3. Translator

Graduates trained in anthropology make good translators because they can use the knowledge they have learned about other cultures to provide more accurate translations. This is an in-demand profession as well with the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimating a projected 19% growth rate, which it characterizes as much faster than average. Translators take written documents, audio or visual recordings and translate them from one language to another. They don’t just take into account the literal meaning but also cultural differences in language. Graduates can pursue a career teaching English to students abroad if they want even more cultural experiences.

4. Public Health Worker

The role of public health workers, including specialists and directors, is to plan, implement and oversee programs and initiatives on public health matters. Programs can include immunization campaigns, educational outreach and coordinating with healthcare professionals. As The Balance points out, the cultural awareness anthropology majors have can help public health workers approach the issues and outreach more effectively. Communities will approach health issues from different cultural backgrounds but with similar, inherently human reactions. This is one of several good career paths for anthropology majors that focuses on the more scientific side of the discipline.

5. Lawyer

A background in anthropology will help prepare a student for law school. Anthropology students learn research skills, critical thinking skills and the ability to read and write well, all abilities lawyers need to have. The understanding of human societies and how they affect individuals is also good knowledge to have for working as an attorney. Attorneys draft legal documents, represent clients in court, perform research and give legal advice. They typically specialize in a particular legal area such as intellectual property law, criminal law or family law. This career is among the most prestigious and on average commands six-figure salaries.

Anthropology degrees teach students about the histories of human societies and behaviors. This deep understanding of how humans work can be applied to just about any profession. This is why there are many good career paths for anthropology majors.