Top 11 Jobs for Anthropology Majors
If you are fascinated by different cultures, past and present, and are intrigued by how they impact relationships, work roles, gender roles, and social institutions, then you should consider an anthropology major as a possible foundation for your career.
An anthropology major will provide you with diverse skills that you can apply to many different types of jobs, in institutions ranging from public health to law to education. You will find information below on the kinds of skills you develop with an anthropology major, as well as a list of ten jobs that are ideal for an anthropology major.
Anthropology Major Skills
Anthropology majors have an intense curiosity about the diversity of cultures throughout human history. They are open to new ideas and new ways of thinking about life roles.
Anthropology majors gather information through observation of groups within foreign cultures or domestic subcultures. They develop the tools to analyze group dynamics. Anthropology majors learn to identify patterns of leadership and evaluate the effectiveness of organizations.
The study of anthropology teaches students to think outside their cultural experience in order to find creative solutions to social and organizational problems. Anthropology majors also hone writing skills while recording ethnographies, writing field notes, composing essays, and researching theses. They develop the capacity to present material to groups, facilitate group discussions, and build consensus while working toward common goals.
Top 11 Jobs for Anthropology Majors
Many factors, such as your personal values, abilities, interests, and graduate training, will impact your career choices if you major in anthropology. However, here are just a few options to consider as you brainstorm possibilities.
Attorneys practicing in the areas of international, immigration, and human rights law benefit from an understanding of the varied cultural contexts of different foreign countries. Anthropology majors tend to empathize with and understand underrepresented individuals, and want to advocate for their interests. They can communicate effectively with diverse individuals and groups.
Attorneys draw upon the attention to detail and writing skills of the anthropology major as they plan their cases and compose briefs and other legal documents. If you are interested in becoming an attorney, you will first have to go to graduate school and receive a law degree.
Diversity officers work to promote diversity in various organizations. In this role, they need the anthropology major’s knowledge of different socioeconomic and cultural groups. Diversity officers analyze current organizational practices and suggest alternative ways to recruit and retain employees from different backgrounds.
Foreign Language Teacher
Foreign language teachers teach students how to speak, write, and understand a particular foreign language. They also typically educate students about the countries and cultures that speak the language they are teaching.
Anthropology majors understand the cultural basis of idioms and other subtleties of language, so they are well equipped for this role. They are enthusiastic about foreign cultures and can skillfully impart an appreciation for cultures to their students as part of their language instruction.
The organizational skills of the anthropology major are also useful, as foreign language teachers often develop their own curricula and plan the details of their lessons. If you do not know a foreign language but are interested in international cultures, you might also consider a job teaching abroad. This combines an anthropologist’s passion for travel with an interest in education.
Foreign Service Officer
A foreign service officer works for the government, serving as a diplomat in a foreign country. Foreign service officers must understand the social and cultural context of the countries where they work.
Anthropology training will enable them to study the customs and norms of their service area in order to carry out diplomatic activity discretely and effectively.
Problem-solving skills developed in college will help an anthropology graduate to assist U.S. citizens with issues as they arise in their assigned country. Foreign service officers draw on the attention to detail of the anthropology major as they carefully document their cases. Interpersonal, verbal, and writing skills are vital to foreign service officers as they carry out their work.
Human Resources Representative
Human resources (HR) representatives help to define the roles of employees and the makeup of the workforce at organizations. They cultivate an office culture that supports creativity, productivity, and loyalty among staff. They write newsletters and other intra-company communications, and organize events to enhance staff morale.
HR representatives tap the problem-solving and interpersonal skills of the anthropology major to resolve issues among employees, and between employers and employees.
International Nonprofit Administrator
Administrators at international nonprofit organizations orchestrate programs that serve the needs of particular populations in various countries. These administrators need to design and carry out initiatives with an understanding of the cultural contexts in the countries where they operate.
Administrators at international nonprofit organizations can harness the problem-solving skills of the anthropology major as they devise solutions to issues like famine, disease, drought, and poverty.
Interpreters/translators translate information from one language to another, dealing variously with spoken language, sign language, or written language. Anthropology majors can use their cultural knowledge to properly and accurately translate communications into different languages.
Interpreters and translators can also draw upon the adaptability of the anthropology major to adjust to other cultures and environments as they carry out their work.
Translators and interpreters must be keen observers who are attentive to detail. The verbal communication and writing skills acquired by an anthropology major can serve them well.
Media planners analyze the lifestyles and media preferences of various consumer groups in order to decide which media platform (magazines, newspapers, television, internet, etc.) a company should use to advertise a product.
Media planners must communicate effectively and work collaboratively with other members of an advertising team. The anthropology major's ability to respect differences can help a media planner to foster positive interactions among diverse team members and clients. The anthropology major's knowledge of cultural groups can also help a media planner to understand different consumer groups.
Organizational Development Specialist
An organizational development specialist works within an organization to develop, coordinate, and lead programs that help the company to be productive. Organizational development specialists use the anthropology major's interviewing skills to gather information from staff about roles and processes.
Organizational development specialists write detailed reports of their findings. They formulate recommendations and present their suggestions for improving organizational effectiveness to management groups. These reports require strong writing and research skills.
Public Health Specialist
Public health specialists oversee initiatives that address health needs within various communities. They plan and carry out programs to educate the public about ways to prevent, treat, or limit the impact of diseases and health problems. The cultural awareness of the anthropology major would help public health workers to frame their communications and projects within an appropriate cultural context.
Similarly, specialists in epidemiology study how diseases are transmitted. They benefit from the anthropologist’s knowledge of how people interact with each other in different cultures, particularly in terms of their sanitary practices.
Social Media Specialist
Social media specialists think strategically about how to convey electronic media messages to different segments of the public, and influence perceptions of their products or services. Anthropology majors are equipped to study and analyze the needs and tastes of various demographic groups, and to anticipate their reactions to communications.
Social media specialists create written, verbal, and visual content, and evaluate contributions from other staff. They inject positive representations of their brand into online discussions, monitor online threats to their organization's image, and put forward countering messages using social media outlets.