Most anthropologists continue to be employed in research and teaching positions at colleges and universities. For these jobs, a PhD is generally required, involving two or three years of graduate course work, a year or more of original research, followed by writing a thesis. However, in recent years many anthropologists have moved beyond the academy to utilize their specialized training in a variety of occupations. Cultural and linguistic anthropologists are working in federal, state, and local governments; in international agencies, hospitals, school systems, and consulting firms; in research or administrative jobs; and as social analysts or program officers.
Biological anthropologists might find themselves working in museums, as consultants for law enforcement in victim identification, in medical and epidemiology research, and in studies of ergonomics. Archaeologists work for universities, museums, and in state and federal agencies such as the Park Service. Recently, the areas of cultural resource management, historic preservation, and environmental research have opened up many opportunities for archaeologists. More information on employment opportunities for anthropologists can be found in “Getting a Job Outside the Academy,” available from the Anthropology departmental office.
Here is additional information about the work of anthropologists. You can also listen to professional anthropologists speaking about their work in the American Anthropological Association webinar series. These are great ways to see the diversity of possibilities.