Career in Cultural Anthropology

Cultural Anthropologist Career

Cultural anthropologists, also known as sociocultural anthropologists, study the language, art, traditions and customs of societies past and present. The minimum educational requirement for becoming a cultural anthropologist is a bachelor’s degree; however, a wider range of job opportunities requires a master’s or doctoral degree.

Cultural Anthropologist Job Description

Cultural anthropologists study human behavior in both modern and historical civilizations to learn more about how humanity has developed over time. They strive to solve a variety of mysteries about humankind, such as how civilizations formed, how customs came into existence or why cultures differ from each other. Along with museums and universities, cultural anthropologists may be employed by businesses, hospitals and penitentiaries.

Duties

Cultural anthropologists typically specialize in one region and may even focus on one specific cultural component, such as marriage rituals, ceremonial dancing or legal structure. They research and observe various cultural phenomena like music, language and art, as well as social relationships, habitation and evolution.

Anthropologists may be required to travel to various locations to gather information and may even live among distant civilizations during observation. They use this data to formulate hypotheses, which they typically detail in reports.

Cultural Anthropologist Career Information

Employment Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics ( BLS ), employment of anthropologists had been projected to increase 28% from 2008 – 2018 ( www.bls.gov ). Job growth had been predicted to be spurred by a greater demand for scientific and technical consultants who can analyze and advise on various matters, such as economic and medical issues.

Federal government agencies will also have a greater need for anthropologists to evaluate features of cultures around the world. Anthropologists with graduate degrees will have the best chances of employment.

Salary Information

In May 2010, the BLS reported that anthropologists earned on average $58,040 per year. Those employed by the federal government earned a mean annual wage of $71,940, the highest wage among all industries. The highest-paying states were Massachusetts, Hawaii and Pennsylvania, which all offered mean annual wages over $66,000.

Cultural Anthropologist Education Requirements

Cultural anthropologists with bachelor’s degrees may be qualified for entry – level positions, such as market analyst or research aide; however, most positions in university – level research and teaching demand graduate degrees.

Undergraduate Degree

Bachelor’s degree programs in anthropology are available at colleges and universities and usually entail four years of full-time study. These programs combine instruction in the cultural, physical, linguistic and archeological subsections of anthropology. Courses may include :

  • World prehistory
  • Primatology
  • Social organization
  • Urban ethnography
  • Language culture
  • Medical anthropology
  • North American archaeology
  • Gender roles

Graduate Degree

Those seeking more advanced and specialized training in anthropology may pursue master’s or doctoral degrees in anthropology. Many graduate degree programs offer concentrations in cultural anthropology that focus on practice, theory and methodology in the sub-specialty.

While master’s degree programs typically involve two years of post-baccalaureate coursework, doctorate programs generally take four years to complete and involve more extensive research and practical, fieldwork instruction.