NAPA Mentor Program

Information for anthropology majors and BA/BS holders

If you plan to graduate or have already graduated with a bachelor’s degree in anthropology, you may be wondering what to do next. Below are several frequently asked questions, and some general answers. At the bottom you will also find a link with questions from past NAPA mentees.

Q. I just got a bachelor’s degree with an anthropology major. What can I do?
One can work with a BA/BS in the field of anthropology but the jobs are somewhat scarce. If you have an archaeology specialty you will find it easier, especially if you have already done field work. There may be jobs with private cultural resource management firms or even the federal government. These jobs can be affected more frequently by seasonal or economic factors than other jobs, however.

Cultural anthropologists may find jobs with the federal government or with private companies, but this can depend on whether you have specially focused skills or experience. Multinational corporations, for example, may want assistance in figuring out new international markets,  in doing consumer research, or enhancing human resources, but they often want those with more advanced degrees and experience to do these analyses. You will probably find that experience through an internship, field work, or volunteer service will be critical in finding job leads.

Museums hire bachelor degree holders, but those jobs can be quite scarce indeed, and you will likely need a graduate degree to advance beyond a certain level. The pay level will be a bit slender, too, with only a BA/BS.

As with many nontechnical BAs, your personality, life experience, and social and professional skills may play more of a role than your actual degree.

Q. Are there other options?
Anthropology can be a stepping stone into other fields. It is important to note that an anthropology degree is excellent when combined with a second major, or with a major/minor combination. Virtually any other specialty will be enhanced by your knowledge of the complex ways in which people and cultures interact. In fact, research has shown that up to 50 percent of anthropologists plan to combine their degree with some other specialty in pursuit of a career. This can range from medicine and law to business to other arts and social sciences.

Some sectors and roles to combine with anthropology include the following:
[ ]  Mass Communications (advertising, public relations, media/journalism)
[ ]  Business (marketing, consumer research, human resources, IT)
[ ]  Research (private business, nonprofit, academic settings)
[ ]  Law/Law Enforcement (police/intelligence agencies, legal research)
[ ]  Health (health care, research, program implementation, service delivery)
[ ]  Social and Human Services (program administration and management, research, service delivery)

Q. Will I be locked into a career track?
If you are the kind of person who does not know what you want to do with the rest of your life, or you see yourself pursuing a number of different jobs or careers over your lifetime, then anthropology provides a great background for being successful in numerous and diverse contexts.

Q. What are the next steps?
[ ]  Check online for books and resources on careers in anthropology; there are a handful of titles to review.
[ ]  See if there is a local practitioner organization (LPO) in your area.
[ ]  If you want to explore graduate school possibilities, see the website of the Consortium of Practicing and Applied Anthropology Programs (COPAA; www.copaa.info).
[ ]  You can also check out the National Association of Student Anthropologists (NASA, a AAA section: www.studentanthropologists.org/).
[ ]  If you attend an annual AAA meeting, you can stop by the NAPA information table to see if instant mentoring is offered.

You might also find some answers in the Mentor Q&A, which is a compilation of actual questions from undergraduates and responses from NAPA mentors.