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What We Do

So what it is that applied and practicing anthropologists do, and where do they work? One answer is, everything and everywhere. In a 2009 AAA career survey, most respondents said they worked in academic institutions (although not necessarily as tenure-track faculty), nonprofit organizations, government (federal, state, local, and tribal), in museums, and for research organizations. A smaller number said they work in the private sector, for corporations or smaller firms, or they had their own business or worked as contractors/consultants. Fewer still worked in K-12 education or for international or nongovernmental organizations.

And what kinds of jobs do anthropologists peform? The list is quite long. Again from the AAA survey, here are the top types of jobs, in order, that anthropologists peformed:

  • Administration/management;
  • Archaeology;
  • Cultural resource management (CRM);
  • Evaluation/assessment;
  • Historic preservation;
  • Ethnography/cultural anthropology;
  • Museum/curation/project design;
  • Health (international/public health);
  • Environment and natural resources;
  • Community development;
  • Education/outreach;
  • Business;
  • Computers/software development/information technology;
  • Advocacy (human rights/social justice);
  • Tourism/heritage;
  • Human/social services;
  • Healthcare management/ services/delivery;
  • Management consulting

And those are only the top several jobs mentioned. To get a bit more clarity on what to do with a career in anthropology, go to our Career Resource Center to view videos, listen to podcasts, and read interviews with practicing anthropologists to understand better what they do, and how they got there. You will also find tips on how to find jobs and what they are about,  what kind of jobs are currently being advertised with those having anthropological skills, and how to be matched with a mentor who can help advise you along the way.

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