A degree in Anthropology will prepare you for working with people, regardless of the specific career. It may be a stepping stone to higher degrees and/or careers in law school, medicine, or education; it may serve as a final degree in human biology or behavior, or, it may be preparation for graduate school in anthropology. Regardless, a background with a strength in human cultural and biological diversity is a gateway to a variety of careers. A recent study of students graduating with a BA in Anthropology from a major eastern university found careers in a variety of disciplines (sales, public health, teaching K-12, law, marketing, social work, school administration, small business, medicine, family counseling) (Omohundro, 2001). Some of these individuals went on to higher degrees in other fields, others found careers after having completed their BA.
About 75% of Anthropologists with Ph.D.s and some with Master of Arts degrees are teaching in colleges and universities (Omohundro, 2001). Many of those employed in academia also conduct research, often in foreign countries, but also in the U.S. (in cities, zoos, etc.). Since the 1980’s employment in the non-academic sector has improved in volume and diversity with anthropologists employed in government positions (about 14%: such as the FBI, CIA, and EPA, and federally funded museums like the Smithsonian Institution), non-governmental positions (about 11%: for example conservation organizations – World Wildlife Fund, Conservation International, Nature Conservancy, international relief organizations, the United Nations) and for-profit organizations (about 25%, for example, in state or county museums, zoos, coroner’s offices, contract archaeology companies, and self-employed consultants). Employment opportunities for MA professionals in archaeology are substantially greater than for the other subfields because of the greater opportunities for employment in the private sector.
Omohundro, John T. 2001 Careers in Anthropology, 2nd edition, Mayfield Press (available in the Anthropology Office, 224 Lowry Hall).