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Cultural/Physical Anthropologist



Cultural anthropologists study the development of characteristics like social organization and stratification based on gender, income, and class. Physical anthropologists study the course of human biological development, including human evolutionary patterns (e.g., the study of bones). While physical anthropologists utilize DNA research to better understand research in their field, cultural anthropologists also rely on genetic evidence to investigate sociocultural factors. Anthropological research takes place in a number of ways. Fieldwork is very important, though there is a great deal of lab work and technical studying too. In almost every aspect, studying the genetic information of ancient and modern populations will yield information useful to continuing research. Anthropologists work in a number of ways. Some work with corporations to put the demands of modern society into context, while others may work for medical examiners and coroners to identify human remains. Still others may teach at universities as professors or work as curators in museums.

Career Outlook

Anthropology is a field with numerous sub-specialties (including medicine, bio-culture, paleontology, primatology, and genetic anthropology), and advances in genomics and genetics create even more. There are increasing opportunities for employment in both the public and private sectors, limited only by an individual's ability to develop new schools of thought regarding human nature and society.

Working Conditions & Context

Work environments for anthropologists are as varied as their sub-specialties. Depending on the nature of their research, an anthropologist may work a traditional 40-hour workweek in a laboratory or office, or they may spend most of their time in the field, often in distant locations for extended periods of time. Anthropologists in academic or research settings are expected to publish their findings, which includes the process of drafting and editing manuscripts. Many organizations, such as universities, museums, non-profit organizations, and government agencies, employ anthropologists, often on a full-time basis. Those pursuing anthropological research must often secure grants and other resources to fund their work.

Salary Information

A typical Salary Range for this career is $32,150 - $89,490 annually.

The Median Income for this career is about $53,910 annually.

Education Information


The minimal level of education for an anthropologist is a Bachelor's degree in the field. Most who wish to pursue research and other such opportunities will need at least a Master's degree. College students preparing for a career in anthropology can easily find a university that offers a degree in the field. Those interested in physical anthropology should supplement their curriculum with courses in biology, chemistry, anatomy, and physiology. Anyone expecting to travel abroad as part of their career will find familiarity with foreign languages a great help. It may even be necessary to learn languages rarely spoken. This requires specialized training in historic or indigenous languages spoken by isolated populations.

Certification & Licensing:


Other Resources

Related Careers


More Information

The American Anthropological Association

The American Association of Physical Anthropologists

The Human Biology Association

The National Association for the Practice of Anthropology

The Society for American Archaeology

The Society for Applied Anthropology

The Society for Medical Anthropology

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics

Interview with Dr. Patricia Maloof, medical anthropology consultant

* Information regarding income is cited from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
** More than a minimum degree may be required for some careers.