How Do I Start a Career in Applied Anthropology?

Florence J. Tipton

Normally, you can start a career in applied anthropology by following several steps. First, you can attain the education credentials that most employers require for applied anthropology jobs. Second, networking and interning during your college career can open a path for an anthropology career. Finally, you might want to look for the jobs that require the knowledge, skills and abilities gained during your academic training.

Applied anthropology training might begin with receiving an undergraduate and graduate degree.
Applied anthropology training might begin with receiving an undergraduate and graduate degree.

Starting a career in applied anthropology typically begins with academic education and training that targets a specialization. Applied anthropology training might begin with receiving both an undergraduate and graduate degree in urban or forensic anthropology. For most career positions, you might also need a postgraduate degree in linguistics or socio-cultural concentration areas.

Internships during college can help start off an anthropology career after graduation. Often, you can intern during the summer months and other breaks from school classes. Another option is to intern throughout the school year, depending on available programs.

For this type of career, an internship can build your skills and self-confidence to perform expected job duties. With an internship, you receive hands-on training that exposes you to daily activities. Also, you can build a personal network of professional contacts that might help to advance your career options.

Networking is another way of exposure to opportunities for a career in applied anthropology. Attending conferences or workshops for anthropologists can lead to connections with professionals currently working in the field. One more way to network is by joining associations relevant to the field of applied anthropology.

Developing essential applicable skills usually determines your options for starting a career in this field. Many of these skills include communication skills, including oral, written, and interpersonal. Additionally, you might need skills in the methods of surveying, using, and developing statistical data.

Looking for employment is the next step to consider in pursuing an applied anthropology career. Places of employment for a career in applied anthropology could vary among a broad spectrum of industries. Some employment opportunities are with public or human services organizations in research or program development positions. Other opportunities are typically found with private companies in international markets.

Most likely, you will work in positions not directly associated with the traditional understanding of anthropology fieldwork. Rather, your education credentials prepare you to assume roles in corporations or government entities. In these settings, you will apply anthropological concepts to human culture and societal norms that are related to business functions.

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