A recent high school graduate who desperately wants to be an anthropology major but worries about the anthropology major jobs after graduation:
I’ve recently graduated high school and I know for a fact what I want to study in college is anthropology. I’ve always been fascinated by different cultures, origins, languages, ways of thinking in different societies. However, my only problem is that when people ask me what I’m going to do with my degree, I don’t even know myself. I’ve spent countless nights worrying over this and searching for careers. While I am aware that anthropology is a major that you can either do “everything and nothing” with, I’m struggling to find careers that actually involve anthropology. For example, I know of people who major in anthropology and go on to medical school, law school, or other graduate programs. In the end though, these people do not actually end up with a career that largely deals with anthropology, but an entirely different field. So my question is, realistically (outside of academia and archaeology) are there any careers for a desperate young adult that are largely anthropology focused?
I believe I get this question because the most popular post ever on this blog is Anthropology: Worst Major for Corporate Tool, Best Major to Change Your Life. That August 2012 post has had over 60,000 page-views and still gets about 2000 hits per month. I hope that’s because the post succinctly reacts to the “worst major” rhetoric, staking out an optimistic position based on a vision for transformational anthropology. The post also outlines some of anthropology’s practical applications, and that indeed, anthropology is preparation for “anything.” Finally, I also hope the post is realistic about anthropology’s internal issues as well as prospects in a world marked by such extreme inequalities.
Nevertheless, the reader question remains pertinent. The American Anthropological Association has a valuable page on What You Can Do With a Degree in Anthropology, and some of the specific anthropology major jobs listed at the bottom of that page will involve quite a lot of anthropological skills. And there’s the book by Veronica Strang, What Anthropologists Do (2009).
Please share advice for anthropology major jobs!
Update: See the Disqus comment stream below and the Living Anthropologically Facebook page for some ideas. Also note the blog-posts:
- At Local Possibilities, ideas about the jobs of the future and the direction of capitalism: Farmers and Foodies of the Future
- From the Anthsisters a series on Anthropology… what kind of job will you get with that?
- In ethnography.com, Are Long-term Job Prospects Better for Philosophers than for Engineers?
- On aidnography, Who do anthropologists think they are?