Resources for Careers in Anthropology

In upcoming months, we’ll be sharing some discipline-specific resources useful for both academic and non-academic job searches.  We’ve started off by asking anthropology professors and students at the GC for their recommendations.

Learning about career options:

You can find “applied” and “practicing” anthropologists working in all types of job sectors, some of which look quite different from academia (think historic preservation, business, health, community development, and more).  And here’s some good news: the Bureau of Labor Statistics has predicted that employment for archeologists and anthropologists is set to grow by 19 percent from 2012 to 2022.

If you’re trying to figure out what types of jobs are out there, it might be helpful to start by hearing how fellow anthropologists have put their degrees to work:

  • The National Association for the Practice of Anthropology (NAPA) has produced downloadable podcast interviews with practicing anthropologists in a number of fields, focusing on their carer trajectories and how they’ve used anthropology in their jobs.  The site also features video interviews with Smithsonian staff anthropologists.
  • In 2001 (admittedly, a while back) the NAPA Bulletin published a special issue (Jan 2001, volume 20:1) entitled Careers in Anthropology: Profiles of Practitioner Anthropologists (edited by Paula L.W. Sabloff).  Though a bit old, this features professionals working in a wide range of fields and might be a good starting point for those unsure what types of jobs are out there.  It is available electronically through the GC library.
  • The American Anthropological Association has produced three DVDs that are available for purchase on various careers in anthropology.  In addition, the AAA’s website has articles on practicing anthropology from within the academy, in the federal government, as an international consultant, and while working in tourism.

Finding job openings:

Websites featuring job postings specifically aimed at anthropologists include:

Check our website for links to general jobs search engines and other sites that feature jobs listings in archeology, museums and libraries; teaching; consulting; etc.

Remember, however, that many people report finding their jobs through who they know, making networking a crucial part of the job search (see our tips on networking here).  One way to make new connections is through NAPA’s mentoring program; if you’re interested, check out

Conducting a Successful Job Search:

There are a number of books out there that describe more career options and offer advice on the job search for anthropologists.  Some particularly useful ones include:

  • Briller, Sherylyn H., and Amy Goldmacher, 2009, Designing an Anthropology Career: Professional Development Exercises, Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press.
  • Camenson, Blythe, 2004,  Great Jobs for Anthropology Majors, McGraw-Hill.
  • Ellick, Carol J., and Joe E. Watkins, 2011, The Anthropology Graduate’s Guide: From Student to a Career, Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press.
  • Guerron-Montero, Carla, 2008, “Careers in 21st Century Applied Anthropology: Perspectives from Academics and Practitioners,” NAPA Bulletin Number 29, Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Gwynne, Margaret A., 2002, Applied Anthropology: A Career-Oriented Approach, Boston: Bacon Allyn.
  • Gwynne, Margaret A., 2002, Anthropology Career Resources Handbook, Pearson.
  • Nolan, Riall W., 2003, Anthropology in Practice: Building a Career Outside the Academy (Directions in Applied Anthropology), Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publisher.
  • Omohundro, John T., 1997, Careers in Anthropology, Mountain View, CA: Mayfield Publishing Co.
  • Stephens Jr., W. Richard, 2001, Careers in Anthropology, Pearson.
  • Wasson, Christina, ed.  2006.  Making History at the Frontier: Women Creating Careers as Practicing Anthropologists.  NAPA Bulletin No. 26, Berkeley, CA:  University of California Press.

 Additional Anthropology Resources:

-Flannery Amdahl