6 Unexpected Jobs for Anthropology Majors


By Brandi Dye

Sure, Indiana Jones is cool, but there are more jobs for anthropology majors beyond archaeology and academia, especially if excavating tombs isn’t your thing.

1. User experience researcher

Experience with qualitative research can serve you well as a user experience researcher. You’ll be tasked with making sure software, products, and applications are usable and beneficial to consumers by conducting studies, surveys, and tests with potential users. User experience (or UX) researchers make an average of $86,781 a year.

2. Park ranger

Park rangers do a lot more than wear khaki and issue littering citations. Some do serve as law enforcement, but many are using the skills gained from an anthropology curriculum. Park rangers have the opportunity to immerse visitors in the cultural history of their park through programs and guided tours. Ranger salaries vary widely based on location, responsibilities, and experience, but the average park ranger salary is $14.09 per hour (about $29,307 a year) according to Indeed.com.

3. Librarian

Anthropology students are pros at conducting and presenting research, making a career as a librarian a natural progression. Librarians guide the patrons of city, school, and university libraries through research and conduct informational programming. While an undergraduate anthropology degree does lend itself well to the research skills required of a librarian, most positions require a master’s degree in library science from a school that’s accredited by the American Library Association. The average pay for a librarian is $59,050.

4. Foreign affairs officer

As a foreign affairs officer, you will work between government agencies to find and implement policy solutions to complex global issues that require an understanding of other cultures. Foreign affairs officers work in specialized agencies, like the U.S. Department of State or the U.S. Department of Agriculture and earn an average salary of  $90,500. 

5. Museum curator

Use your anthropology degree to bring other cultures right into your own community. This is one of the jobs for anthropology majors that combine research, cultural studies, history, and working with people. Museum curators use their understanding of culture, history, and the relevance of art to research, develop, and create exhibits. The average salary for a museum curator is $49,368.

6. Social worker 

You can put people first with a career in social work and human services. Social workers provide support, counseling, information, and resources to clients, and can work in a variety of fields, from substance abuse counseling to child protective services, school counseling, and more. A background in anthropology, especially cultural anthropology, will allow you to understand the economic, social, and moral systems that impact your clients. FYI, you will need a master’s of social work (MSW) and a license to practice in your state. The average salary of a social worker is $45,941.

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