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Summary

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Video transcript available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ypxwqsWshJ0.
Quick Facts: Anthropologists and Archeologists
2023 Median Pay $63,800 per year
$30.67 per hour
Typical Entry-Level Education Master's degree
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training None
Number of Jobs, 2022 8,000
Job Outlook, 2022-32 4% (As fast as average)
Employment Change, 2022-32 300

What Anthropologists and Archeologists Do

Anthropologists and archeologists study the origin, development, and behavior of humans.

Work Environment

Anthropologists and archeologists typically work in offices, in laboratories, or in the field. Fieldwork may require travel for extended periods.

How to Become an Anthropologist or Archeologist

To enter the occupation, anthropologists and archeologists typically need at least a master’s degree in anthropology or archeology. Employers may prefer to hire candidates who have experience doing fieldwork in their discipline.

Pay

The median annual wage for anthropologists and archeologists was $63,800 in May 2023.

Job Outlook

Employment of anthropologists and archeologists is projected to grow 4 percent from 2022 to 2032, about as fast as the average for all occupations.

About 700 openings for anthropologists and archeologists are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

State & Area Data

Explore resources for employment and wages by state and area for anthropologists and archeologists.

Similar Occupations

Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of anthropologists and archeologists with similar occupations.

More Information, Including Links to O*NET

Learn more about anthropologists and archeologists by visiting additional resources, including O*NET, a source on key characteristics of workers and occupations.

What Anthropologists and Archeologists Do About this section

Anthropologists and archeologists
Some anthropologists and archeologists excavate artifacts.

Anthropologists and archeologists study the origin, development, and behavior of humans. They study the culture and characteristics of living or past civilizations throughout the world.

Duties

Anthropologists and archeologists typically do the following:

  • Plan and oversee cultural research
  • Design and coordinate data collection appropriate for a particular region, specialty, or project
  • Collect information through methods such as observation and interviews
  • Document and manage records of information collected in the field
  • Analyze data, artifacts, and other sources of information to uncover patterns about human life, culture, and origins
  • Write reports and present research findings
  • Advise organizations on the cultural impact of policies, programs, and products

Anthropologists and archeologists use knowledge from the humanities and sciences to examine human behavior. Anthropologists focus on the ways of life, languages, and other characteristics of people throughout the world. Archaeologists research past cultures’ impacts on the customs, values, and habits of societies in the present.

Anthropologists and archaeologists apply their insights to businesses, schools, and other organizations in a variety of ways. For example, an anthropologist may collect and analyze data on a particular culture or social group for purposes of market research on product demand. An archeologist may assess potential construction sites to ensure compliance with federal regulations related to historic preservation.

The equipment used by anthropologists and archeologists varies by task and specialty. For example, they may use audio and video equipment to record research in the field; Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to evaluate potential excavation sites; trowels and sieves to collect soil, artifacts, and other objects; and scales and calipers to measure samples in the laboratory.

Anthropologists and archaeologists typically specialize in a particular field, geographic area, or time period. For example, biological and physical anthropologists study evolution and the changing nature of humans and primates. Cultural and social anthropologists study the societal consequences of human issues, such as poverty, over time. Linguistic anthropologists study how languages develop and what they teach us about history and culture.

Work Environment About this section

Two anthropologists talk to man in a desert environment.
Anthropologists often travel to interview the people they are studying.

Anthropologists and archeologists held about 8,000 jobs in 2022. The largest employers of anthropologists and archeologists were as follows:

Research and development in the social sciences and humanities 31%
Federal government, excluding postal service 21
Management, scientific, and technical consulting services 18
Engineering services 7
Colleges, universities, and professional schools; state, local, and private 6

Archeologists work in a variety of settings, such as in museums, at historical sites, and in laboratories.

Fieldwork usually requires travel for extended periods, sometimes to remote areas that involve rugged living conditions and strenuous physical exertion. Anthropologists and archaeologists may work outdoors in all types of weather, including extreme heat or cold. Depending on the project, they also may need to learn a foreign language. 

Anthropologists’ and archaeologists’ work may be stressful because they often face limited funding for their projects.

Work Schedules

Many anthropologists and archeologists work full time. When doing fieldwork, they may be required to work irregular schedules, including long hours, evenings, and weekends.

How to Become an Anthropologist or Archeologist About this section

Anthropologists and archeologists
Students assist in the surveying of proposed building sites for artifacts.

To enter the occupation, anthropologists and archeologists typically need at least a master’s degree in anthropology or archeology. Employers may prefer to hire candidates who have experience doing fieldwork in their discipline.

Education

Anthropologists and archeologists typically need at least a master’s degree to enter the occupation. Some positions require a Ph.D.

Master’s degree programs usually take 2 years to complete. Programs in anthropology or archaeology often include field or laboratory research that may take place in the United States or abroad. Students may have the opportunity to attend archeological field schools, which teach them how to excavate archeological sites and how to record and interpret findings and data.

A Ph.D. takes additional years of study beyond a master’s degree and typically involves completing a dissertation.

Although most positions require a graduate degree, some anthropologists and archaeologists begin their careers with a bachelor’s degree and related experience. They may work as field or laboratory technicians or research assistants, increasing their responsibilities as they get additional education.

Other Experience

Employers may prefer to hire candidates who have experience in anthropology or archeology. Candidates gain this experience through field training or internships while still in school.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Anthropologists and archeologists need to understand scientific methods and data to assess artifacts and other findings from their research.

Communication skills. Anthropologists and archeologists must be able to write reports or papers and to present their research findings to a variety of audiences.

Critical-thinking skills. Anthropologists and archeologists must be able to draw conclusions and answer questions based on observations, laboratory experiments, and other methods of research.

Observational skills. Anthropologists and archeologists study people, sites, and objects, paying particular attention to the surroundings and other sources relevant to their research.

Physical stamina. When conducting fieldwork, anthropologists and archeologists may need to hike or walk several miles while carrying equipment to a research site.

Pay About this section

Anthropologists and Archeologists

Median annual wages, May 2023

Social scientists and related workers

$89,440

Anthropologists and archeologists

$63,800

Total, all occupations

$48,060

 

The median annual wage for anthropologists and archeologists was $63,800 in May 2023. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $43,770, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $102,150.

In May 2023, the median annual wages for anthropologists and archeologists in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Federal government, excluding postal service $85,570
Colleges, universities, and professional schools; state, local, and private 64,330
Engineering services 64,220
Management, scientific, and technical consulting services 61,290
Research and development in the social sciences and humanities 58,960

Many anthropologists and archeologists work full time. When doing fieldwork, they may be required to travel and to work irregular schedules, including long hours, evenings, and weekends.

Job Outlook About this section

Anthropologists and Archeologists

Percent change in employment, projected 2022-32

Social scientists and related workers

5%

Anthropologists and archeologists

4%

Total, all occupations

3%

 

Employment of anthropologists and archeologists is projected to grow 4 percent from 2022 to 2032, about as fast as the average for all occupations.

About 700 openings for anthropologists and archeologists are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

Employment

Corporations will continue to use anthropological research to gain a better understanding of consumer demand within specific cultures or social groups. Anthropologists also will be needed to analyze markets, allowing businesses to serve their clients better or to target new customers or demographic groups.

Archeologists will be needed to ensure that builders, museums, and other organizations comply with federal regulations pertaining to the preservation and handling of archeological and historical artifacts.

Because anthropological and archeological research may depend on research funding, federal budgetary decisions can affect the rate of employment growth in research.

Employment projections data for anthropologists and archeologists, 2022-32
Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2022 Projected Employment, 2032 Change, 2022-32 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Anthropologists and archeologists

19-3091 8,000 8,300 4 300 Get data

State & Area Data About this section

Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS)

The Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) program produces employment and wage estimates annually for over 800 occupations. These estimates are available for the nation as a whole, for individual states, and for metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas. The link(s) below go to OEWS data maps for employment and wages by state and area.

Projections Central

Occupational employment projections are developed for all states by Labor Market Information (LMI) or individual state Employment Projections offices. All state projections data are available at www.projectionscentral.org. Information on this site allows projected employment growth for an occupation to be compared among states or to be compared within one state. In addition, states may produce projections for areas; there are links to each state’s websites where these data may be retrieved.

CareerOneStop

CareerOneStop includes hundreds of occupational profiles with data available by state and metro area. There are links in the left-hand side menu to compare occupational employment by state and occupational wages by local area or metro area. There is also a salary info tool to search for wages by zip code.

Similar Occupations About this section

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of anthropologists and archeologists.

Occupation Job Duties ENTRY-LEVEL EDUCATION Help on Entry-Level Education 2023 MEDIAN PAY Help on Median Pay
Curators and museum technicians Archivists, Curators, and Museum Workers

Archivists and curators oversee institutions’ collections, such as of historical items or of artwork. Museum technicians and conservators prepare and restore items in those collections.

See How to Become One $57,120
Economists Economists

Economists conduct research, prepare reports, and evaluate issues related to monetary and fiscal policy. They also may collect and analyze statistical data.

Master's degree $115,730
Geographers Geographers

Geographers study the Earth and the distribution of its land, features, and inhabitants.

Bachelor's degree $90,880
Historians Historians

Historians research, analyze, interpret, and write about the past by studying historical documents and sources.

Master's degree $72,890
Postsecondary teachers Postsecondary Teachers

Postsecondary teachers instruct students in a variety of academic subjects beyond the high school level.

See How to Become One $84,380
Psychologists Psychologists

Psychologists study cognitive, emotional, and social processes and behavior by observing, interpreting, and recording how people relate to one another and to their environments.

See How to Become One $92,740
Sociologists Sociologists

Sociologists study society and social behavior.

Master's degree $101,770
Survey researchers Survey Researchers

Survey researchers design and conduct surveys and analyze data.

Master's degree $60,960
Environmental scientists and specialists Environmental Scientists and Specialists

Environmental scientists and specialists use their knowledge of the natural sciences to protect the environment and human health.

Bachelor's degree $78,980
Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Anthropologists and Archeologists,
at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/anthropologists-and-archeologists.htm (visited June 12, 2024).

Last Modified Date: Wednesday, April 17, 2024

What They Do

The What They Do tab describes the typical duties and responsibilities of workers in the occupation, including what tools and equipment they use and how closely they are supervised. This tab also covers different types of occupational specialties.

Work Environment

The Work Environment tab includes the number of jobs held in the occupation and describes the workplace, the level of physical activity expected, and typical hours worked. It may also discuss the major industries that employed the occupation. This tab may also describe opportunities for part-time work, the amount and type of travel required, any safety equipment that is used, and the risk of injury that workers may face.

How to Become One

The How to Become One tab describes how to prepare for a job in the occupation. This tab can include information on education, training, work experience, licensing and certification, and important qualities that are required or helpful for entering or working in the occupation.

Pay

The Pay tab describes typical earnings and how workers in the occupation are compensated—annual salaries, hourly wages, commissions, tips, or bonuses. Within every occupation, earnings vary by experience, responsibility, performance, tenure, and geographic area. For most profiles, this tab has a table with wages in the major industries employing the occupation. It does not include pay for self-employed workers, agriculture workers, or workers in private households because these data are not collected by the Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) survey, the source of BLS wage data in the OOH.

State & Area Data

The State and Area Data tab provides links to state and area occupational data from the Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) program, state projections data from Projections Central, and occupational information from the Department of Labor's CareerOneStop.

Job Outlook

The Job Outlook tab describes the factors that affect employment growth or decline in the occupation, and in some instances, describes the relationship between the number of job seekers and the number of job openings.

Similar Occupations

The Similar Occupations tab describes occupations that share similar duties, skills, interests, education, or training with the occupation covered in the profile.

Contacts for More Information

The More Information tab provides the Internet addresses of associations, government agencies, unions, and other organizations that can provide additional information on the occupation. This tab also includes links to relevant occupational information from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET).

2023 Median Pay

The wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. Median wage data are from the BLS Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics survey. In May 2023, the median annual wage for all workers was $48,060.

On-the-job Training

Additional training needed (postemployment) to attain competency in the skills needed in this occupation.

Entry-level Education

Typical level of education that most workers need to enter this occupation.

Work experience in a related occupation

Work experience that is commonly considered necessary by employers, or is a commonly accepted substitute for more formal types of training or education.

Number of Jobs, 2022

The employment, or size, of this occupation in 2022, which is the base year of the 2022-32 employment projections.

Job Outlook, 2022-32

The projected percent change in employment from 2022 to 2032. The average growth rate for all occupations is 3 percent.

Employment Change, 2022-32

The projected numeric change in employment from 2022 to 2032.

Entry-level Education

Typical level of education that most workers need to enter this occupation.

On-the-job Training

Additional training needed (postemployment) to attain competency in the skills needed in this occupation.

Employment Change, projected 2022-32

The projected numeric change in employment from 2022 to 2032.

Growth Rate (Projected)

The percent change of employment for each occupation from 2022 to 2032.

Projected Number of New Jobs

The projected numeric change in employment from 2022 to 2032.

Projected Growth Rate

The projected percent change in employment from 2022 to 2032.

2023 Median Pay

The wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. Median wage data are from the BLS Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics survey. In May 2023, the median annual wage for all workers was $48,060.