The Pros and Cons of a Career in Anthropology

When many people think of studying anthropology, they think of arrowheads, dig sites and adventures in remote locations. However, this is only half of the anthropological experience – the other half can be just as fun. Indeed, part of the excitement is getting to visit dig sites and examine anthropological finds, but it is also exciting to take a step back, examine the clues and try to find answers. Mankind has been a mysterious species and because of this, there is always something new to discover. Yet, before you decide to become an anthropologist, it is important to take a look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of pursuing the career. Here are some of the pros and cons of a career in anthropology.

AnthropologyOne of the biggest pros to becoming an anthropologist is that you could be making a high salary. In the top five percent of anthropologists working in the field, the average annual salary is around the high six figures. Still, in lower brackets, you can also make a decent living. Most of this capital – and your salary – comes from research grants that are given to universities and anthropological research groups. As an anthropologist, you will usually be working with one of these groups.

Another big pro is that there are a lot of job opportunities – if you have the credentials. While you must go to school and earn your degree to become an anthropologist, you will usually have a position lined up right after you graduate college. There is also a good chance that you will be working with your professor or with a team of other classmates – either in the college laboratory or on a dig site in an area where anthropological finds are plentiful.

However, one of the biggest cons of the anthological field is that it takes a lot of education to get to the top of your field. Plus, your education will most likely last through your entire life. While you will have your anthropological graduate degree, you will still be on a college campus studying and researching new finds and working on scholarly papers. For some people, a scholarly life doesn’t really suit them, which is the reason why a lot of people choose other careers. Yet, if you enjoy the scholarly life, becoming an anthropologist may be a perfect career for you.

Lastly, another big con that people complain about is all the hard, physical work. Indeed, you will be doing a lot of work in the field – at dig sites – in very harsh conditions. You will also be using picks, shovels and other heavy-duty tools to unearth skeletal remains and the tools of our ancestors. So, you need to be prepared to labor hard in these inhospitable environments – either in extreme heat or cold. While these environments can seem unsuitable for a proper work environment, becoming an anthropologist can be one of the most fun and exciting careers. Plus, you will have plenty of stories to tell and a life filled with adventure.

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