Anthropologist Career Information
What an Anthropologist does
As an Anthropologist you'll study human beings - their physical character, evolutionary history, racial classification, historical and present day geographic distribution, group relationships and cultural History. And in between all this if you happen to take a look at your bank balance, you won't be disappointed.
Anthropology can be characterised as the study and interpretation of diverse people and culture around the world. It's the science concerned with the study of the evolution of humankind. As an anthropologist you'll study and compare present and past societies and cultures. Writing and presenting reports on your findings is a part of your job profile.
One aspect of the job as an anthropologist involves extensive fieldwork - living with and studying different cultures of people from different societies. You have to observe and record family and group relationships and activities. Information gathered is on the basis of behaviour, language and biology of the societies.
All this is done to find out more about societies; how they developed, what were the causes that lead them to develop, and test new ideas, which may help to improve the present societies we live in. As an anthropologist you'll write and present your research findings to the concerned party for whom the research is carried out. You can even advice government departments and private organisations on cultural matters and the concerns of different people.
The elementary branches in Anthropology are:
Social Anthropology: It deals only with the social formation and history of a society.
Anthropologists here study the different cultural groups and trace the cultural evolution and patterns of change over a period of time.
Psychological Anthropology: It's a branch of anthropology that deals with the links between an individual and his culture. It uses psychology to analyse the different behavioural patterns of individuals of the same culture.
Cultural Anthropology: It uses archaeology, ethnography, ethnology, folklore, and languages to study different cultures of the diverse peoples of the world. Cultural anthropologists study socio-economic changes, changes in value systems in various societies, cultural difference and the origin of such difference, evolution of languages, man-woman relations in human societies in different cultures over the years, etc.
Physical or Biological Anthropology: It deals with physical and biological nature and characteristics of humans, chimps, gorillas, monkeys, etc., their past links and present conditions.
Archaeological Anthropology: Archaeological anthropologists analyse and study human civilisations, their origin and development by excavating the preserved historical remains of the past civilisations. They then outline how people of ancient civilisations lived, the tools they used, various societal relations that existed, their rituals, clothes, accessories, etc. The outcome of their work is a clear picture of ancient human civilisation.
Some other interesting sub disciplines in which you can specialise:
Otology: the study of bones and skeletal remains
Paleo-anthropology: the study of old dead primates of the ancient world. It includes study of both human and non-human primates.
Forensic Anthropology: analysing bones or skeletal remains of human in cases of legal importance.
Linguistic Anthropology: analysing origin and development of various languages, phonetics in the world.
Mostly anthropologists keep regular office hours except during field research when they have to work outside under difficult conditions.
As an anthropologist you can find work in the following institutions:
• Archaeological Survey of India and its various offices across the country - You can get an entry level job as a Technical Assistant
• Museums as an Assistant Keeper
• Various departments and Directorates of State Government and Central Government.
• A postgraduate degree in anthropology will fetch you a job as a teacher in a college or university as well as in research. Sometimes you may be called upon to do some forensic analysis if you are a Forensic anthropologist.
• If you specialise in Forensic anthropology you'll find yourself in police departments in their forensic laboratory both in State and Central police forces. Most of the opportunities are as teaching faculty and research fellows in university departments.
As an Anthropologist your career prospects are: The career prospects for postgraduates with sufficient research experience are very bright, especially due to the increased awareness in human origin all over the world. However, India is not yet very open to the idea of an anthropologist.
Abilities & Traits Required
As an anthropologist you require:
• A genuine interest in living beings and knowing our past
• An excellent memory and academic brilliance
• Research skills
• Language skills
• Communication skills
• Skill in analysing and interpreting data
• An eye for detail
• Planning and organisational ability
• Cultural sensitivity
• Adaptable to life in different environments
Above all, you should have patience and perseverance - a career in anthropology is essentially a research-based career.
You need to have at least an MSc in Anthropology. However, a PhD Anthropology is preferred.
For BSc Anthropology, you must have cleared the intermediate level examination, with a background in science.
As an anthropologist your earnings could be:
• University Professor: Rs 30000-40000 per month (gross salary for beginners) and could rise up to Rs 25,000 a month.
• Government departments: Rs 25000 – Rs. 35000 per month in the beginning, inclusive of all allowances (starting salary)
• Anthropological Survey of India: Rs 30000 – Rs. 50000, exclusive of all allowances.
• A job abroad: $30,000-80,000 p.a.
Since almost all the jobs are government jobs, the salary may not be very exciting. But consider the job security and less job pressure.
Salaries in this field are hiked on the basis of experience. You can get a maximum salary of Rs 65000-75000 (as of the present scale) as a senior professor or in an equivalent rank.