How to become an Anthropologist

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How to become an Anthropologist

Study and preserve customs, cultures and stories

What do Anthropologists do?


Anthropologists research and examine all aspects of human society and behaviour, both past and present, including languages, art, belief systems, rituals, music, economic systems and more. They can research ancient cultures to uncover new information, or research current trends and patterns to provide insights to governments and businesses.

If you’re curious, patient, and have a passion for history and culture, a career as an Anthropologist could be worth considering.


About you:


  • Curious and inquisitive
  • Patient and methodical
  • Prepared to do lots of reading and thorough research
  • Empathetic and skilled communicator
  • Analytical and can interpret data
  • Can work independently and in teams
  • Organised with good time management skills
  • Sensitive to different cultures and beliefs
  • Adept with technology


The job:


  • Conducting research and presenting findings
  • Comparing sets of data to find trends
  • Gathering and analysing artefacts and records
  • Explaining findings to clients and the public
  • Working with other historians and social professionals to compare findings
  • Providing culturally-specific advice to organisations and government
  • Organising and safely storing historical artefacts and records
  • Interpreting and translating text and spoken materials
  • Educating the community on different cultures and societies


Lifestyle Impact: Low


  • Part Time opportunities: High – Around 61% of Anthropologists work part-time, meaning there is plenty of room for flexibility (source: joboutlook.gov.au).
  • Average hours for full-time workers: 43 hours a week, which is average (source: joboutlook.gov.au).
  • Anthropologists’ salary (average) $80,000* per year (Source: seek.com.au). *Salaries vary depending on your skills and experience.
  • Future career growth: Very strong (Source: joboutlook.gov.au).


Anthropologists are most in demand in these locations:


Around 17,300 people were employed as Anthropologists in 2019 (source: jobutlook.com.au) and this number is predicted to grow strongly. There are opportunities available across the country, with the most demand in New South Wales and Victoria.

You may be able to conduct some work remotely or from home as an Anthropologist, such as conducting certain research and communicating with clients. There is also lots of opportunity to travel around the world, depending on your chosen speciality.


How to become an Anthropologist in Australia


To become an Anthropologist you will usually need a minimum Bachelor level qualification. It can take as little as 3-4 years to become a qualified Anthropologist after leaving high school.


Step 1 – Study subjects such as English, History, and Social Studies while at school.


Step 2 – See if you can get work experience or volunteer in places like museums, research centres, or other cultural centres.


Step 3 – Complete a relevant university qualification. This could include an undergraduate degree, such as:

Bachelor of Anthropology

Bachelor of Arts majoring in Anthropology

Bachelor of Social Science

You could also take any undergraduate degree of interest, and then obtain a postgraduate qualification, such as a Master of Anthropology.


Step 4 – You may also need to be fluent in another language, depending on which culture you would like to research.


Step 5 – Join the Australian Anthropological Society to access resources and network with other professionals.


Find out more here –




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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


What do Anthropologists do?


Anthropologists research human societies and cultures, including languages, art, beliefs, economic systems, music, and more.


Which industries employ Anthropologists?


Anthropologists can mostly be found in the arts and recreation, humanities, education and STEM industries.


Do I need to go to university to become an Anthropologist?


Yes. For most roles as an Anthropologist, you will require a minimum Bachelor level qualification. In some cases, you may be able to find work with a lower qualification and extensive work experience.


Where do Anthropologists work?


Anthropologists can work in a variety of settings, including as researchers or lecturers at a university, in-house as a consultant for a business or government, or in museums,  you could be working in a city or out in remote communities and other regional locations.


What are 3 things I can do right now to help me become an Anthropologist?


If you’re in high school and you’d like to find out if a career as an Anthropologist is right for you, here’s a few things you could do right now:

  1. Work on your research and writing skills. Delve deep into a particular area of interest and find out everything you possibly can. Start learning another language and cultural customs if necessary.
  2. Try and find work experience in places like a museum, cultural institution, or research institution. This can be a great way to start making connections and building networks for the future.
  3. Start researching university pathways and make a back-up plan in case you don’t make it into your dream course. Consider taking a dual degree to combine your area of interest and make it your speciality.
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