Do I Need a Masters in Anthropology to Get a Management Position?

According to the American Anthropological Association, bringing an anthropologist to a table is like moving from black and white television to color. And while this might be a somewhat prejudiced viewpoint, it’s not necessarily wrong. In fact, the first question most people ask when they learn that someone is earning or has a degree in anthropology is “What will you do with it?” The truth is, lots of things.

Specifics Please

Regardless of the level of degree a person with an anthropology background has, their biggest problem when looking for a job are those who often don’t know what anthropology is, much less how it will benefit an organization. There are organizations, of course, where the benefits of a person with an anthropology background are well understood. In these cases the benefits of a person who has at least a master’s degree in the subject are obvious.

Not What But Who

One issue that often rears its head when a person applies for a job related to anthropology is not the degree he or she has attained, but who that person studied under. In these cases who you know really is more important than what you know. The same kind of an issue is true when a person attempted to get jobs in related fields such as education, where the most important step is to attain at least a master’s degree, and perhaps even a doctorate. In these cases those who have earned these degree often teach at colleges or universities and engage either in research sponsored by the institution or that is of interest to the academic.

Anthropologists are also instrumental in the administration of libraries, museums, and other institutions where research is conducted and/or the public is educated. At these institutions at least a master’s degree is required to advance into management positions. Any degree higher than a bachelor’s is advantageous when it comes to not only bringing knowledge to a subject, but when research dollars might be involved.

Anthropologists are also often involved in activities related to law enforcement, where advanced degrees are often critical when determining the soundness of the scientific principles involved are brought forth to a jury or other body. This is why there are so many anthropologists working in government at all levels of the spectrum, whether in investigative roles or others that might benefit from their knowledge and experience.

Stepping Up

Beyond the knowledge that a person with an advanced degree in anthropology might bring to an organization, the experience that is represented is also important when it comes to choosing candidates for management roles. Even though a person with a lesser degree might be adequately trained and knowledgeable to carry out a particular position, just as is the case with other jobs, the more an organization can get for their money the better.

The bottom line for a position in anthropology is that there are many determining factors when choosing a person to fill a job. And although having an advanced degree might not be high on the list for a selection, it can’t hurt. In fact, it will probably make a candidate look so much the better.