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Anthropologists study the biological makeup, adaptations, and evolution of human beings and their primate kin. They also study the nature of human cultures, societies, and languages, past and present.

  • Avg. Salary $77,751.00
  • Avg. Wage $43.03
  • Minimum Education 4 years post-secondary
  • Outlook below avg
  • Employed < 1500
  • In Demand Lower
Also Known As

Archaeologist, Research Scientist

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Anthropologists (4169.1);  Archaeologists (4169.2) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Other Professional Occupations in Social Science (E038) 
  • 2011 NOC: Other professional occupations in social science, n.e.c. (4169) 
  • 2016 NOC: Other professional occupations in social science, n.e.c. (4169) 
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

Average Wage
  • Certification Not Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Interest Codes
The Anthropologist is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).

Interest in co-ordinating information to gather and analyze data on social and cultural behaviour, artifacts, language and human biology, and to undertake comparative studies of societies and cultures, or of selected aspects of cultures, of living people and of peoples no longer in existence


Interest in consulting to report on data; may teach anthropology at advanced educational levels


Interest in reconstructing records of extinct cultures by studying remains obtained from archaeological excavations

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More


Interest in co-ordinating information to interpret the significance of archaeological finds by determining the importance of the history conveyed by artifacts and the extent to which they reflect the lives of the peoples who produced them


Interest in consulting with authorities to provide advice concerning the search for the remains of buildings and the collection, identification and preservation of artifacts; and in selecting site locations and overseeing excavations


Interest in handling artifacts to examine and classify them, and to determine authenticity and identity

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Updated Mar 31, 2019

Anthropologists study all aspects of human and non-human primate society and culture, past and present. They may do comparative studies of living or ancient people’s cultures. This can include studying material cultural remains, human traditions, beliefs, customs, and languages or patterns of subsistence and settlement. Their research may focus on cultural beliefs and symbols or kinship and social organization. Or it may look into religious, economic, political, or legal aspects of society.

Specialized types of research may involve interviewing, statistical data analysis and interpretation, or the use of scientific techniques. These may include chronometric dating, geographical information system (GIS), artifact analysis, or stratigraphic mapping. More and more, anthropologists use molecular techniques such as hormone, nutritional, and microbiome analyses to gather information from both human and non-human primate subjects. Anthropologists also use DNA sequencing in modern human populations and non-human primates. They use ancient DNA applications for extinct populations.

Anthropologists may specialize in particular geographic areas, time periods or populations within a specific region. They also may specialize in any one or more of the following subfields:

  • Biological or physical anthropologists may study human evolution (palaeoanthropology), the behaviour and biology of non-human primates, human skeletal remains or human variations and adaptations as influenced by heredity and environment. For example, forensic anthropologists help police identify, and analyze crime-scene human remains.
  • Archaeologists describe, reconstruct, and interpret the origin, characteristics, and development of ancient human societies and cultures, mainly through field site excavation. They may also work in cultural resource management (CRM).
  • Cultural anthropologists describe unique differences and common features of the modern global human community to achieve a clearer understanding of ourselves. For example, medical anthropologists examine human health and health systems, including links between nutrition and the environment and alternative health care.
  • Linguistic anthropologists study the historical and modern development and use of human languages and communication. In particular, they study modern language patterns and their influence on thought and action. They may also be involved in community projects that revive local languages.

Anthropologists employed by universities are involved in teaching as well as field and laboratory research. For more information, see the University Professor occupational profile.

Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Some anthropologists work mainly in offices, classrooms, and laboratories. Others work outdoors in the field. When doing fieldwork, anthropologists may live in tents or in local housing, sometimes in remote locations. They often work long hours, sometimes alone, and for long periods of time. Fieldwork is usually seasonal and can be physically demanding.

Anthropologists work closely with researchers in other disciplines such as human anatomy, medicine, biology, geology, geography, chemistry, museum studies, history, and sociology. They also may supervise field and laboratory staff and volunteers.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Anthropologists need:

  • Adaptability
  • Curiosity, respect, and tolerance for cultures, peoples, and regions
  • Patience
  • The ability to do physical labour
  • Organizational skills
  • Attention to detail
  • Analytical and logical thinking
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Communication skills
  • A willingness to work in potentially challenging field conditions
  • An interest in interpreting cultures of living peoples

They should enjoy:

  • Collecting and analyzing data
  • Finding innovative approaches to intellectual puzzles
  • Consulting with and directing the work of others
  • Taking a method-based approach to interpreting and understanding human behaviour
  • Travelling, including overseas
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Anthropologists have a variety of educational backgrounds. Most begin with a bachelor’s degree (BA, B.Sc.) in anthropology or a related discipline. In addition to courses in anthropology, biological anthropologists require solid training in human anatomy and biology. Archaeologists should have a strong background in the earth sciences, including geology and geography. Depending on the specialization, anthropologists benefit from training in qualitative or quantitative statistics and analysis. A second language is an asset in doing fieldwork in other countries.

Specialization in particular areas of anthropology generally requires a master’s (MA or M.Sc.) or doctoral (PhD) degree in anthropology. Research and teaching positions at the post-secondary level generally require a doctoral degree.

Admission to graduate programs (MA, M.Sc., PhD) generally requires successful completion of a 4-year bachelor’s degree program. This is preferably in the honour’s stream with completion of an honour’s thesis.

Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

Athabasca University

Grant MacEwan University

Mount Royal University

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2019

There is currently no provincial legislation regulating this occupation in Alberta.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Anthropologists may work for:

  • Museums
  • Provincial or federal government departments
  • Private organizations involved in policy making, conservation or social science research, parks, historic site development, or cultural resources and public education
  • Indigenous communities
  • Private and public sector organizations that carry out ethnographic (study of people and culture) or market research, social and historical trends, or environmental impact assessments
  • Colleges or universities
  • Non-governmental organizations

Individuals who have a bachelor’s degree may be employed on a seasonal contract basis. Those who have a master’s degree may find employment as teachers in community colleges, or work in government or the public or private sectors. They may also work with museums, corporations, or consulting firms. To do independent research in anthropology or teach at the university level, a PhD is required.

To carry out archaeological research in Alberta, an archaeological research permit from the Government of Alberta is required. To qualify, applicants must have at least a master’s degree in anthropology (specifically archaeology), 24 weeks of supervised training in archaeological surveying and excavation techniques and 6 weeks of training in curation or laboratory analysis. They also need experience designing and executing a research project equal in scope to that described in the application.

Due to very low employment turnover and a small number of positions, employment and advancement opportunities are limited. Currently, there is a trend toward short-term contract work rather than long-term employment with a single employer.

Anthropologists are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 4169: Other Professional Occupations in Social Science. In Alberta, 79% of people employed in this classification work in the following industries:

The employment outlook [pdf] in this occupation is influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Trends and events that affect overall employment, especially in the industries listed above
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

In Alberta, the 4169: Other professional occupations in social science, n.e.c. occupational group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 0% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 0 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the 0 new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Salaries for university positions vary with:

  • Academic qualifications
  • Administrative skills and responsibilities
  • The particular faculty and university

For more information, see the University professors and lecturers wage profile.

Anthropologists are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 4169: Other professional occupations in social science, n.e.c.

Other professional occupations in social science, n.e.c.

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $25.00 $41.44 $34.37 $34.03
Overall $30.84 $55.02 $43.03 $41.18
Top $34.52 $64.72 $48.62 $44.88

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

B: Good Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Good Reliability, represents a CV of between 6.01% and 15.00% and/or fewer than 30 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 50% of all estimated employment for the occupation.

Industry Information
Public Administration
Health Care & Social Assistance

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years


Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties


Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months


Vacancy Rate

Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Human Ecology, Fashion and Food Sciences
  • Humanities and Languages
  • Sciences
  • Social Sciences, Law and Religious Studies
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Canadian Anthropology Society (CASCA) website:

Canadian Archaeological Association website:

The Canadian Association for Physical Anthropology (CAPA) website:

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 31, 2019. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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