For those of you looking for an alternative to face to face anthropology learning, here's one such option to consider provided by C.K. Adams.
The world of archaeology presents some interesting career options for those who already love anthropology and enjoy studying different cultures. Cultural anthropology doesn’t necessarily focus on ancient civilizations like Ancient Egypt but rather local cultures, economic processes, and political societies. For example, some studies focus on Mississippian culture and how these people developed their culture in the Mississippi River Valley.
Working in the field and the ability to travel certainly helps cultural anthropology students, however students can opt for a less traditional cultural anthropology degree program that offers more flexibility and actually allows a hobbyist to utilize what he or she already knows. Online colleges for cultural studies usually include some interdisciplinary training in your anthropology degree program, which means that you study art, classics, history, architecture as well as topics in different cultures, especially if you have a specialization that you want to focus on.
Students who want to study in the field must receive the proper training. You may already have knowledge on the techniques and theories that go along with observation, but a degree program can give you new ideas and more insight. An Anthropology degree provides in depth information, going into detailed historical accounts, material culture, folklore, vernacular architecture and archaeological concepts that are so important to understanding today’s different human races, cultures and societies. While undergraduate degrees won’t typically provide a lot of specialization, you can still use electives to create a focus and expand upon those in graduate school. If you already understand most of the concepts, then you can finish a degree in less time and even move on to a higher degree level (with greater specialization) which will open even more doors once you graduate.
The best careers in archaeology require a master’s degree, and you can find plenty of accredited universities that provide online programs for graduate degrees as well. While museums and local national parks don’t necessarily require a higher degree, it is important if you want to work as a professor and teach college students or if you want a career working with the federal government, such as in environmental policy or protection of national parks. If you do want to earn a graduate degree, there are two levels that students typically choose within archaeological training.
- You can receive either a Master of Arts or Master of Science, which takes up to two years.
- There are also Ph.D. programs which offer access to higher level careers after you graduate, such as working with state and federal governments in national parks, engineering fields, and historical preservation. Environmental protection is another huge industry that hires archaeology majors. If you want to become a professor and work for a university, you will need a PhD.
For most anthropology enthusiasts, the biggest issue with transitioning into a new career is that: You have a career already and possibly even a family and a mortgage. You can’t simply give these up to pursue your passion. The reality is that online education can be a tremendous advantage. Without a set class schedule, you are able to fit education into your life as opposed to trying to squeeze your life around your education.
If you already have a bachelors degree in another field (or even a Masters) there is no reason to start back at the beginning. If you’re reading Ancient Digger, there is a good chance that you have a deep love for archaeology. If time and logistics are the only things keeping you from getting into the field you want, modern education is flexible enough to fit around your life. You only have one life, why not spend it following your passions?
C.K. Adams has worked in the newspaper and publishing field since 2003. Specializing in education, her published work focuses on career advice, counseling and college help. She frequently contributes to University of Florida's newspaper "The Alligator" with in depth tips to help graduates transition after college. Adams also publishes on a variety of career advice and college road map blogs.