Linguistic Anthropologist: Career Information and Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a linguistic anthropologist. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties and necessary skills to find out if this is the career for you.

Essential Information

Linguistic anthropologists are social scientists who study the origin and use of language. In order to study languages, they design and conduct various types of research. Some linguistic anthropologists also work as professors or consultants. A graduate degree in anthropology is typically required for this career, though some entry-level positions may only require a bachelor's. Linguistic anthropologists who plan to work as professors will need a doctorate.

Required EducationBachelor's degree for entry-level; master's degree for advanced positions; Ph.D. for advanced positions and/or teaching
Projected Job Growth (2012-2022)*19% for all anthropologists and archeologists
Average Salary (2013)*$61,420 for all anthropologists and archeologists

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Linguistic Anthropologist Career Information

Job Description

Linguistic anthropologists study the nature of language and how humans use it in their everyday life. As social scientists, they study data, analyze previously collected data, read historical documents and make interpretations. They study the history of language, the way languages change over time and across cultures, and how languages shape human behavior and social life.

Job Duties

Linguistic anthropologists plan, direct and conduct research. They use individual and group interviews, focus groups, consultants and observation to obtain data. To do this, they use established techniques or create new techniques. Computer programs may be used to help them record and analyze their findings. Professors of linguistic anthropology may divide their time between teaching and research.

Anthropologists write papers based on their research findings and present them to anthropological societies, such as the American Anthropological Association, or to general audiences. Some linguistic anthropologists may act as consultants to governmental bodies or other organizations.


The skills needed to be a linguistic anthropologist include active listening, speaking, reading comprehension, writing, complex problem-solving and social perceptiveness. Knowledge of the scientific method, deductive and inductive reasoning, and creative thinking are all required for interpreting research.

Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average yearly salary for anthropologists and archeologists varies by industry, and the highest-paid are those who work for the U.S. government ( They earned an average of $74,280 in May 2013. Those in scientific development and research services averaged$57,950, and those who worked for local governments earned $60,050. The average salary for those working at museums and historical sites was $70,410.

Career Outlook

The BLS expects a faster growth rate for anthropologist and archeologist jobs than the average for other professions. Between 2012 and 2022, careers for anthropologists and archeologists are projected to increase by 19%, with the most opportunities for anthropologists being offered by corporations. Experience and a Ph.D. will give job seekers in either profession the best prospects, per the BLS.

Linguistic Anthropologist Requirements

While some entry-level positions, such as research assistant, may require a bachelor's degree, most anthropologists have a master's or doctoral degree. Social scientists are typically trained in statistics. Anthropologists often take courses in sociology, English, history, archeology, psychology, geography, philosophy and theology. Linguistic anthropologists may also need to study and learn foreign languages.

Search Degrees, Careers, or Schools