Thursday, September 27, 2012

STEM Career Spotlight: Forensic Athropologist

Forensic anthropology combines the science of physical anthropology (human evolutionary biology, physical variation, and classification) and osteology (study of the human skeleton) and applies the science in a legal setting. Daily activities may involve identification of deceased individuals where the remains are burned, mutilated, or in advances stages of decomposition. Forensic anthropologists often work with forensic pathologists and homicide investigators to identify evidence of trauma or calculate how long a person has been deceased.

Students pursuing a career as a forensic anthropologist will need a bachelor’s degree in anatomy, biology, chemistry, physiology or anthropology as well as a graduate degree in human biology or anthropology. Most forensic anthropologists have a Ph.D. degree. Obtaining the highest level of academic achievement is important as this is not a high demand occupation and there are relatively few positions available. The most common initial career path is as a professor at a major college or university.

The popularity of crime solving television shows has created an interest in careers in this field. Depending on education level, experience and area of focus, salaries for Forensic Anthropologists can range from $35,000 to $100,000 and higher annually. For more information, click here.

Forensic anthropologist examining a human skull found in a mass grave in Bosnia and Herzegovina, 2005.
Credit: Marco Di Lauro/Getty Images