Forensic anthropology: any knowldge or experience here?

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by John Bear, Aug 20, 2017.

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  1. John Bear

    John Bear Senior Member

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    My grandson is about to start his junior year with a double major in forensic anthropology and particle physics. He's getting pressure to choose one or the other. While he prefers forensic anthro, people are telling him that the job market is practically nil, other than teaching the subject. He is trying to get more data, and I'm trying to help. Apart from the Jeffersonian, is there a market for people with this credential?

    (Yes, I know it's fictitious. Isn't it?)
     
  2. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

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  3. nyvrem

    nyvrem Member

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    https://www.dundee.ac.uk/study/ug/forensic-anthropology/#info-careers
     
  4. perrymk

    perrymk Member

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    December will mark 20 years that I've been employed in a forensic laboratory. This doesn't make me the last word but hopefully my experience and ideas have some relevance.

    I realize no mention was made of employment in a forensic lab, but that's usually what one thinks of when one starts the degree with "forensic".

    Our (the forensic laboratory at which I am employed) former evidence tech had a degree in anthropology. An evidence tech at our lab is required a 4 year degree but any degree will do. I do not minimize the importance of the job (chain of custody of evidence is the easiest place for an attorney to look for oversights or errors) but the job is putting evidence on the shelf, logging evidence into the LIMS (laboratory information management system) and shipping evidence back to submitters. This may not be what one is thinking of doing when one gets a degree.

    About the only way I am aware of to get a job as an anthropologist (forensic or otherwise) is with a PhD. For most other positions it is little more than fulfilling the degree requirement. I would not discourage anyone from pursuing this degree if that's what interests them; I only suggest do it with full knowledge. As you already surmise the job market isn't great for the degree. I would even suggest considering positions a museum curator with such a degree, but be aware that neither forensic scientists nor museum curator typically make a lot of money. Money isn't everything but it does pay the mortgage.

    As an aside, supervisor positions in DNA require a masters degree as a minimum. I anticipate other sections in the lab will require this also before too long. Another reason to get the PhD.

    Most jobs in the forensic lab require a degree in a natural science with a strong background in either chemistry (trace and drug sections) or biology (DNA). A minor in one of these would be helpful.

    I suppose we could delve much deeper into the topic but this is just a post on the internet.
     
  5. decimon

    decimon Active Member

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    Am I wrong in seeing here a disconnect? Anyway, I'd question the job prospects of either with an undergrad degree.

    Might he come at forensic anthropology from the side and with a degree in, say, biochemistry?
     
  6. decimon

    decimon Active Member

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  7. cookderosa

    cookderosa Resident Chef

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    besides the Jeffersonian being the coolest job e-var, the novelist that inspired the series was forensic anthropologist (retired professor) here in Charlotte! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kathy_Reichs
    Those two career paths seem so different. I'm impressed that he has such diverse interests. Even if he wants to teach, physics is a larger pool. Besides Intro to Anthropology, you can't even find those courses outside of a major. Physics, on the other hand, is widespread. If he wants to practice, then forensic anthropology will certainly take him to interesting places, but if he doesn't enjoy traveling or wants to have a steady schedule, that seems like a poor fit.
    My old standby is to suggest he meet several professionals in both careers and not tell them he is deciding between 2 fields.

    My other old standby- Department of Labor data:

    https://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/anthropologists-and-archeologists.htm

    https://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/physicists-and-astronomers.htm
     
  8. sanantone

    sanantone Active Member

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    There is evidence tech and lab work, but there are also positions with medical examiner's offices in large metro areas. For example, some counties have people who aren't licensed police officers conduct or assist with conducting death investigations. I once applied to a job as an autopsy assistant. One of the students in my PhD program has a degree in anthropology and worked for a medical examiner's office. Some states, though, use coroners instead.
     
  9. decimon

    decimon Active Member

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    Haven't we all?
     
  10. John Bear

    John Bear Senior Member

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    Thank you!

    Yet again, I am pleased and delighted by the generosity of people here in sharing their knowledge and opinions. Lots of good stuff for grandson Nikoli.

    One quick Nikoli story. When he was 12, he took part in a Hallowe'en pumpkin-carving contest. The mission was to carve the scariest thing you could imagine. In lieu of a face, he dutifully and laboriously carved, in very neat letters, "FILE NOT FOUND."
     

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