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How To Become A Forensic Anthropologist Complete Career Guide

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How To Become A Forensic Anthropologist Complete Career Guide

Anthropology is a branch of science that deals with the human remains while the forensic anthropology is examination of human skeletal remains to determine their identity and assist the law enforcement agencies. Think of a situation in which the law enforcement agencies found human remains and they need to determine their identity, which sex they belong to male or female, what could have been the cause of death and many more.

Basically, anthropology is about studying the history, a cultural anthropologist might dig out the living style of an ancient civilization, a lingual anthropologist might study the languages which existed some three hundred years ago and a cultural anthropologist might be working on cultures that were in the past years.

Similarly a forensic anthropologist work on human skeletal remains to determine unknown factors about them such as the sex of those remains, their age and time since they are dead.

The forensic anthropologists have deep working terms with the law enforcement agencies. Do you wonder why? Keep reading, you are about to get an answer.

The law enforcement agencies operate to prevent criminal activities and maintain the law and order. During their patrolling or search an area, if they find unknown human skeletal remains, they need to determine several factors about those remains.

For example an officer at the law enforcement agency will have to dig out the reason behind the death, how were they brought to this place and was it criminal activity or a normal death.  Since the officer of the law enforcement agency needs an expert to get the answers of those questions, that where he gets the help of a forensic anthropologist.

A career as forensic anthropologist will be a mix of studying the human body and analyzing it from the angle of criminal activity. Interested in pursuing the degree as forensic anthropologist? You are at the right place; in this article you will get to know about the job of a forensic expert, his/her duties, the overview of the job, employment opportunity for the forensic anthropologists, the amount of money they make and many more.

From criminal justice system to the museums to working as private consultants, the employment opportunities for the anthropologist are vast.

Interested in knowing the steps you must follow to become a forensic anthropologist? Keep Reading.

How To Become A Forensic Anthropologist

The tasks during that you will have to perform during your job as forensic anthropologist are technical therefore they need strong theoretical foundation so most of the employers require you to have a minimum bachelor’s degree. Don’t have a bachelor’s degree? Do not worry at all. Some law enforcement agencies are hiring candidates who have lesser education than bachelor’s if they have field experience. In other words, if you have field experience, you can become a forensic anthropologist without a bachelor’s degree.

If you haven’t started your bachelor’s degree as of now, get yourself enrolled in an accredited college that is offering a bachelor’s degree in anthropology or forensic sciences. Do not have any idea about the best colleges for Forensic anthropology? No worries, in upcoming section we’ll discuss top anthropology colleges in United States.

Once you are enrolled in one of these programs you are highly advised to attain experience by working part time in forensic laboratories. The experience you gain through this part time job will help you earn a good job in law enforcement agency of your choice.

Certification from institutes such as American boards of forensic anthropology will give you much advantage over others.  Take out time that is best suitable for you to acquire this certification.

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Here are some steps that you will have to follow in order to become a forensic anthropologist:

  • Earn a bachelor’s degree from accredited college or university

  • Attain certification from well reputed institutes

  • Keep an eye on the jobs of law enforcement agencies and apply for a forensic Anthropologist post whenever it is announced

  • Once you are selected, you will have to go through back ground investigation and drug test.

  • If you pass all of these, you will be called for interview

  • On successfully passing the interview you will be hired on the job.

  • You will receive on job training so that you can meet the requirements of the job

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What Do Forensic Anthropologists Do:  Job Description

Many of you misunderstand the duties of forensic anthropologists. Forensic anthropologists are generally portrayed as forensic scientists or forensic lab technicians but it reality it is not the case. Forensic anthropologists are trained to work on human skeletal remains. They are also trained for evidence collection from a crime scene but that too restricted to human skeletal remains.

To better understand this, think of a crime scene in which a forensic anthropologist is called to collect the evidence. One might think that he’ll collect all the evidence related to human body but it is not the case. They forensic anthropologists are not authorized to conduct DNA tests, collect ballistic related evidence and collect trace evidence such as hair and fiber.

Now you might be wondering that if an anthropologist is not authorized to do these key tasks than what are his tasks or why even he’s called to the crime scene? We have an answer to that too.

The forensic anthropologists are called to crime scene that has human remains. The individuals help the law enforcement agencies in locating the remains and collecting them. Once the evidence is collected from the crime scene the analyzing process on them begins.

In the first place, the forensic anthropologists clean the bones so that examination process can begin. During the analyzing process, they look for any trauma related evidence that can be found on the bones, this helps them identify the actual reason behind the death.

They are also responsible for making biological profile of the bones found at a crime scene. These reports prepared by forensic anthropologists are brought in the court proceeding and forensic anthropologists have to testimony.

Where Do Forensic Experts Work: Job Prospects

Forensic Anthropologists have employment opportunity in all the law enforcement agencies of different states. In a law enforcement agency, they might work with investigation officer, odonatologist and pathologist.

Mostly the forensic Anthropologists are involved in the legal system but they also have employment opportunity in museums and institutes that are working on human archives.  Many of the forensic anthropologists also choose to work as private consultants.

The daily routine of a forensic anthropologist varies depending upon the law enforcement agency he’s working for but generally speaking, a forensic anthropologist mostly spends his day in laboratories doing different examination processes on the evidence collected. Another major chunk of their time is spent at the crime scenes while collecting the evidence. Sometimes they are also called by the courts to testify the reports prepared by them.

On Job Training For Forensic Anthropologists

Forensic anthropologists are trained for differently depending upon the nature of their duty. For example if a forensic anthropologist is hired to work in laboratory and examine the evidence that is brought there, he is trained about the biological process that has to be followed to get results of the tests.

While if a forensic anthropologist is hired for collecting the evidence from the crime scene his training will mostly revolve around the physical aspects on evidence collection. He’ll be trained to extract the physical evidence from the crime scene carefully.

From 6 months to 2 years, every law enforcement agency has different durations for these training programs.

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Forensic Anthropology Colleges

If you are interested in pursuing your career in the field of forensic anthropology, you are at the right place. In this section we have a list of top 10 colleges and universities which offer degree in forensic anthropology.

Eastern New Mexico University

The eastern new university offers a bachelor’s degree in forensic sciences with special emphasis on the forensic anthropology. The courses offered in the program are designed under the recommendations of American Academy of forensic sciences. Apart from the course work, the university also assists its students of forensic anthropology in finding the right jobs for them.

Mercyhurst University

Located at Pennsylvania, the university offers a master’s degree in anthropology with forensic and biological track. This program is first of its kind as it covers bio archaeological anthropology with emphasis on forensic anthropology.

The University of Southern Mississippi

The University of Southern Mississippi is among the few universities that offer a bachelor’s degree in forensic sciences with major in anthropology. Not just the theoretical work but students are also introduced with the laboratory procedures during their degree.

Texas State University

Located at San Marco, Texas, the university offers a bachelor’s degree in anthropology. Students who desire to pursue their career in the field of forensic anthropology can major in biological Anthropology. The department of anthropology also has a center for forensic anthropology which committed for research in the field.

Boston University

Located in Boston, Massachusetts, the university offers an undergraduate program in forensic anthropology. The Boston University assists its students in doing all the necessary research in the field and provides laboratory to get the basic understanding of the practical work.

The University of Montana

The University of Montana offers an undergraduate degree in the field of anthropology. The students of this degree can track in the field of forensic sciences where they will get courses on skeletal biology, forensic pathology and ontology.

Western Carolina University

The western Carolina University also offers an undergraduate degree in the anthropology with special emphasis on forensic anthropology. The university helps its students in hunting the right jobs for their careers.

Michigan State University

The university offers an undergraduate degree in the field of physical anthropology. The degree offers three fields of specialty to the students of which one is forensic anthropology.

University of Florida

The university offers a master’s degree in forensic anthropology. The degree is program is considered among the best graduate programs in the United States. The university also has an academic laboratory which helps the students in getting the knowledge about the field work.

California State University

The California state university has a program in anthropology with an emphasis on forensic anthropology. The program will not only help the students get expertise in anthropology but will also help them to get career in law enforcement agencies.

Salary Of Forensic Anthropologists: How Much Anthropologist Make

According to the bureau of labor statistics the average annual salary of a forensic anthropologist is $62,280. As there is high competition in the field of forensic anthropology, the people with degree in forensic anthropology also choose to become private consultants. The income of a private consultant may vary depending upon his experience and reputation. A person with good reputation and experience can earn much more than a forensic anthropologist working for a law enforcement agency.

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