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Ultimate Guide to Medical Anthropology Careers

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Ultimate Guide to Medical Anthropology Careers

Medical Anthropology is the study of health and healing from the anthropological perspective. Academic research in the field of medical anthropology tends to draw on different theoretical approaches. But these approaches have a shared importance on increasing our understanding of the multitude of ways in which cultural, social, and biological factors influence human experiences of pain, illness, healing, and suffering in different settings. Medical anthropology also investigates the social, political, and economic contexts in which health behavior and health systems are shaped.


The studies of medical anthropologists include but aren’t exclusively limited to:

  • Health effects of human ecologies and adaptive processes
  • Experience of illness and social meanings behind disease
  • Cultural understandings of bodily processes and bodies
  • Risk and protective dimensions of cultural norms and behaviors
  • Biosocial factors related to health disparities and disease distribution

Medical anthropology also includes applied research geared toward solving specific problems related to the delivery of healthcare, including improving health care policies and systems.


Careers in Medical Anthropology:

  • Social Worker
  • Healthcare Consultant
  • Health and Social Policy Analyst
  • Health Outreach Coordinator
  • Healthcare Administrator
  • Medical Scientist
  • Epidemiologist
  • Public Health Researcher
  • Health Education Professional
  • University Professor

Typically, careers in this field require some sort of advanced degree and may require some additional professional training in the field.


How do you become a Medical Anthropologist?

Step 1: Get a Bachelor’s Degree

Typically a medical anthropologist will begin by earning a bachelor’s degree. A major in anthropology will often prepare students for this career field. Anthropology courses differentiate a bit from other majors as the majority will be made up of language, culture, research methods, and religion. Other useful classes are those in statistics, math, quantitative research, and research analysis. Students may also study nursing, public health, or other medical fields with coursework focusing on science and health.


Step 2: Complete an Internship

Many anthropology programs require or recommend an internship. Students who participate in internship programs gain experience working with an assortment of organizations that they may encounter later on as a professional medical anthropologist. Many of these places of work can include museums, libraries, government agencies, and cultural institutions. They practice researching, reporting, and recording information in many cases.


Step 3: Get a Master’s Degree or Ph.D.

While it’s true most employers will require that job candidates have a master’s degree or Ph.D. in Anthropology, this is for good reason. Studies at the graduate level may include, health and life cycles, ethno and alternative medicine, along with sexuality and gender. Students can also study medical ethics, geriatrics and public health. Complementary degrees may include a Master of Public Health or Medical Doctorate.


Step 4: Conduct your research on Medical Anthropology Careers

Students and professional medical anthropologists conduct research. They learn to compile and organize collected information that requires attention to detail, organization and an open mind. Medical anthropologists must also be willing to travel and live in unusual situations in order to study cultures. They must be patient and willing to work on projects that can span years. Research topics range from the spread and prevalence of illness among designated groups to the moral of medicine and the stigmas behind mental illness.


Medical Anthropologist Salary

How much does a Medical Anthropologist make?

Well, it’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for. How much does a medical anthropologist make? According to Comparably, the average annual salary for a medical anthropologist in the United States is $62,920.

The lowest paid in the field of medical anthropology bring in $35,440 annually, while the highest paid bring in a whopping $97,040 annually.

If you are looking for your next medical career, don’t forget to check out the free niche healthcare job board, Healthcare Consultant.

Ultimate Guide to Medical Anthropology Careers
Jake Tilk

Jake is the Digital Marketing Manager for OptyConnect and Healthcare Consultant. He holds a B.B.A. in Marketing with a minor in Business from Western Michigan University and has a certification in Software Development.

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