Forensic anthropologists typically provide specialized knowledge and analysis of human skulls in criminal investigations or other legal situations. Those aspiring to enter this field should have a plan for anthropological education and training.
First, the American Board of Forensic Anthropology cautions that there are not very many actual full-time jobs for forensic anthropologists. While it is certainly possible to get a job with medical examiners and so forth, forensic anthropology tends to be dominated by experts that are hired on a part-time basis
Experts in forensic anthropology are typically hired to examine skull and bone fragments, crime scenes and other evidence to render various forensic-anthropology opinions. The anthropologist generally then writes a report for the client and may also testify in depositions or in court in appropriate cases.
These experts typically have other full-time jobs. Many are professors or scientific researchers in research organizations. The American Board of Forensic Anthropology recommends a more general education plan that is centered around physical or biological anthropology. That way, a well-educated anthropologist can get a wider number of anthropology jobs and also seek opportunities on a part-time basis as an expert in forensic anthropology.
With that said, there are a number of programs in the United States and UK that offer educational training in forensic anthropology. Attending these schools and including forensic anthropology classes as part of a broader education and career plan in anthropology would be a good balance in building career potential on the job side while also enhancing opportunities for a side job as an expert in forensic anthropology.
Schools with programs in forensic anthropology include Binghamton University, Boston University School of Medicine, California State University at Chico, and the University of Florida at Gainesville.
Other colleges and universities with forensic anthropology degree programs include the University of Hawaii, University of Indianapolis, Mercyhurst College, Michigan State University, the University of Tennessee, Western Carolina University, and Preston, UK’s University of Central Lancashire.
American Board of Forensic Anthropology: Career and Jobs Outlook and Education and Training for Students