Study and analyze bones.
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Quick Stats

Salary Range
$39,000 – $102,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Osteologists do?

Animal and human skeletons support the body and protect the organs. But, they also have a story to tell if you understand their language. Osteologists are trained to read and translate a bone’s story. This rare skill provides information that helps us better understand ancient cultures, solve mysteries, and learn about animals.

Being an Osteologist means you have a variety of job opportunities. You can work as an Archaeologist or an Anthropologist, trying to better understand how humans lived thousands or millions of years ago. With your training, you can tell the gender, age, race, and sometimes even the occupation of a person based solely on their skeletal remains.

In addition to being a Historian, you can help solve mysteries for the police department as a Forensic Osteologist. For this job, you may visit a crime scene or have bones sent to you at the lab. Using your equipment and tools, you then analyze the bones and create a report outlining your findings. What looks like a pile of bones to the untrained eye is the remains of a 46-year-old female with three children to you.

Your skills are invaluable in medicine, science, and museums, too. Wherever there’s a bone, you have the opportunity to share your knowledge.

Is it human or animal? How old is it? What was this person’s story? How have baboons evolved over time? There’s no end to the questions an Osteologist can answer.

Should I be an Osteologist?

You should have a doctoral degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Detail Oriented: You pay close attention to all the little details.
  • Flexible: You're open to change and think variety is the spice of life.
  • Persistent: You keep pushing through, even when faced with tough obstacles.

  • Also known as: Olericulturist

    How to become an Osteologist

    We recommend at least a Doctoral degree. Start by getting your Bachelor's. Check out these schools offering Osteologist-related education!
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