Sociology is one of those majors that doesn’t attract a lot of career attention. It is, after all, a soft science, and not a frequent topic of conversation when it comes to determining the current hot careers. But in fact, a sociology degree does offer solid employment prospects after graduation.
Here are some of the possibilities…
A sociologist is someone who studies society and social behavior, usually for the benefit of public and large private organizations, including universities and nonprofits. They examine groups, cultures, organizations, social institutions, and processes that are part of the overall culture, enabling the institution to analyze behavior, and make predictions based on the implementation of policy changes.
Positions as sociologists are not terribly common – there may be no more than a few hundred across the country. The salary for the position can be quite substantial at nearly $75,000 per year. In general, the position involves a substantial amount of research and writing, and is good for people who have a strong academic orientation.
Most positions however will require a minimum of a master’s degree for entry, and eventually a doctorate, particularly for promotion.
Social WorkerSocial workers don’t get paid nearly as much as sociologists, but there are far more employment opportunities available to them. Average compensation is in the range of $44,000 per year, and there are quite literally thousands of jobs in the field.
There are actually two levels of classification here, social worker and clinical social worker. As a social worker, you will typically be required to have an undergraduate degree; as a clinical social worker you will be required to have a minimum of a Masters degree, and at least two years of supervised clinical work experience.
Social workers are typically involved in working with people who are dealing with a variety of problems in life. They could be working as liaisons in hospitals, as counselors in schools, child welfare advocates, substance abuse counselors, and other capacities. Clinical social workers are typically involved in the diagnosis and treatment of mental, behavioral, and emotional issues.
People with sociology degrees often become teachers, though the degree itself is not necessarily the preferred path into education. Unlike specific areas of study, like science and math, a sociology degree falls more into the general education category. As such, jobs will not be as easy to find, and the pay is generally not as high as it will be for hard science specializations.
Since sociology involves the study of human behavior – mostly group behavior – sociology majors often have a place in the marketing field.
Marketing is basically about tracking consumption patterns – which is a form of human behavior – and figuring out ways to sell a company’s products and services into that market. As a sociology major, you will have training in how to research human behavioral patterns, and that can often be translated into a marketing career.
Your work in marketing will most likely be centered on market research, rather than in other common areas of marketing, such as advertising, sales, and distribution channels.
A sociology degree is definitely something of a backdoor entry into marketing, but if you make it the career opportunities can be significant. Marketing researchers can earn an average of more than $60,000 per year, in a field that has positions in nearly every industry. In addition, the field is expected to grow faster than overall employment.
Because of their orientation toward research and the study of human behavior, sociology majors are often natural candidates for a variety of positions in nonprofit institutions.
A sociology major could become a social or community service manager. These are people who coordinate supervised social service programs and community organizations. They manage staffers who provide social services to the public.
There are adequate jobs in the field, and the average pay at a manager’s level is about $60,000 per year. The positions often require a Masters degree, and usually require several years of work experience as well.
Despite being a “soft science”, sociology of actually offers the prospects of some pretty solid career opportunities.