What Is A Good Career Path for A Sociology Major?

Sociology degrees give students a broad array of skills and knowledge, so it’s no surprise that sociology careers span many fields. Sociology graduates can be found in politics, healthcare, teaching, social services and management roles. This is a great degree for students who value flexibility and want to learn skills that can be used in many different careers.

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Political and Government Roles

Many sociology majors are passionate about policy changes. They learn from their studies how poorly conceived government policies can increase class, gender and ethnicity/race disparities, and they want to change the system. Because sociology degrees teach writing, research and analytical skills, a career in politics or government is a natural fit for this degree. Some example job titles are policy analyst, political campaign manager and non-profit lobbyist. It’s possible to succeed with only a bachelor’s degree in sociology, but a master’s degree in a specific topic or a juris doctorate degree will open additional doors.

Human Services

Helping roles offer a stable career path in sociology. The world will always need social workers, counselors and case managers. Although sociology graduates compete with psychology and social work students for these roles, there are plenty of job openings in the human services field. Many sociology students are drawn to the field through empathy for others; a human services career lets graduates live out that empathy on a daily basis. A typical career path involves working an entry-level role for several years then considering a master’s degree in social work (MSW) or psychology. Some employers offer tuition assistance for relevant graduate degrees.

Research

Research is the backbone of the sociology field. Some students are content to take a class or two in research methodologies then move on to a more applied position. For others, the call of academia is too loud to ignore. As a sociology researcher, students generate new knowledge about the human condition. They use quantitative methods like surveys and economic data as well as qualitative methods like interviews and focus groups. According to the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a master’s degree in sociology is required to enter this field, while a Ph.D. is needed for advancement. Sociology researchers work at universities, where they combine teaching and research, or at private non-profits, foundation, and think tanks. A few work in government roles.

Private Sector Jobs

Some sociology graduates turn to the private sector to maximize their income potential. Right after graduation, liberal arts majors earn less than their STEM counterparts. By mid-career, however, sociology majors can close the gap, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education. Sociology majors in the business world enjoy flexibility in their career choices. Because the degree teaches general skills like written communication and cultural competency, graduates can fit into many different job roles. Mid-career sociology graduates can seek out the highest-paying jobs in their area and boost their paychecks. Common corporate jobs for sociology majors include advertising, management, and sales. Each of these positions is enhanced by a strong understanding of how humans operate — something that every sociology major learns.

A degree in sociology rarely leads straight to a specific job. Instead, sociology careers meander, letting graduates find the perfect job at their own pace.

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