What Can You Do With a Sociology Degree? [2023 Guide]

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If you’re interested in studying human and social behavior, you might be wondering, “What can you do with a sociology degree?”

What Can You Do With a Sociology Degree

Sociology may seem like a niche subject, but a degree in sociology can be beneficial in many career fields. Understanding how and why people act a certain way in different settings can help many professionals thrive in their careers.

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Let’s take a look at some of the potential jobs for sociology majors to help you determine if this degree path is right for you.

What Can You Do with a Sociology Degree?

Woman pursuing a Sociology Degree online

When thinking about jobs for sociology majors, you might think of a professional sociologist as the obvious choice. A sociologist is an individual who conducts research on human behavior and studies the impact groups and societies can have on this behavior.

Becoming a sociologist typically requires at least a masters in sociology, but there is a range of entry-level positions in related fields for bachelor-degree holders. In fact, a background in group behavior can be very helpful to a variety of professionals in management and leadership roles.

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A sociology degree can also be helpful for those who wish to work directly with communities in an educational or resource role. Community health workers, school counselors, social workers, and case workers are a few of the professionals in this category.

Sociology majors often end up working in an educational, healthcare, professional, or government setting. They may work directly with the communities they serve, or they may work to create better situations for these groups.

Earning a sociology degree can help you gain greater insight into human behavior. This, in turn, could help you pursue a career that utilizes this understanding and appreciation to enhance engagement, build policy, and help communities thrive.

10 Things You Can Do with a Sociology Degree

Here are some examples of career paths that sociology majors may pursue. Remember, these are only ten of the many career paths commonly followed by those who earn their sociology degree.

With a focus on interpersonal communication, observation, and analysis, a degree in sociology can provide a solid start for a variety of professionals.

1. Social Worker

Social Worker visiting a family

Social workers are involved in helping individuals navigate through stressful periods of change. Situations in which they may become involved include mental health, substance abuse, child welfare, and domestic conflict.

These professionals help individuals find resources to help them gain shelter, food, and opportunities to improve their current situations. Depending on the position, licensing may be required in some states.

2. Human Resources Professional

Human Resources Professionals interviewing a job applicant

There are many levels of human resources professionals, depending on the organization and industry in which you choose to work.

Human resources managers help engage workers as well as implement policy and professional development. Human resources analysts may conduct surveys and observe workers to determine how policy impacts their work and gauge employee engagement.

Other roles include recruitment, hiring, preparing termination packages, developing a time off policy, and resolving office conflicts.

3. Community Health Worker

Community Health Workers doing a home visit

Community health workers act as liaisons between health organizations and the general public. They are the ones who implement community wellness initiatives, programs, and educational opportunities.

CHWs often work in conjunction with hospitals or medical facilities to provide care and education to specific groups and neighborhoods. They understand cultural challenges when it comes to health topics as well.

4. Market Research Specialist

Market Research Specialists working together

In order to be successful, retail businesses should understand what their customers want. That includes why they want it and how they prefer to purchase it.

Market research specialists conduct interviews, surveys, and focus groups to learn about consumer habits for a variety of businesses. They use their findings to identify key demographics and spending trends.

5. Management Consultant

Management Consultant discussing with some employees

A management consultant is called upon to analyze how a business is performing and then make suggestions to improve productivity, communication, and employee engagement.

These individuals observe and analyze a variety of factors, including how coworkers interact and how group dynamics lead to decision-making. Their recommendations can result in more effective performance and job satisfaction.

6. Policy Analyst

Policy Analysts attending a meeting

Policy analysts often fall under the professional umbrella of political scientists. They conduct surveys and studies to understand how public policy impacts social, racial, economical, and educational outcomes in various communities.

They then apply their knowledge to current laws and regulations to determine where changes can be made to help these communities thrive.

7. Public Relations Specialist

Public Relations Specialists working on a PR case study

PR specialists work directly with the media, the public, and the person, business, or entity they represent. That means understanding and being able to quickly respond to concerns, questions, and challenges.

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These professionals are often required to have very strong communication skills as well as the ability to appreciate a variety of perspectives and backgrounds.

8. School Counselor

School Counselor in a session with two students

Also known as guidance counselors or school support staff, these individuals work in schools and educational settings to provide students with assistance.

Students frequently consult with counselors on topics such as career and educational planning, mental health concerns, learning challenges, and personal relationship issues. The counselor may make recommendations or provide guidance to the students for the next steps.

9. Survey Researcher

Survey Researchers analyzing some data

Also known as pollsters, survey researchers are tasked with asking a segment of people how they feel about specific products, issues, or situations.

A survey researcher creates a survey based on what their client would like to know. They identify key populations and reach out to get their feedback. They then analyze and report their findings to their clients.

10. Urban Planner

Urban Planners meeting in their office

This may seem like a strange role for someone with a background in sociology, but urban planners are responsible for designing communities. They usually research how a group of people will use and appreciate the spaces they design.

They can also connect with community members and officials regarding land use, environmental concerns, and traffic issues. People with a bachelors degree may qualify to work as assistants or junior planners.

Online Sociology Programs

Man enrolled to an Online Sociology Program

While it is possible to find jobs with a bachelors in sociology, some jobs have a specific educational requirement.

Here is an overview of the different levels of sociology degree programs:

  • Associate’s in Sociology. Associates programs are helpful for building a solid foundation in sociology. Students will encounter introductory courses while practicing skills in communication and writing. An associates program can typically be completed in 2 years.
  • Bachelor’s in Sociology. A bachelors program offers greater preparation for careers in sociology, with courses that allow students to focus on specific areas within sociology. Most bachelors programs are completed in 4 years, depending on the program structure. Internships and fieldwork may be incorporated into a sociology bachelors program.
  • Master’s in Sociology. A masters degree gives students the opportunity to engage even more deeply in a specialized field. It will often include research project requirements as well. This type of degree is the minimum educational requirement for sociologists, and it could also be beneficial for pursuing management or leadership careers within sociology or a related field.
  • Doctorate in Sociology. Those who earn their doctorate in sociology often do so in preparation for a career as a professor or researcher. Doctorate programs often require students to complete a self-directed dissertation as a qualification for graduation. Professionals who receive this degree are considered experts in their fields. A growing number of universities now offer online PhD in Sociology programs in addition to their traditional ones.

The level of education you choose to pursue may depend on the requirements for your desired career path.

Sociology Careers and Salaries

Sociology Careers and Salaries

There are many different career paths associated with the study of sociology. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, here are a few positions that sociology majors may pursue.

Careers Annual Median Salaries
Human Resources Managers $126,230
Management Analysts $93,000
Market Research Analysts $63,920
Public Relations Specialists $62,800
Human Resources Specialists $62,290
School and Career Counselors and Advisors $60,510
Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists $60,250
Survey Researchers $59,740
Social Workers $50,390
Health Education Specialists and Community Health Workers $48,860

A sociology degree can help you qualify for a range of entry-level roles upon graduation, but it does not guarantee a specific career or salary.

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Whether you qualify for a job can be based on a number of factors, such as your experience, location, chosen industry, and prospective employer.

How to Know If a Career in Sociology Is Right for Me

Social Worker visiting a family

Careers for sociology majors often require an interest in fine details. They may be tasked with observing human behavior or asking individuals to complete surveys in order to gain an understanding of social behaviors.

If you think you’re interested in a career in sociology, you might consider the following questions:

  • Do you enjoy learning about different cultural traditions and norms? Sociologists frequently study how groups observe traditions and form their own distinct cultures or sub-groups.
  • Have you found yourself questioning why things are “the way they are?” If “that’s the way it is” has always felt like an unsatisfactory answer, you might be interested in a career in sociology and researching this phenomenon to its roots.
  • Are you concerned with human rights on a global scale? Sociologists are often involved in creating, implementing, and enforcing policies intended to help societies thrive equally.
  • Do you find patterns in popular trends? Sociologists study not only what groups are interested in but why they are interested and what impact their interests have on social and economic trends.

Sociology major jobs tend to involve a significant amount of research, observation, and analysis. Interest in these activities is beneficial for those who plan to study sociology. The minimum educational requirement for a sociologist is a master’s, but a bachelor’s in sociology could help you prepare for graduate studies or an entry-level position in the field.

Is Financial Aid Available?

Sociology Degree financial aid

There are a variety of financial aid options you may wish to explore when pursuing your sociology degree. If you’re interested in needs-based assistance, you can complete the FAFSA or Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This form determines your eligibility for student loans, grants, and work-study programs from the federal government.

Scholarships based on academic performance and other criteria may also be available. The admissions department of the school you choose will likely have more information on these options. In addition, some employers have tuition reimbursement or educational assistance programs available.

What Is a Sociology Major?

People with Sociology degree, working as Management Analysts

A sociology major is a student who studies the behavior of groups of people. This may include people of a certain race, age group, cultural background, religion, socioeconomic group, or neighborhood.

By studying social interaction, we are able to understand and appreciate how and why people in a group act in certain ways as well as how their actions could impact other groups. The ability to analyze social behavior can be helpful for a variety of educational and professional paths, depending on your long-term goals.

Is Sociology a Good Career Option?

Policy Analysts gathered in a meeting

Yes, sociology is a good career option for many professionals. There are many career fields in which sociology skills can be beneficial.

We frequently associate a sociology degree with a sociologist, community health worker, social worker, or other social scientists, but these are not the only roles related to this field of study.

Understanding group behavior can be a useful skill for management consultants, human resources professionals, and those who wish to work at the top of their fields. Policy analysts and officials may also benefit from understanding culture and behavior.

Where Do Sociology Majors Work?

Health Education Specialist meeting with the community members

Sociology majors can work in a variety of environments. Many graduates choose professions that allow them to work in a classroom setting or as community educators.

Some work in corporate settings as human resources professionals. Some sociology major jobs include fieldwork, such as connecting with the public through surveys or market research to determine popular opinion on a variety of topics. They may work directly with individuals or analyze information obtained through surveys.

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Sociology professionals may also work in government, enacting and protecting policies designed to help communities thrive equally.

What Skills Do You Learn in Sociology?

Community Health Workers team, in a meeting

Some of the main skills exercised in pursuit of a sociology degree include communication, applying theory, understanding population statistics, and observation.

Throughout your studies, you may encounter courses that cover subjects such as:

  • Sociology of work
  • Cultural diversity
  • Industrial psychology
  • Research methods and analysis

These types of courses are designed to introduce you to theories and allow you to design and conduct research. You may wish to take specialized courses that prepare you for a particular career path.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Sociology Degree?

Woman getting Sociology Degree, doing online research

The amount of time it takes to complete a sociology degree depends on the program you select. If you’re looking to earn your bachelors degree in sociology, you can generally complete a program in 4 years if your school follows a traditional 16 week semester.

If you participate in an 8 week semester program, you may be able to finish your sociology bachelor’s degree in less time, provided you remain enrolled all year, including during the summer term.

What Jobs Can You Get with a Sociology Degree?

Social Worker comforting an emotional elderly

People who earn their sociology degree may pursue a variety of careers. Opportunities to use your newfound knowledge can be as varied as:

  • Human resources specialist
  • Market research analyst
  • Community health educator

Those who have a sociology degree may wish to work in a corporate, community, or analytical setting, depending on their career interests. When exploring various sociology degree programs, you might consider how the courses you take could prepare you for your preferred role—whether it’s in business, education, corporate management, or research.

What Are Some Entry Level Sociology Jobs?

Entry Level Sociology Jobs

Here are some popular entry-level positions for sociology majors—along with their median salaries, as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

  • Market Research Analysts — $63,920
  • Human Resources Specialists — $62,290 per year
  • Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists — $60,250 per year
  • Social Science Research Assistants — $49,720
  • Community Health Workers — $46,590

Those who are entering careers with a sociology degree might consider these entry-level jobs as opportunities to gain experience. These positions may have the potential to lead to additional opportunities.

What Are the Highest Paying Jobs with a Sociology Degree?

Highest Paying Jobs with a Sociology Degree

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, here are the median salaries of some of the highest-paying jobs associated with a sociology degree:

  • Human Resources Managers — $126,230 per year
  • Social and Community Service Managers — $74,000 per year
  • Market Research Analysts — $63,920 per year
  • Public Relations Specialists — $62,800 per year
  • School and Career Counselors and Advisors — $60,510

Those with experience or in advanced career roles will often have higher earning potential than those who are new to the workforce.

What Do Sociologists Do?

Social and Community Service Manager, leading the team meeting

Sociology is the study of social behavior and societal norms, and sociologists study various cultures and communities. They test theories and observe and analyze the behaviors of the populations they are studying.

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Sociologists may choose to study groups based on race or ethnicity, religious affiliation, political beliefs, gender identification, and more. They may choose to explore topics like education, relationships, beliefs, and crime rates based on certain criteria. They can then use their findings to help develop public policy, connect with communities, and develop programs to help groups thrive.

How Much Does a Sociologist Make?

Human Resources Specialists discussing

Sociology major jobs may provide different opportunities for earnings, depending on your level of experience, education, chosen industry, and other factors.

For example, some graduates use their knowledge of social behavior and group dynamics in a human resources setting. While HR specialists have a median salary of $62,290, HR managers have median earnings of $126,230 (Bureau of Labor Statistics). Others pursue roles in community health. Health education specialists and community health workers have median earnings of $60,600 and $46,590, respectively.

Individuals who work as market research analysts have median earnings of $63,920 per year. The role of sociologist typically requires a masters degree, and this position has a median salary of $92,910.

What’s the Difference Between Sociology vs. Psychology?

Sociology and psychology each observe and analyze human behavior, but here are some key differences between the two disciplines.

Sociology Psychology
  • Concentrates on human relationships and group associations
  • Focuses on cultures and communities
  • Does not require medical credentials
  • Is the study of an individual’s mind, emotions, and behavior
  • Includes biological study of the brain
  • Can involve diagnosing and treating medical conditions

Additionally, psychologists are often required to pass licensing exams in order to practice, while sociologists do not.

Is a Degree in Sociology Worth It?

Market Research Analysts in a meeting

Yes, a degree in sociology is worth it for many students. This degree path allows students to understand more about how humans behave in group settings.

As such, there may be many potential career paths for sociology majors. The ability to understand and guide behavior can be beneficial to many fields, including public relations, policy construction, and community health. Those who are interested in leadership roles may also find a sociology degree helpful, including management consultants and human resources professionals.

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According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, community and social service occupations are expected to see 10% job growth over the next ten years, which is faster than average.

Getting Your Sociology Degree Online

Man pursuing Sociology Degree online

Understanding how humans behave in group and community settings can be a useful skill in a variety of professions. Some graduates go on to design programs and policies that can help these individuals thrive.

If you have been considering getting your sociology degree online, you may wish to research some of the schools presented to determine which programs best fit your goals. With so many professional opportunities linked to the study of sociology, you may be able to explore a variety of potential career paths and specializations.

You can begin researching accredited schools today to start your educational and professional journey in this growing, versatile field.

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Jason Collins
WRITTEN BY
Jason Collins
Jason earned his bachelor's degree in English Literature from Loyola Marymount University with a minor in history. A life-long learner with a love of philosophy, history, and science, Jason works in professional development, career enrichment, and improved business practices.