College of Arts and Sciences

Careers in Sociology

The sociology degree provides skills based employment opportunities in many diverse fields. The trick is to understand how to translate what you have learned into search terms for your job search strategy! The labor market is changing quickly, so many of you will apply for some jobs in the future that may not even exist yet. The type of preparation sociology offers, provides you with the flexibility to adapt to many of these market changes.

Skills Based Job Searching

Although you are trained in sociology, when it comes time to search for a job, do not enter "sociologist" in the search engine. Rather, search based on the skills and training you received from your degree training. Think about the classes you have taken within the sociology major and identify skills that are developed in relation to your studies. Some of the skills sociology graduates search for when seeking employment include:

  • Data Collection: Surveys, interviews, and participant observations
  • Data Analysis: Descriptive statistics, correlation and regression
  • Report Writing: Specify if you have engaged in original research or secondary data collection
  • Cultural Competency: Understanding diversity dimensions including race, class and gender

You might want to also briefly specify the topics of papers you have written as part of your special skills and interests. Use simple, action-oriented words to describe your abilities on your resume.

Job Satisfaction

Research conducted by the American Sociological Association indicates that about half of sociology graduates are very satisfied with the jobs they held two years past graduation with a bachelor's degree, and another 42% were somewhat satisfied. Former majors were likely to be more satisfied with jobs that allowed them to employ sociological concepts, theories or paradigms that provided an understanding of social problems and social structure. So, be sure to conduct a skills based employment search that draws on your sociological training.

Employment with a Sociology Baccalaureate

ASA Research indicates that sociology baccalaureates obtain employment by job status as:

  • Social Services, Counselors, Psychologists
  • Clerical/Administrative Support
  • Management
  • Teachers/Librarians
  • Services
  • Sales, Marketing
  • Social Science, Researchers
  • Other Professionals

In concrete terms, this means that sociologists are frequently employed as welfare case workers, probation officers, and as directors of social service programs.They obtain employment in fields as diverse as law, journalism, industrial relations, social services, government, criminal justice, personnel management, community organization, and education. In short, a degree in sociology is appropriate for any job that requires an understanding of why people act the way they do.  If you plan to teach high school social studies, you may be qualified to receive your teaching certificate by completing a sociology major, additional classes in social studies, and a core of professional secondary education courses.

The American Sociological Association has some helpful additional information about careers in sociology:

In 2005, the ASA Department of Research and Development reported some mixed success regarding sociology graduates. This 2008 Data Brief updates what graduates are doing with an undergraduate bachelor's degree in sociology. For additional information about the advantages of majoring in Sociology, including comments from IPFW graduates, can be found here.