Guide to Sociology Careers

Sociology is the study of the origins and development of social behavior, the effects of social change and the social causes of human behavior.

Studying sociology involves courses in political thought, statistics, social inequality, organizational behavior and social psychology, where you’ll gain insights into how people function within societies, organizations and companies. A sociology degree can become the springboard to a number of diverse careers that match all kinds of skills and interests.

Top Careers for Sociology Degrees

While a sociology degree would serve you well in pursuing a career in fields such as criminal justice, government, law, communications and urban planning, the following are some of the top careers, in terms of potential job growth:

  1. Community Health Managers
    Community health managers develop strategies to meet the health needs of the community and to promote wellness. They plan health education programs and collect and analyze data to identify needs and track results. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects jobs in this field will increase by 13% through 2024. Job increases will be driven by increased efforts to reduce healthcare costs by improving health through education, better self-care and lifestyle changes. According to the BLS, the median annual salary for health educators was $53,070 in May 2016. Earners in the top 10% of the salary range earned more than $95,730, while those in lowest 10% earned less than $30,400.
  2. Social and Community Service Managers
    These professionals head social service programs and community organizations. Social and community service managers typically direct operations that provide social services to the public, such as through a food bank, veteran’s center or child welfare agency. According to the BLS, employment in this field is expected to grow 10% through 2024. Much of this will stem from fulfilling the needs of an increasingly older population. Additional growth will come from increases in people seeking treatment for addictions. The BLS reports that the median annual salary for social and community service managers in May 2016 was $64,680. The top 10% earned $110,970, while the lowest 10% earned $39,770.
  3. Training and Development Specialist
    These specialists determine a firm’s training needs, plan and administer employee training programs, and develop training manuals. The BLS predicts job growth for training and development specialists should increase by 7% through 2024. Jobs will be created through innovations in training technology, employers requiring more continuing education and the large-scale retirement of Baby Boomers that will necessitate training replacement staff. The BLS reports training and development specialists earned a median annual salary of $59,020 in May 2016. The top 10% earned more than $101,010, while the lowest 10% earned less than $32,410.
  4. Social Science Research Assistants
    If you enjoy doing research, this could be a great career for you. Social science research assistants help with lab research, surveys and gathering data. They also assist with experiments and presenting findings. The BLS predicts employment for social scientists and related workers such as survey researchers will grow 12% through 2024. The median annual salary reported by the BLS for social science research assistants was $43,190 in May 2016. The top 10% earned $74,900, while the lowest 10% earned $22,090.
  5. Court Clerks
    Court clerks perform a variety of duties for judges, courts of law, and local and state government agencies. A sociology degree could be excellent preparation for this career, with its close ties to law and politics. The BLS projects employment in the broad field of general office clerks to grow 3% through 2024. In May 2016, the BLS reported a median annual salary for court clerks of $36,670. The top 10% earned $57,420, while the lowest 10% earned $23,880.

Sociology Degrees Can Lead to Great Jobs

Researcher, trainer, community health manager and scores of other jobs tap the in-demand skills from sociology curriculum. Explore these jobs to see if they’re a good fit for your interests, and learn more about how a degree in sociology can help you start on the path to your ideal career.

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