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Careers | Sociology | February 14, 2012

Careers in Sociology: What Can I Do With a Sociology Degree?

What is Sociology?

Sociology is the study of society that uses scientific and qualitative thinking to develop knowledge of human social activity. Sociology often focuses on social policy and welfare systems, from a very specific level to a broad-reaching level. Sociology encompasses the studies of social class, social mobility, religion, law and deviance. Some sociologists study modern situations of human life, focusing more on health, military institutions and even the Internet. Sociologists consider aspects of culture, economics, environment and education. Sociology often overlaps with anthropology, political science, economics, philosophy, or communication studies.

What Careers can a Degree in Sociology Lead to?

Sociology gives students both math and critical thinking skills, as well as great writing and analytical skills. Sociology majors often go into careers such as the following:

Criminal Justice Careers in Sociology

It is very popular for sociology majors to go into criminal justice. After college, many sociology students enter police academies or train to become public safety officers. With some additional training, sociologists can become law enforcement officials at almost any level: computer forensics, conservation officer, counter terrorism, crime lab analyst, crime scene investigator, FBI agent, forensic expert, fraud investigator, probation counselors, substance abuse counselor, TSA screener, and more.

Many people who major in sociology go on to law school or apply to be a paralegal. Often, these sociologists practice law in the discipline that interested them most as sociology majors.

Business Sociology Careers in Sociology

Sociologists are invaluable to almost all businesses. Most companies want to increase efficiency of their workers, while keeping them happy. Sociology majors often have an understanding of the environment of the workplace and can help make corporations more effective.

Government Careers in Sociology

Many mayors, senators, congressmen, and even some presidents were sociology majors. Often, after learning about the workings of society, many sociology majors want to change society. Sociology majors are involved with government on many levels, including public safety, public health, planning, and support and staffing services.

Education Careers in Sociology

Sociology majors often get graduate degrees in education and become teachers at the high school or college level. Sociology majors often have a unique understanding of how students learn and interact with one another.

Sociology majors also can work on an administrative level in educational policy. There are many schools with limited resources for students, and sociology majors usually have a great understanding of both the economic and social needs of an organization.

Many sociology majors also work in student affairs at college and universities, using their knowledge of society to develop student life.

Advocacy and Community Service Careers in Sociology

Sociologists often work as advocates for facets of society. They work for nonprofit organizations at every level, and often serve as lobbyists for legislators in congress. Bigger corporations also often have community relations or nonprofit offices, where sociologists can develop strategic plans to build relationships with the company and community.

Many sociology grads work as fundraisers, community organizers, family planners, career counselors, medical records clerks, housing workers, child development, residential planners, charity administrators, environmental organizers, substance abuse counselors, hospital administrators, gerontologists, case managers, group home workers and volunteer program coordinators.

Research Careers in Sociology

Sociology grads that tend to enjoy their math and analysis courses often pursue careers in research. Since they have a deep familiarity with statistics and analyzing data, they are valuable in a number of companies. They serve as researchers, population analysts, surveyors, market researchers, statisticians, and consultants.

What do Sociology students study?

Sociology majors usually have to take classes like:

  • Introduction to Sociology
  • Sociological Research
  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology Statistics/Data
  • Sociological Theory
  • Social Movements
  • Social Inequality

Famous People Who Have Studied Sociology

Some notable people who have studied sociology include:

  • Ahmad Rashad, Sportscaster
  • Alonzo Mourning, former NBA player
  • Barbara Mikulski, longest serving female senator
  • Brian Jordan, former MLB baseball player and NFL football player
  • Dan Aykroyd, actor and original Saturday Night Live cast member
  • Dinah Shore, singer and actress
  • Francis Perkins, first woman appointed to U.S. Cabinet
  • Joe Theisman, former NFL player
  • Kalpen Suresh Modi, actor and Associate Director in the White House Office of Public Engagement
  • Michelle Obama, first African-American First Lady of the United States
  • Paul Shaffer, musician and actor
  • Regis Philbin, former talk show host
  • Rev. Jesse Jackson, civil rights activist
  • Rev. Martin Luther King, activist and leader of African-American Civil Rights Movement
  • Robin Williams, actor and comedian
  • Ronald Reagan, 40th U.S. president
  • Roy Wilkins, former head of NAACP
  • Saul Alinsky, author and father of community organizing
  • Shirley Chisholm, first black woman elected to Congress

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