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Tips on Sociology Career Advancement Opportunities in 2021

August 18, 2021 | Staff Writers

Sociology Jobs
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A degree in sociology is a good fit for students with an interest in understanding and changing the way people interact and human behavior in general. As a social major, some of the critical areas you will concentrate on are vast, from social phenomena to social challenges. Not only is that the concern here, but the major is broad in its classwork requirements and fields of application.

When it comes to career opportunities in this major, the options are vast. And while some of them cut-crosses other discipline areas, there are other unique opportunities that only someone with a degree in this course can do. Generally, sociology graduates can choose areas to do with family, criminology, gender issues, public policy, and social rights and inequality concerns.

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics holds that in between the years 2019 and 2029, this field’s employment growth rate will increase by over 4%. Some common and unique career growth opportunities include social and human service assistance, health educator, social research assistant, and child welfare.

For example, one career area that defines a real sociologist is child welfare. Specialists in this area work with community organizations towards the sole role of protecting children. The duties here span from child neglect, abuse, and any other issue.

Health educators are also special members of sociology specialists. They major in areas that deliver programs about community health services and train community health workers.

One good thing about sociology is that it allows you to advance your career by furthering your education. A bachelors’ degree and an associate degree can only land you into an entry-level job, which is never well-paying in the end. 

Therefore, if you want to count on some tangible rewards, you can pursue a graduate degree, notably, a master’s degree. A master’s degree in sociology presents you with vast opportunities, especially if you already have some work experience.

Types of Jobs for Graduates with a Sociology Degree

Social life is vital for every human being. It isn’t easy to understand why and how people interact. However, students who major in sociology think critically and understand social issues and phenomena. The sociology major is broad, and students study several things in social life, including:

  • Sexuality
  • Criminology
  • Family 
  • Marriage
  • Social inequality
  • Work roles
  • Deviance
  • Group interaction
  • Attitude development
  • Aging
  • Gender roles 
  • Public policy

Therefore, a Sociology major can work in several jobs. A sociologist can work as a lawyer, guidance counselor, human resource (HR) representative, market research analyst, management consultant, and media planner. 

Skills That Sociology Majors Possess

Students who major in sociology do lots of research and then present their findings to the faculty hence gaining presentation skills. This also helps to improve their communication skills. By identifying global social issues, they develop problem-solving skills through their creativity. All these skills are important to help a sociology graduate get jobs in various fields.

Areas Where Most Jobs for Graduates with Sociology Degrees Are

Graduates who have majored in sociology should consider their skills and interests before choosing a career. Though they are experts in sociology, not all career paths are fit for them. Graduates should choose a job that they are passionate about and study social behavior. Below are several areas where sociology major graduates work though the job outlook is increasing at a high rate.

  • Research organizations
  • Colleges and universities
  • Consulting service firms
  • Federal and regional government

What Career Development Opportunities Are Unique to Sociology Graduates?

Statistics show that Sociology major graduates work in uncommon career fields unrelated to their sociology degree. However, the knowledge gained in sociology applies to such fields hence making them successful. Sociology is a flexible career because people with sociology degrees use their skills and critical thinking to work in various jobs. A lead faculty at Saint Leo University confirms that a sociology degree has flexibility and versatility.

Here are some sociology degree careers opportunities you might not have thought of: 

  • Homeland Security Agent: People who major in sociology understand human behavior. Thus, they understand the behavior and motives of various terrorists and defend the nation against their threats. Using their sociology skills, they can identify the hostile communities and help them prepare, respond, and move away from catastrophe. Hence, a sociologist can study crimes and play a huge role in the Homeland Security Department.
  • Brand Manager: Company managers must understand how to gain a customer’s loyalty for their brand to be successful. Sociologists can understand the consumers’ behavior and make advertising agencies successful. They research and predict how consumers react to a certain product, hence become excellent brand managers.
  • Political Campaign Coordinator: Sociology majors can identify several issues in politics, such as relationships with the neighborhood, voting trends, and the areas politicians should target. As political coordinators, sociology majors can write a detailed report about the past elections and the best transportation mode to target areas. Thus, they can transport voters to these places without difficulties during elections.
  • Public Relations Manager: Public relations managers should possess great communication skills, a skill that is a must-have for sociology majors. Thus, they can deliver a wide range of topics to audiences, whether positive, negative, or neutral. By analyzing human behavior, they know how to communicate in a public relations field.

What Unusual Places Can People with Sociology Degrees Work?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that sociology-related jobs would rise by 15% by 2022. Though some jobs seem unfit for sociology graduates, they can work in the most unexpected areas. Sociology major graduates use their critical thinking hence fit to work in various fields. However, those with a master’s degree in sociology have more knowledge and understand social behavior better. 

  • Business: Sociologists have the skills to understand the clients’ intentions. Thus, they are the best to work as customer service specialists in businesses. A graduate holding a degree in sociology uses unique mechanisms to facilitate sales in various businesses. These graduates understand how people react to various brands and how to improve them. 
  • Politics: Sociologists can play many roles in politics. They understand the trends in the political community, such as voting patterns and electorate demographics. By identifying the important patterns, they ensure there’s political balance hence solving any critical issues. These sociologist majors also ensure that the census process is a success.
  • Education: Though education is a career most sociology graduates apply for, there’s more than teaching political science, history, and social science. Some sociologists prefer traveling to various schools to enlighten students about mental and physical health. They also ensure that grant-funded programs and fundraising programs are a success. They can also educate others when they offer career counseling programs in various community organizations.

Salary Expectation for Jobs in The Field Of Sociology

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, sociologists earn an average salary of $79,460 as of May 2011. This figure has since risen, and any sociology worker can attest that even fresh graduates enjoy good pay immediately after college. As a sociology graduate, you need to discover the best approaches to maximize your salary as a sociologist.

However, the figures tend to differ among sociology graduates depending on the level of education among them. The knowledge gained applies to different fields such as law enforcement and education hence determine the range of salary earned. For this reason, the difference in salaries motivates students to consider individual career fields while keeping in mind other associated factors.

The increase of U.S. wages for sociology workers has remained a challenge for the past few decades, which is widely associated with different factors, which are defined below:

  • Level of education: Sociologists with higher levels of learning remain the highest pain than those under them.
  • Inequality: Salary growth in sociology has become slower than in other sectors over the past four decades.
  • Gender: Wage inequality has become more prevalent in men than women, affecting the level of salary raise.
  • Race and ethnicity: Salary growth has become faster for whites than Hispanics and blacks.

The U.S. salary budget increased to 3.3% in 2020 from 3.2% in 2019 based on the WorldatWork survey, a trend that will see sociologists get a salary increase each year through gradually. Though there isn’t a definitive answer for how much increase to expect, the increase often relies on the budget allocated for salaried individuals. Besides, wage increases may vary depending on additional education.

Did you know that Sociology is one of the most paying courses after college? Sociology is one of the broadest courses, and students study several social behaviors such as criminology, family, and marriage. Certain skills, such as researching, communication, and problem-solving skills, help them solve social issues.

Every student should work hard to get an entry into the best colleges offering a sociology program to graduate with a sociology degree. Students in these colleges can access the required resources to study sociology hence enjoy studying it. They are assured of securing a job in one of the fields despite the high competition.

Best Colleges Offering Sociology Courses

Here are the best colleges to study sociology in the US offering various types of degrees in sociology:

  1. Harvard University
  2. University of California-Berkeley
  3. Columbia University in New York City
  4. University of California-Los Angeles
  5. Boston College

Studying sociology is an advantage of a lifetime. People who study sociology know why and how people interact with each other, study social phenomena, and know-how to solve social issues. Whether it’s family or business matters, these individuals have the values and skills to manage a group of people. People with sociology majors can also fit in various societies and solve social inequality.

According to the PayScale survey in 2020, sociologists’ salaries vary according to years of experience. Entry-level sociologists with no more than a year of experience, earn an average salary of $40,695. They earn $22 to $31 per hour. However, their salaries increase as they become more experienced.

A master’s degree or a Ph.D. is required for most sociology jobs because of extensive skills learned. Hence, most sociology graduates strive to go back to school after graduating with their first degree. Lots of knowledge and critical thinking are required to analyze and predict human behavior. Again, the skills these graduates have determined the field to work in.

Sociologists work full time following the regular working hours, similar to other industries. More sociology workers are likely to be employed, with a 4% growth projected in sociology jobs in the next ten years. Though more students are graduating each year and competition is high, the number of positions is relatively low.

Sociologists handle a few roles, including:

  • Analyzing and concluding data
  • Create research projects that help in testing theories concerning social problems
  • Collect data through various sources, including observations, surveys, and interviews
  • Work with other groups such as policymakers and social scientists to develop findings and solve social issues.
  • Prepare reports and present their research findings.

Experienced sociologists receive a higher salary than those at entry-level because they tend to incorporate adequate knowledge and skills. Typically, sociologists with 20 years of experience and above earn an average salary of $120,000 per year. Some sociologists can earn more depending on the experience and familiarity of making definitive decisions of emerging problems.

Education and Skills Needed for a Job in the Field of Sociology

“Where will you take your sociology degree?” This question is the most difficult one sociology graduates have to answer. It’s the fear that hinders many from pursuing a sociology course, however much they are interested, or parents from supporting their children in pursuing sociology majors. 

The good news is that sociology opens doors to a bunch of employment opportunities for its graduates. While the course may not appear practical on the surface, it offers skills that can open the door for opportunities in almost all industries with proper planning and execution. In this article, we take you through the valuable skills obtained from sociology that can give you an edge over other applicants or help you land a job. We’ll also look at a few aspects of the sociology program.

What Marketable Skills Do Sociology Graduates Acquire? 

Sociology majors don’t seem to offer a direct college to job transition. However, they equip learners with functional skills that can easily be transferred from one field to another. These skills are essential in today’s job market. They can independently open doors to career opportunities or act as a rounded foundation for graduate studies. 

American Sociology Association (ASA) conducted interviews with numerous corporate and small business employers. At the interview, they established that most employers prefer employing applicants with prior knowledge in sociology due to the valuable skills and abilities. Some of these useful skills acquired from sociology include:

  • Interpersonal Skills: Includes the ability to share responsibilities, work cooperatively, and maintain good working relationships with other employees. Employers are interested in graduates who can perform effectively in workforces and team projects but still find it easy to self-manage projects. With the consumer-oriented approach adopted by many organizations, they want employees who are good at networking and affiliating. This approach involves a lot of interactions, and interpersonal skills come in handy.
  • Communication Skills: Employers across small and corporate organizations want applicants who can clearly and concisely express themselves both verbally and in written forms. Today’s job market depends on data research, analysis, and presentation. As a result, they need someone who can flawlessly communicate even the most complex theories plainly and concisely.
  • Statistics and Research: A sociology graduate understands the need for extensive research and fact-checking. As a result, they offer organizations reliable solutions and answers to their problems based on facts obtained from a reputable source and real-life experiences.
  • Analytical Skills: A combination of excellent analytical skills, communication, critical thinking, and research skills will automatically boost your career profile, especially in communication- and research-related jobs.
  • Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving: Employers want graduates who can think critically and come up with workable solutions. 
  • Multi-Cultural Understanding: Applicants who have a comprehensive understanding of a people’s culture and can work under the context of their culture and diversities stand a better chance. 
  • Computer Literacy: Sociology programs majorly involve data research and analysis. This makes the students gain high-level computer skills which help them succeed in almost all career fields.
  • A Sense for Business: Employees are looking for applicants with “business savvy” who know the general ethics of performance management and innovative quality processes.

How to Specialize in the Field of Sociology

Most sociology jobs require a master’s degree to be absorbed. However, that doesn’t limit you if you want to get additional studies. You can often study the program up to a Ph.D. level and qualify with the highest degree. 

You stand better opportunities and more high-paying jobs at the highest level than a master’s degree holder. However. That doesn’t mean the master’s degree graduates have to endure at meager paying jobs since careers such as social worker can still offer better benefits at the level. 

The steps for specializing and becoming a highly acknowledged sociologist involves:

  • Completing a bachelor’s degree
  • Choosing a career field
  • Obtaining a master’s degree
  • Gaining a practical experience
  • Opting for a PhD
  • Getting a certification

What Classes are Necessary for a Sociology Degree?

Sociology is quite broad and leads to several opportunities in a wide range of fields. However, the program still has coursework that must be completed before the leeway to choose the study on prime interests. The required courses may have slight differences depending on the college or university you decide to pursue your degree. Here are some classes that apply across different institutions: 

  • Introduction to sociology course: Gives students a survey of what the sociology field entails.
  • Research methods course: Gives learners a hands-on experience on how to conduct both qualitative and qualitative forms of research.
  • Social statistics course: Get in-depth knowledge on how to organize scrutinized data.
  • Systematic analysis of alternative theoretical perspectives course:. It may involve current sociological theory, feminist social thought, social theory, and many others, depending on your school.
  • Choose a course to specialize in: These may include criminology, migration, and medical sociology, among others.

Sociology graduates have many opportunities, and the skills do a lot in enhancing their career profiles. It’s a field worth pursuing whether you want to enter the job market at the entry-level or expert level. Suppose you love learning about social and cultural interactions. In that case, you can take on a sociology major as this also improves your marketability.

Where to Find Job Opportunities in The Field of Sociology

Is a sociology degree marketable career-wise?  This is a question that most students ask themselves, given that the sociology program is so broad and doesn’t offer a direct graduation-to-career transition like courses such as nursing and engineering. However, a sociology degree opens numerous opportunities in various fields for their majors. Yes, sociology is very marketable to answer the question above, especially if you approach your studies and experience the right way. 

Even so, what can be more fulfilling than pursuing a study you are passionate about? That’s the first energy that drives most sociology majors. They find peace and fulfillment in doing what they love, which in turn leads to a host of open doors in different facilities and institutions focusing on human services

What Skills do Sociology Graduates Learn?

A sociology degree is very relevant for you if you are interested in gender and identity, ethnic cultures, identities and class, social movement, and political economy since its majors generally focus on political, cultural, and global interactions. 

Sociology majors learn to research the social world. They collect and analyze data by employing statistical tools and qualitative research methods learned from their majors. Some of the skills graduates gain from studying sociology include problem-solving, creativity, statistics, effective communication, critical thinking, and presentation skills. 

Job Opportunities for Sociology Majors

While the opportunities may be numerous, it’s essential to consider personal interests, values, and the other skills you possess, alongside your preferred sociology major. Doing that will help you choose the best possible career and a job you would enjoy doing.

Most sociology jobs require a master’s degree or a Ph.D. education level. Other careers may demand additional studies on the field of choice. However, you can also start your career at the entry-level by venturing into the areas of market research, legislative aid, customer service, or research assistants. Some of the jobs you can think of including the following:

  • Guidance Counselor
  • Human Resource Counsellor
  • Social worker
  • Activist
  • Mediator
  • Child welfare worker
  • Non-profit administrator
  • Child and youth worker

What is the Employment Outlook for Sociologists?

The demand for sociologists across different fields is still projected to rise. Sociologists will yet be required to provide their sociological research across many disciplines. For example, social science researchers like psychologists, economists, and surveyors may need to collaborate with sociologists to study how social groups or structures influence policy decisions around politics, education, business, criminal justice, and economics. 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, sociologists’ general job outlook is projected to expand by 4% from 2019 to 2029. While the 4% may be median, careers such as market research analysts may see expansions of up to 20% within the same period. Social workers’ demands may increase by 13%, while guidance counselors may grow at 8%. That means that there is a bright future for sociology graduates. The secret is in conducting your research well and choosing what meets your passion and skills.

What Locations Are Seeing the Highest Demand for Sociologists?

Sociologists’ skills are marketable across several fields. Some of the areas sociology graduates may seek employment include:

  • Prisons
  • Halfway houses
  • Non-profit organizations
  • Political parties
  • Research and policy institutions
  • Mediation firms
  • Community centers
  • Colleges, universities, and schools
  • Youth shelters
  • Government agencies and courts

How to Land a Job After Graduating as a Sociologist

The field of sociology is broad and popular, attracting several students. As a result, most sociology careers are a bit competitive. They require you to devise unique strategies while preparing for a career. You must think critically about how to approach the job market and prepare well for your future career. 

Gaining additional skills is one of the best ways to prepare yourself. Similarly, you can start as early as the time you are in college to narrow down your focus to the field you want to pursue as a career. 

Other ways to prepare for the job market and increase your chances of landing an opportunity immediately after college include:

  • Doing an internship: An internship allows you to gain experience and build your curriculum vitae (CV). 
  • Studying abroad: While you can learn the cultures of people in the class, nothing measures immersing into their cultures and physically interacting with them.
  • Learning a new language:  A second language increases your marketability, given that many employers prefer bilingual candidates.
  • Making a lot of relevant connections: The people you know in any field will always impact how fast you land a job. You can take advantage of social media or internships to connect with other professionals.
  • Taking classes: The earlier you build a focus, the more you widen your experience and marketability.
  • Use of college resources: Resources such as resume writing workshops and job search assistance will help you prepare for what awaits you in the actual job search.

As a sociology graduate, you have several opportunities up for grabs if you use the right approach. If you were doubting whether you’ll make the right choice by studying sociology, then this article has shined some light on you. Now it’s time to take action and pursue your interests.

In Summary

With a master’s degree, getting a job can be easier, and the salaries will be higher. So, if you want to maximize in this field of social services, gaining more work experience will not do you any better, even though it will likely increase your salary. 

At best, a master’s degree promises higher salary increases, usually doubling that of a degree holder in a similar position, outright proof that the more you learn, the more you earn.

Specializing in a sociology major will usually call for a lot of personal reflections and soul searching. Above all, everything narrows down to personal interest and what someone feels comfortable with. 

Plus, if you don’t understand, you can always use your school’s guidance to help you even when you have a mentor. The areas to specialize in include social movements, politics & social change, gender and sexuality, culture, and many more areas that can vary from school to school.

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