Human relationships and interactions are complex, varied and one of the most basic building blocks of civilization. Sociology can be an interesting field of study for anybody who enjoys watching people at the airport, discussing social issues with friends, exploring the differences between cultures, and other such activities or endeavors.
Sociology majors will develop skills that are highly versatile and applicable to any industry that involves lots of human interaction, such as counseling, education, law and public relations. Whether you are interested in solving sweeping social issues like racial inequity or helping mediate interactions between people and businesses, a sociology degree can equip you with the necessary skills.
Here are seven career options for sociology majors:
1. Guidance Counselor
At some point during your time as a student, you probably interacted with a guidance counselor. The Balance Careers contributor Mike Profita points out, “Guidance counselors use knowledge of the sociology of learning to help students navigate the academic world.” They work with students to deal with everything from deciding which major best fits their disposition to coping with the stress that comes with a strenuous course load.
According to PayScale, as of July 2020, the average salary for guidance counselors is $51,371 per year. This varies based on location and experience.
2. Social Worker
Similar to guidance counselors, social workers help individuals navigate issues like drug addiction, aging and financial struggles. According to SocialScienceCareers.org, “Social workers may find work with almost any type of population, from at-risk youth to the elderly, as well as all ages between childhood and retirement.”
Social work and counseling are great options for those looking to help individuals come up with concrete solutions to the problems they’re facing and can help make a positive impact on a school or community. Rather than being research-based, these careers are people-based, and well-suited to those who enjoy working directly with people.
According to PayScale, as of July 2020, the average salary for social workers is $47,243 per year. This varies based on location and experience.
3. Human Resources Representative
Virtually every company with a big enough work force will require human resource representatives to help resolve employee issues. SocialScienceCareers.org states, “The average human resources department employs a variety of professionals from specialists to managers.” Resolving disputes between coworkers, helping with the hiring process, and maintaining a pleasant work environment, HR is an essential part of any business.
Similar to counseling and social services, HR is a great field for those who prefer to work directly with people and solve interpersonal issues head on. According to SocialScienceCareers.org, “A human resources specialist can see a healthy median pay of more than $58,000 a year.”
A sociology degree can lay down the groundwork for anyone interested in pursuing a career in law. As Profita points out, lawyers utilize many of the same skills learned in a sociology degree program. “They must gather facts and evidence to support a thesis,” he writes, “just as sociology majors do with their position papers.”
Lawyers focus on a huge range of issues, from family to business law. Many of these specialties overlap with sociology, dealing with human interactions on both large and small scales. While the pay can vary greatly, as of July 2020, PayScale puts the average annual salary for a lawyer at $84,581.
5. Policy Analyst
Policy analysts employ the macro-level skills learned during a sociology degree program, focusing on the effects of legislation on certain populations. They are tasked with observing and reporting on the real-world effects of laws and recommending legislation to address social issues.
Profita writes, “Policy analysts, like sociology majors, rely on strong writing skills to represent the findings of their research and convince legislators and the public of the viability of their recommendations.” As of July 2020, PayScale gives an average salary of $59,428 per year for policy analysts.
6. Market Research Analyst
Similar to policy analysts, market research analysts research the efficacy of marketing campaigns and propose new ones. SocialScienceCareers.org writes, “Extensive reading and study allow the market research analyst to make predictions about the type of products and services people want.” Businesses rely on this analysis to understand their failures and facilitate their success.
As of July 2020, PayScale gives an average salary of $53,835 per year for market research analysts.
If sociology interests you in its own right, then a career in sociology is a great option. Working as a sociologist involves researching social issues and diagnosing societal problems. While pursuing a graduate degree can help further a sociologist’s career, one can work in the field with an undergraduate degree as a researcher. The further a student goes with their education, the higher salary they are likely to make in the field.
As of July 2020, PayScale places the average salary for sociologists at $57,352 per year.
Sociology is a broad field, and the skills learned in a sociology degree program are valuable to countless organizations. Whether you are interested in helping a business successfully develop and market new products, assisting individuals with challenging personal problems, or simply understanding people, a degree in sociology can lead to a rewarding and fruitful career.
Learn more about Lamar University’s online Bachelor of Science in Sociology program.