Sociology is the study of society and social interaction. This can cover a wide range of subjects, as it relates not only to the way people interact today, but also to how our interactions were originally established. The study of how businesses form, the identification of tribal or ethnic origins, and the ways in which people in a given society resolve conflicts all fall under the purview of sociology, which overlaps with such diverse fields as psychology, anthropology, and economics. The sociology major touches on all of these areas, shaping them into a cohesive area of study concerned with all human relationships.
Related resource: 20 Great Value Online Colleges for a Sociology Degree (Bachelor’s) 2017
Because of this extraordinary diversity within the field of sociology, there is a tremendous variety of opportunity available within that field. Like the study of sociology itself, the job opportunities and career prospects for sociology majors vary widely; they depend upon which areas of relevance are of interest. Generally speaking, there are five broad categories of employment for sociology majors once they’re out of school, aside from teaching sociology:
Human services covers a range of jobs, including counseling and other mental health services, addiction treatment (as a specialty, distinct from general counseling), human resource administration, consumer and victim advocacy, and social services case management. The sociology major’s background in human relationships, particularly in terms of how relationships are established and how they change over time, is particularly important to these types of careers.
Criminal justice provides employment for sociologists in the department of corrections and in rehabilitative counseling. It is one of the most sought-after degree programs for advancing a long-term career in law enforcement, particularly at the state and federal levels. A graduate degree in sociology can prepare one for a career in the judiciary, wherein the discipline’s focus on how people relate to changing patterns in society as a whole can be invaluable.
Outside of criminal justice, sociology employment in the public sector relates primarily to research and planning. Government-employed sociologists conduct demographic and statistical analyses, attempting to direct government money earmarked for social programs to where it will do the most good for the greatest number of people. Sociologists also work in human services at the local level, and in a city planning capacity, where they are responsible for taking human needs into account when it comes to the development of new urban features and resources.
Social Sciences Research
Social sciences research is something of an umbrella term in itself, since it reflects something with applications across many fields. One of those not widely touched on elsewhere is marketing, where sociology supports the study of various consumer demographics: it can be used to help identify target audiences for a product or service, and to develop marketing and advertising resources which will be most effective at reaching those audiences.
Many sales and mid-level management personnel possess sociology degrees, which are helpful in identifying how individuals relate to trending behaviors, as well as identifying the primary audience for a particular product or service. From a management perspective, sociology also relates strongly to how coworkers relate to each other within the workforce: it is helpful in developing and implementing effective team-building resources and in improving overall efficiency. Sociology degrees are also heavily represented in public relations, both for individual organizations and in specialized firms.
More Opportunities for the Sociology Major
By virtue of its sheer breadth of focus, sociology is growing in its applicability, though it hasn’t added new areas of relevant study. Of particular interest in the modern business world are its relevance to organizational dynamics and conflict resolution, which make it suitable for a career in either business strategy or human resources (which provide thousands of sociology jobs within the United States alone).