What can you do with a sociology degree? The answer to this question is multi-faceted. Sociology, like other behavioral sciences, represents a broad field, so your career options will be many. In this ranking, we feature the top eight highest paying sociology degree jobs currently available.
Human Resources Manager
Median Annual Wage 2020 (BLS): $121,220
When asked the question of what can you do with a sociology degree, the response of “human resources manager” may not be the first one you utter. It may, however, be among the most lucrative answers. Sociology degree graduates make good candidates for careers in human resources because they understand how people think and function within a group.
Human resources managers are responsible for a variety of different tasks on a daily basis. Some of these may include interviewing job candidates on behalf of a company, developing strategies for maximizing the productivity of an organization’s staff, training employees on company policies and procedures, handling employee benefits, and more.
Although the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that job opportunities for human resources managers are growing faster than average, competition for available positions will be stiff. Candidates with an advanced degree or a specialization in human resources will fare best.
Market Research Analyst
Median Annual Wage 2020 (BLS): $65,810
Another often overlooked answer to the question of what can you do with a sociology degree is the position of a market research analyst. Sociology degree graduates make ideal market research analysts because they understand societal trends that affect the market.
The primary task of a market research analyst is to help a company determine the potential market for a product or service. This professional will examine current market conditions to identify demand for a company’s offerings as well as potential profits. To do this, analysts must collect, analyze, and apply large amounts of economic data. In some cases, they must prepare reports from this data and make presentations to stakeholders.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the demand for market research analysts is growing exponentially. In the age of “big data,” more and more companies are in need of analysts who can make sense of the numbers and use them to the advantage of the organization. Candidates with an advanced degree as well as those with strengths in mathematics and statistics will qualify for the best positions.
To become an entry-level market research analyst, you’ll need at least a bachelor’s degree. Employers usually prefer undergraduate majors in social sciences–such as sociology, for instance— or statistics, communications, or business administration.
Urban and Regional Planner
Median Annual Wage 2020 (BLS): $75,950
What can you do with a sociology degree? One potential career path for sociology graduates is the one leading to a position as an urban and regional planner. These professionals help communities thrive by making the most of their resources, notably their land. The duties of an urban/regional planner are broad and can vary depending on the community or organization they work for. Still, these responsibilities will typically include analyzing data to inform land-use plans and decisions, meeting with public officials to discuss land-use plans, researching building codes and environmental regulations, reviewing plans for development, and more.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that job prospects for urban and regional planners are currently very good. Even so, applicants will face competition when applying for these coveted positions. It’s also important to note that the outlook for employment of urban and regional planners can shift abruptly, as the demand for these jobs tends to fluctuate with economic conditions.
To become an urban/regional planner, you’ll most likely need to complete a master’s degree program approved by the Planning Accreditation Board (PAB). However, an undergraduate degree in sociology provides a good foundation to build upon and will give you a basic framework for your budding career.
Public Relations Specialist
Median Annual Wage 2020 (BLS): $62,810
Those individuals contemplating the question of what can you do with a sociology degree may not immediately consider the occupation of a public relations specialist. Still, this job is well-suited for graduates of sociology programs who understand societal trends and patterns.
The primary role of a public relations specialist is to put a positive spin on a company’s image. This can include writing favorable press releases, upholding connections with members of the press, drafting speeches for company figureheads, and maintaining a brand’s social media, for instance.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that employment of public relations specialists is growing about as fast as the average occupation. Competition for job openings is projected to be strong, however.
Social and Community Service Manager
Median Annual Wage 2020 (BLS): $69,600
The role of a social and community service manager should definitely be top of mind if you’re wondering what can you do with a sociology degree. These advanced positions enable sociology degree graduates to work in management positions, supervising the operations of community organizations and social service programs. The exact duties of social and community service managers may vary based on their terms of employment, but they can include developing ideas for social programs, creating objectives for community service projects, identifying resources to execute program initiatives, and analyzing the success of programs, for instance.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that jobs for social and community service managers are currently growing much faster than average. This uptick can be attributed to the aging baby boomer population, which is creating a need for more social service programs. An additional factor for the rise in demand for social and community service managers is related to the increased awareness of the need for drug rehabilitation and treatment centers.
To become a social and community service manager, you’ll need a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in sociology, public health, business administration, or a related field plus some prior experience in the field. Some employers prefer candidates with a master’s degree, however.
Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists
Median Annual Wage 2020 (BLS): $55,690
Still wondering what can you do with a sociology degree? Another potentially high-paying option is the role of a probation officer or correctional treatment specialist. These social services professionals are tasked with the challenging job of rehabilitating criminals who are either incarcerated or on parole or probation. This includes developing rehabilitation plans, meeting with offenders to discuss these plans and monitor progress, offering social services and other resources such as drug treatment and job training, for instance, and even testifying in court.
Jobs for probation officers and correction treatment specialists are currently experiencing an average growth, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This doesn’t mean that jobs aren’t available, however. Proficiency in Spanish can help increase your chances of employment in the field.
To become a probation officer or correction treatment specialist, you’ll need a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in sociology or a related field. An additional training program and certification test may also be required prior to becoming employed in an official capacity.
Median Annual Wage 2020 (BLS): $51,760
The occupation of a social worker may be among the first to come to mind when asked the question of what can you do with a sociology degree. Social workers work with individuals to help them navigate various obstacles and challenges in life. These could include problems with a person’s family, health, finances, or job situation, for example. Their specific duties will vary but may include providing counseling services, offering resources such as childcare or financial assistance, maintaining client records, monitoring individual progress, and more.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that jobs for social workers are growing much faster than average overall. The greatest demand, however, will be for social workers who are qualified to work in the fields of healthcare and mental health/substance abuse facilities.
To enter the field of social work, you’ll need at least a bachelor’s degree in sociology, behavioral sciences, or a closely related field.
Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselor
Median Annual Wage 2020 (BLS): $47,660
For those contemplating what can you do with a sociology degree, another potential option is the career path leading to the position of a substance abuse, behavioral disorder, or mental health counselor. These professionals work with individuals to help them cope with specific problems such as alcohol and drug addiction as well as problematic behavior and thinking. In addition to meeting with clients for counseling sessions, these types of counselors are responsible for creating treatment plans, keeping detailed records of meetings, and assessing their clients’ progress.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that employment opportunities for substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors are currently growing much faster than average. This growing demand can be attributed to the increased societal awareness of the need for mental health services as well as the recent trend in the criminal justice field to send offenders to rehab as opposed to a corrections facility.
To become a substance abuse, behavioral disorder, or mental health counselor, you’ll need a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in sociology or other behavioral science. Graduates of advanced degree programs in the field will have the best job prospects, though.
Frequently-Asked Questions About Sociology Degree Jobs
Q: Can I complete a sociology degree online?
A: Yes. There are a number of colleges and universities in the U.S. that offer sociology degrees via distance education. Some of these schools are highlighted in this ranking.
Q: Do I need a master’s degree to work in sociology?
A: No. Although a master’s degree is typically required to practice sociology in a clinical setting, there are many other entry-level occupations in sociology available for bachelor’s degree holders.
Q: Are jobs in sociology in demand?
A: Yes. Most of the high-paying sociology degree jobs in this ranking are growing faster than average, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Q: What will I make after earning a degree in sociology?
A: Your individual salary will depend on the terms of your employment as well as your experience in the field.
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