Sociology

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Area

Human Services

  • Direct care:
    • Counseling
    • Case management
    • Mental health services
    • Crisis work
    • Testing/Assessment
    • Behavioral analysis
    • Rehabilitation services
    • Prevention education

  • Administration:
    • Advocacy
    • Programming
    • Community relations
    • Development/Fund raising
    • Grant writing
    • Non-profit management
    • Volunteer coordination

Employers

  • Federal, state, and local government
  • Advocacy groups
  • Religiously-affiliated organizations
  • Non-profit/Social service agencies
  • Private foundations

  • Adoption and child care agencies
  • Nursing homes and retirement communities
  • Senior citizens’ centers
  • Residential treatment facilities
  • Hospitals and wellness centers

  • Halfway houses
  • Correctional facilities
  • Vocational services
  • Educational information services
  • Hospice agencies

Strategies

  • Concentrate course work or earn a minor in an area of interest such as youth, gerontology, or poverty.
  • Develop helping and communication skills through volunteer positions.
  • Obtain essential practical experience through an internship, part-time or summer job with a non-profit or social service organization.
  • Serve as a Peer Mentor, Resident Assistant, or other student leader.
  • Gain experience with diverse populations.
  • Learn a second language in order to interact with non-English speakers and increase marketability.
  • Many entry level positions require some related experience. Volunteering, part-time jobs, and internships can typically fulfill this requirement.
  • Obtain a graduate degree in a social service discipline such as social work, counseling, or psychology to increase employment opportunities.
  • Most states require licensure or certification for positions involving the direct provision of therapeutic services to clients.

  • Court reporting
  • Court administration
  • Law enforcement
  • Corrections

  • Probation and parole
  • Rehabilitation
  • Prevention programming
  • Victim service

  • Forensics/Investigation
  • Security
  • Loss prevention/Asset protection
  • Juvenile justice

Employers

  • City/County government:
    • Police departments
    • Correction facilities
    • County sheriff departments
    • Liquor Control Commission
    • Animal control offices
  • State government:
    • State troopers
    • Crime labs
    • Penitentiaries
  • Federal government:
    • U.S. Customs and Border Protection
    • Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
    • Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

  • Federal government continued
    • Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)
    • Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
    • Department of Homeland Security
    • Postal Service
    • U.S. Marshals Service
    • National Security Agency (NSA)
    • United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
    • National Parks Service
    • Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF)
    • Armed services

  • Prisons/Jails
  • Detention centers
  • Youth corrections facilities
  • Airports and other transportation facilities
  • Crime laboratories
  • Colleges and universities
  • Banks

Strategies

  • Choose criminal justice/criminology courses or concentration in sociology.
  • Volunteer to work with at-risk youth and families.
  • Gain experience working with diverse populations.
  • Complete a formal police academy program upon graduation for careers in law enforcement.
  • Consider obtaining experience in a branch of the military.
  • Attend a post-secondary vocational or technical college for court reporting certification programs.
  • Coursework related to the hard sciences (biology, chemistry, biochemistry) is often necessary for career opportunities in forensics. Additionally, earning a graduate degree in forensic science or a related discipline may be necessary.
  • Become familiar with the government application process and seek assistance from the campus career center.
  • Learn a second language for increased marketability.
  • Be prepared to complete physical and psychological testing, fitness evaluations, and other evaluations for entry into law enforcement and military careers.
  • For Federal government positions with organizations such as the FBI, CIA, DEA, etc. additional work experience is often required before becoming an agent.

Area

Law

  • Prosecution
  • Defense
  • Contractual

  • Corporate
  • Nonprofit or public interest
  • Government

  • Mediation
  • Lobbying
  • Law assistance

Employers

  • Law firms
  • Federal, state and local government

  • Corporations
  • Nonprofit and public interest organizations, e.g. ACLU, NAACP Legal Defense fund, and Legal Services Corporation

  • Legal aid societies
  • Private practice
  • Colleges and universities

Strategies

  • Supplement curriculum with classes that help prepare students for the rigors of law school.
  • Participate in a debate teams to hone communication skills.
  • Develop strong research skills and attention to detail.
  • Gain experience with mediation and conflict resolution.
  • Get involved with pre-law organizations.
  • Obtain a summer or part-time job in a law firm.
  • Plan to shadow an attorney to learn more about the field and various specialties. Look for ways to get experience in field of interest, (e.g., content) sports, juvenile justice, environment, etc.
  • Plan to attend law school and earn a JD from a school accredited by the American Bar Association. Maintain an excellent GPA and secure strong faculty recommendations. Plan to take the LSAT (Law School Admissions Test).
  • Complete a certificate program to prepare for paralegal positions.

Area

Education 

  • K-12:
    • Teaching (elementary, middle, secondary)
    • School counseling
    • Administration

  • Higher education:
    • Teaching
    • Research
    • Administration
    • Student affairs

  • Information/Library services
  • Adult learning/Community instruction (e.g., GED classes, life skills, parenting, etc.)

Employers

  • K-12 schools, public and private
  • Boards of education
  • Four-year colleges and universities
  • Two-year and community colleges

  • Technical schools
  • Medical and professional schools
  • Federal Trio programs (e.g., Upward Bound, Talent Search)
  • Non-profit organizations (e.g., Project Grad, Teach for America)

Strategies

  • Obtain teaching licensure for desired subject area and/or grade level for public school positions. Requirements for certification/licensure vary by state. Seek guidance from the education department of your college.
  • Gain multiple certifications to increase employability.
  • Private schools may not require certification or licensure. Obtain a master’s degree in subject area for increased employability.
  • Earn Ph.D. to teach and research at four-year institutions. A master’s degree or Ph.D. is required to teach at two-year schools.
  • Participate in research as an undergraduate. Take research coursework, become involved with faculty research, get to know graduate students.
  • Join appropriate professional organization and attend conferences as a student.
  • Obtain a master’s degree in college student personnel, student development, or counseling for student affairs or administrative positions.
  • Obtain a master’s degree in school counseling to become a professional school counselor.
  • Obtain a master’s degree in library science for library positions.
  • Gain related experience on campus through student leadership opportunities such as Peer Mentors, Resident Assistants, or Orientation Leaders.

Area

Government

See also What Can I Do With This Major in Public Administration?

  • Social statistics
  • Program analysis
  • Demography

  • Public administration
  • Policy analysis
  • Research

  • Program development
  • Urban/City planning

Employers

  • State and local governments

Strategies

  • Earn a minor or supplement curriculum with coursework in statistics and social research.
  • Develop exceptional computer, communication, and research skills.
  • Gain practical experience through government internships, part-time jobs, or summer work.
  • Develop a specialty such as aging, family, criminal justice, or healthcare.
  • Seek leadership roles in relevant student groups.
  • Become involved in student government.
  • Participate in cross-cultural organizations. Interact with the international community on campus.
  • Maintain a strong grade point average.
  • Consider earning a graduate degree for advanced positions, e.g. public administration (MPA), public policy (MPP).
  • Research government agencies and identify federal job titles that are right for your combination of education and experience.
  • Become familiar with the government application process. Utilize applicable websites and seek assistance from campus career centers.
  • Consider beginning a career with the government by joining the military or Peace Corps. Such experiences can open doors to government positions.

Area

Social Science Research

  • Research
  • Data analysis
  • Policy or program analysis

  • Demographics
  • Market research

  • Information sourcing
  • Statistics

Employers

  • Federal government:
    • Bureau of Labor Statistics
    • Bureau of Justice Statistics
    • Bureau of Economic Analysis
    • Bureau of Transportation Statistics
    • National Center for Health Statistics
    • National Center for Education Statistics
    • U.S. Census Bureau
    • Center for Disease Control

  • Local and state government
  • Universities
  • Research institutes
  • Non-profit agencies
  • Private industries
  • Advertising and marketing firms

  • Consulting firms
  • Information brokers
  • Newspapers, magazines, news agencies
  • Public opinion research polls
  • Political campaigns
  • Polling firms

Strategies

  • Earn a minor or supplement curriculum with coursework in statistics, research methods, and/or analysis.
  • Develop exceptional quantitative, statistical, writing, and organizational skills.
  • Learn to use statistical software packages as well as database, spreadsheet, and presentation programs.
  • Volunteer to help a professor with a research project or complete original research through an independent study class.
  • Develop an area of expertise through relevant experience, coursework, or advanced degree.
  • Obtain an advanced degree in sociology for research administration positions.
  • Earn certification in applied social research by The American Sociological Association.
  • Network with professionals working in areas of interest.
  • Gain experience working on teams and communicating ideas with others from varying disciplines

Area

Business

  • Human resources
    • Training and development
    • Recruiting
  • Management

  • Sales
  • Marketing
  • Public relations

  • Office administration
  • Consulting
  • Market and consumer research

Employers

  • Insurance firms
  • Retail stores
  • Banks
  • Staffing agencies

  • Manufacturing companies
  • Service industries
  • Non-profit organizations

  • Healthcare organizations
  • Government
  • Education

Strategies

  • Supplement curriculum with appropriate coursework (accounting, finance, management, etc.) or earn a minor in business or communications.
  • Gain relevant experience through part-time jobs, summer work, and internships.
  • Learn to use software applications such as spreadsheets, databases, and presentations.
  • Hone written and oral communication skills.
  • Join related professional associations.
  • Seek leadership roles on campus.
  • Be willing to start in a management-trainee program or other entry-level positions.
  • When job searching, seek employers interested in hiring “any major.”
  • Understand the top skills employers desire and be prepared to demonstrate them, such as communication (oral and written), computer, interpersonal, leadership and teamwork, etc.

Area

Environmental Sociology

  • Land and Water Conservation
  • Planning
  • Law
  • Preserve Management
  • Natural Resource Management

  • Land Acquisition
  • Parks and Outdoor Recreation
  • Environmental Education
  • Advocacy/Lobbying
  • Administration and Management

  • Recreation Planning
  • Research
  • Site Operations and Maintenance
  • Ecotourism

Employers

  • Waste management firms
  • Health agencies
  • Local planning agencies
  • Environmental advocacy groups
  • Non-profit organizations
  • Local, state, and federal government agencies

  • National Park Service
  • State, county, or city parks
  • Consulting firms
  • Private industry
  • Media companies
  • Environmental periodicals

  • Resorts and marinas
  • Privately owned facilities
  • Tourism agencies
  • Land trust organizations such as The Nature Conservancy or Trust for Public Land

Strategies

  • Enhance curriculum with courses in ecology, environmental science, and statistics.
  • Earn a minor or concentration in environmental studies or issues.
  • Obtain a graduate degree in environmental sociology or environmental studies for advancement into administrative/supervisory positions.
  • Join environment-related student organizations.
  • Join professional associations and environmental groups as ways to network.
  • Volunteer to work on environmental clean-up projects with an organization such as Student Conservation Association (SCA).
  • Gain practical experience through a related internship, part-time, or summer job.
  • Obtain a law degree for environmental law.
  • Participate in travel and/or recreation programs.
  • Learn environmental laws and regulations.

General Information

  • Many transferable skills such as analytical, organizational, research, interpersonal, computer, leadership, teamwork, and oral/written communication are associated with the sociology degree.
  • Internships, part-time jobs, summer jobs, and/or volunteer experiences are critical to reaching career goals. Research fields of interests and gain the right skills, experiences, and advanced degrees (if necessary).
  • An undergraduate degree is sufficient for many entry-level positions in non-profit organizations, business, and government.
  • An bachelor’s in sociology prepares students for graduate or professional education in sociology, law, counseling, psychology, social work, medicine, education, college student personnel, higher education administration, planning, and other related fields. Research pre-requisites for graduate or professional programs of interest.
  • There are two main types of master’s degree programs in sociology including: traditional programs and programs with an applied, clinical, or professional track. Traditional programs are to prepare students to enter academia and a Ph.D. program. Applied, clinical, and professional programs are vocationally oriented and prepare students to enter the workforce by teaching job skills.
  • To enhance graduate or professional school opportunities, maintain a high grade point average, secure strong faculty recommendations, join student or professional organizations, and gain relevant experience outside of the classroom through work, internship, volunteer, and research opportunities.
  • Get involved with a population of interest (i.e., children, college students, elderly adults) and develop multicultural sensitivity and understanding.
  • Talk with professionals working in areas of interest and build a network of contacts.