Sociology Careers

portrait of Christina Payne
by Christina Payne

Updated August 31, 2022

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The field of sociology is devoted to studying the development and structure of human society and social behavior. Sociology students explore patterns of social interaction, the importance of culture, and how society impacts human behavior.

This guide includes information about the projected salary outlook for potential careers in sociology and helpful resources for students and professionals looking to advance in the field.

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A woman in a floral blouse and jeans and holding a tablet in one hand leads a discussion group in a classroom setting.

Why Pursue a Degree in Sociology?

Careers for a sociology major usually attract people interested in how society impacts and changes human behavior. Sociology professionals typically work indoors, conducting research and analyzing data. Some sociologists go out into the field to conduct surveys or interviews to support their research.

Many sociologists use their skills in careers like marketing or politics. Sociology graduates understand human behavior and how people respond to certain messages or policies. Sociology students should enjoy analytical and critical thinking, complex problem-solving, and research projects.

Frequently Asked Questions About Sociologist Career Paths

Is sociology a good degree?

Earning a sociology degree can lead to many different careers. These programs teach skills like critical and analytical thinking and oral and written communication. Graduates can find jobs as sociologists and teachers. They can also pursue work in marketing or other business fields.

What does a sociologist do?

Sociologists study the social behavior of individuals, groups, and communities through research and observation. These professionals may conduct surveys and interviews to better understand how people respond to societal pressures. Sociologists analyze the data they collect and produce reports and articles about their findings.

What are the fields in sociology?

Sociology majors may be able to choose from several different concentrations while earning their degree, including aging and the lifecycle; race studies; health, education, and welfare; and children, youth, and families. These concentrations allow students to focus their studies on topics of interest and prepare for their future careers.

What is the highest-paying job with a sociology degree?

According to the BLS, political scientist is one of the highest-paying positions that graduates can pursue with a sociology degree; these workers earn a median annual salary of $122,220. Additionally, economists and sociologists earn median annual salaries of $105,020 and $83,420, respectively.

Readers should note that all three of these careers require at least a master's degree.

Sociologist Career Outlook

The outlook for careers with a sociology degree differs depending on a worker's specific job title and location. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 4% job growth for sociologists between 2019 and 2029.

The BLS also projects 6% job growth for political scientists and 9% job growth for professors during that same time period. Sociology graduates can become HR and PR specialists, political scientists, and professors, although some of these roles may require additional education.

The following table explores the salary outlook for potential sociology careers. These numbers show how a worker's income tends to increase as they gain experience.

Median Annual Salary for Sociology Careers
Job Title Entry-Level
(0-12 months)
Early Career
(1-4 Years)
Midcareer
(5-9 Years)
Experienced
(10-19 Years)
Data Analyst $55,360 $60,190 $68,090 $70,730
Human Resources Specialist $44,690 $49,510 $54,460 $57,380
Nonprofit Program Coordinator $39,450 $41,930 $45,950 $47,520
Public Relations Specialist $40,280 $45,830 $58,440 $61,190

Source: PayScale

Skills Gained With a Sociology Degree

Sociology programs prepare students to succeed in their future careers. For example, by writing essays, students hone communication, research, and analysis skills. The five skills below represent common competencies developed during sociology programs.

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