What Are Popular Careers in Sociology?

A sociology degree provides students with the ability to analyze and interpret the behavior of individuals and groups of people. Popular careers in sociology are varied, but fall into three main groups: practicing, teaching, and researching. Schools offering Sociology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.


Sociology can be applied in many different industries. The American Sociological Association (ASA, www.asanet.org) surveyed a group of sociology graduates from the class of 2005. Positions in counseling, psychology, and the social services accounted for more than 26% of the jobs. Remaining jobs include clerical and administration support, managers, teachers, and service work. Applied sociology can help employers decide who might work best together or understand certain human behaviors or reactions. Sample positions are:

  • Counselors: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), the median salary for school, vocational, and educational counselors was $53,370 in May 2014; behavioral disorder and substance abuse counselors, $39,270; mental health counselors, $40,850; rehabilitation counselors, $34,380; and family and marriage therapists, $48,040 in 2014.
  • Social service workers: Community and social service workers made a median yearly salary of $ 41,290 in May 2014, per the BLS.

Important Facts About Careers in Sociology

Job Outlook 15% growth for all careers in sociology between 2012 and 2022
Key Skills Writing, reading comprehension, critical and creative thinking, active listening, verbal communication
Required Education Field-specific jobs typically require masters degree or Ph.D.
Similar Occupations Psychologist, anthropologist, economist, statistician

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics


Sociology courses are frequently part of a university's liberal arts programs and can help convey a sense of social responsibility - which includes practical research, advancements, and applications - to students. Median annual salaries for these careers were as follows, according to data published by the BLS in May 2014:

  • Postsecondary sociology teachers: $67,880
  • High school teachers, including those specializing in sociology: $56,310
  • Librarian: $56,170

Sociological Research

Research drives sociology. Sociology degree programs include courses in research methods and statistics that provide insight into sociologists research responsibilities. Research is a critical component of sociology, as this data helps researchers test ideas concerning social issues. The BLS says that professionals in the field of sociology use a variety of methods to collect data, including surveys, interviews, and observations. Specific research careers with associated median yearly salaries as of 2014 are:

  • Sociologists: $72,810, according to the BLS
  • Market research analysts and marketing specialists: $61,290, according to the BLS

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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