PhD Degree in Sociology: Jobs & Salary

A Ph.D. in Sociology sets students up to become professionals in their field and is the highest level of education available for Sociology. Read on to learn about popular careers related to a Ph.D. in Sociology, along with their average income rates.

Careers That Require a Ph.D. in Sociology

Human Resources Manager

With a Ph.D. in Sociology, students can take on a leadership position within a Human Resources department of any corporate environment. Human Resources Managers oversee the HR practices of the organization and the development of new policies. Through a Ph.D. in Sociology, students gain research experience, understand how people work together and have the capacity to take on a managerial position.

Sociology Professor

After getting a Ph.D. in Sociology, students have the potential to be considered a Sociologist and can teach in a research college or university setting. Sociology professors tend to continue sociology research while teaching part-time and providing students with background information on studies and theories. A Ph.D. in Sociology teaches social sciences, social intricacies and communication, all of which are valuable as a professor.

Corporate Research Analyst

A corporate research analyst is responsible for taking data and finding new or different ways to interpret, present or research data. Research analysts can work in a variety of industries, including government, financial, health care and marketing. Those who have a Ph.D. in Sociology are a good fit for this position, as they have strong research experience and can extrapolate meaning from a variety of studies and numerical data.


Criminology is a specific area of Sociology. Criminologists are responsible for analyzing crime patterns to understand why crimes are committed and how to stop them from happening. Criminologists can work with police forces, government organizations, or for private companies, and often start within a training position, with opportunities to become a manager in later years. A Ph.D. in Sociology is especially helpful for this career, as students will be proficient in understanding human behavior, interpreting data and research, and understanding prominent criminology theories.

Clinical Social Worker

A clinical social worker can work in a variety of environments, including hospitals, private clinics, and community outreach centers. Having a Ph.D. in Sociology is a strong asset. This degree provides students with critical thinking skills, an advanced understanding of human behavior and the ability to assess interventions.

Community Development Worker

Community development workers support communities in bettering themselves or rebuilding after facing conflict or a major social issue. Often, the communities they work in are disadvantaged, so community development workers provide citizens with new community programs and initiatives to improve daily life. Those who have received a Ph.D. in Sociology will excel in this role due to their past research in understanding how groups of people interact and thrive.

Social Scientist

Social scientists are responsible for initiating, conducting and analyzing research and studies related to human beings. They often work in the field, observing specific cultural groups or social phenomena to confirm a current theory or create new theories. An individual with a Ph.D. in Sociology will be able to apply their research skills, knowledge of past sociological theories and will have the communication skills required to share findings.

Probation Officer

Probation officers work not only to protect communities while offenders complete their sentences, but they also work to support offenders in finding housing, reliable employment and abstaining from activities that led to their incarceration. This career helps to relieve high prison populations and also provides offenders with the resources needed to avoid recidivism. With experience from a Ph.D. in Sociology, students can expect to excel in understanding human behavior, know how to implement programs to change human behavior and have a basic understanding of criminology from the course material.

Survey Researcher

Many graduates of sociology programs find employment a bit outside the field. For instance, sociology Ph.D. holders often end up working as survey researchers, applying their knowledge of human nature and their expertise in analysis to designing, conducting and analyzing surveys. Those who choose this route might work in a wide range of industries including nonprofits, government agencies, research firms, polling organizations and colleges and universities.

Job TitleAverage Annual Income (2018)*Expected Job Growth (2018-2028)*
Human Resources Managers$126,7005%
Sociology Professor$83,31011%
Corporate Research Analyst$70,96020%
Clinical Social Worker$58,47011%
Community Development Worker$46,05011%
Social Scientist$85,90010%
Probation Officer$58,7903%
Survey Researcher$57,7001%

*Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics