General Sociology

If you enjoy learning about human behavior and would like to help others make better life decisions, a degree program in sociology may be right for you. Continue reading to learn more about the education and career options, earnings and professional activities of sociologists.

Is General Sociology for Me?

Career Overview

In the field of general sociology, you can examine human behavior, social phenomena and social change. As a sociologist, you'll research people's activities and the groups they form in social, religious, economic and political spheres. You might design research projects that utilize comparative analysis, observation techniques and quantitative data collection. The results of these studies are used to help explain social trends, assist educators and lawmakers, aid in the formation of public policy and enable people to make better decisions.

Career Options

Due to the investigative and analytical skills you'll gain as a sociology major, you can compete for jobs across a wide range of industries. Examples include public relations, social services, journalism and politics. With a bachelor's degree, you might find entry-level work as a criminologist, public administrator, youth worker or research assistant. In addition, a bachelor's degree program can prepare you for the pursuit of a higher degree in law, health and medicine, social work, business, education or counseling.

With at least a master's degree, you may become a sociologist. You can pursue a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) if you wish to be a college professor or work in research. Many sociologists specialize in either applied or theoretical research (www.bls.gov). Individuals trained in general sociology can also become public school teachers, with the appropriate teacher education and licensure.

Employment and Salary Information

According to the BLS, employment for sociologists was predicted to grow faster than the average for all occupations between 2012 and 2022, at 15%. In addition, the BLS reported that as of May 2013, sociologists earned a median annual salary of $72,430 (www.bls.gov). During that time, the median salary for social science research assistants was $38,310.

How Can I Become a Sociologist?

Educational Options

Depending on your career goals, you may wish to obtain a bachelor's degree in sociology with a concentration in a specific area, such as society and law or social inequalities. A master's degree program in sociology could provide you with the needed skills for an entry-level sociologist position. A master's degree program may also serve as preparation for a Ph.D. program in sociology, in which you can acquire advanced skills in theoretical analysis and research methodology.

Curriculum

In general sociology courses, you can expect to study such diverse areas as the sociology of race, class and gender relations, as well as the sociology of HIV/AIDS. You could learn about war, peace, social conflict, aging and death. You'll also become familiar with common sociological theory and statistical methods.

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