What does a sociologist do? Sociology is “the study of the development, structure, and functioning of human society” and a sociologists job may include:
- Study human behavior, interaction, and organization.
- Study the roles of religion, social, political, and economic and how they play into groups.
- Test theories and design projects focused on these.
- Use techniques like polls and surveys to collect information.
- Draw conclusions from the poll results and document them in case studies and reports.
Many sociologists are professors and teachers. They also find careers as statisticians, policy analysts, and survey researchers. A very closely related profession is political science.
As a sociologist, you can choose to specialize in areas like:
- Crime and poverty
- Gender, racial, and ethnic relations
Becoming a Sociologist
If you’re interested in becoming a sociologist, here are some important steps you’ll need to take and facts you’ll need to know.
- Get your high school diploma or GED.
- Receive your bachelor’s degree.
- Apply for an internship to gain work experience.
- From there, you’ll be able to find entry level work in social services, education, or another related field.
- Most jobs in the field of sociology require a master’s degree or a Ph.D.
- You’ll have to choose between a traditional master’s degree program or an applied, clinical, and professional program (which teaches more in a real world setting as opposed to a classroom).
Salary and Job Outlook
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2017, sociologists earned a median salary of just under $80K. Those in the top 10 percent banked more than $141K. The top-paying industries are research and development in the social sciences, state government (excluding hospitals), and organizations such as religious, civic, and professional.
There is no employment growth predicted for sociologists, with zero new positions becoming available through 2026. This wouldn’t be the best career to choose at this point in time. However, things change yearly, so keep an eye on it if becoming a sociologist is on your radar.