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What kind of careers can a degree in sociology lead to?

I like the topic of sociology and am interested in the well being of the community at large, but am unsure of how I might apply this degree. #sociology #political-science #nonprofits

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Kim’s Answer

Hi Hannah!


I majored in Sociology in 1984. From there I went straight into law enforcement, where I stayed for 25 years. I was very active in labor efforts, such as trying to improve working conditions, pay, professionalism, etc. This meant that I got involved in working on the dept's budget, met with city council representatives, created surveys, etc. I think all the research and writing I did in the course of getting the degree really helped in that regard.


Now, I work for a state workforce agency, helping people to find jobs. To be honest, having done it for 6 years, I'm getting a little bored. I have had several clients looking for jobs who have sociology degrees. Some are in marketing, some in business, some in banking, etc. To be honest, the business world still looks down on the Liberal Arts degrees. It will be up to you to sell yourself and explain how the degree is relevant. Once you are out of school for about 5 years, no one really cares all that much what your major was, so long as you have a degree.


I also do some freelance work for a Civil Rights attorney, which is enjoyable and challenging. Being constantly challenged to think and write in school, along with my background in law enforcement, help in this job. I could easily get a paralegal certificate and do this full time, but I choose to keep it as a hobby.


I see from your other questions that you are interested in non-profits. I would recommend a degree more geared towards business. It's important that you get a good understanding of money, accounting, fundraising, grant writing, public speaking, etc. You might also look at minors, perhaps in public administration, urban planning, or even international relations. If you are interested in sustainable agriculture, then a science background will be important. You could even consider a double major, which would take just a little longer than a single major.


Try to keep your options open, as long as you can, and do something to get some hands on exposure to those things that you think you want ot do.


best of luck!

Thank you comment icon Thank you so much for the thorough advice! Hilda
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Ollie’s Answer

May I offer some possibilities in addition to the other answers?


-- Parish ministry? (You'll need an M. Div. degree)
-- Hospital or community social work? (You'll need an MSW degree to advance)
-- School guidance counselor
-- Hospice work
-- Human resources (personnel) work for a nonprofit or a company.
-- Politics and government (Mayors and state representatives have constituent service staffs, you know)


I worked in parish ministry for a while, and encountered all sorts of great people in professions like these.


Those are just a few ideas. There are plenty of helping professions for which a sociology major is well-prepared. It's a good choice.

Thank you comment icon Thanks for the great list of ideas! I'll look into these :) Hilda
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deepak’s Answer

The 21st century labor market is fast-changing, increasingly global, and technology driven. The skills you need to succeed in the 21st century include: creativity, innovation, critical thinking, analytic problem-solving, communication, collaboration, multicultural and global understandings, and excellent written expression. Furthermore, 21st century careers take place in an increasingly diverse global society and being able to work effectively with people from different cultures, ethnicities and nationalities has become a basic work-place requirement.


The good news for sociology majors is that your studies are uniquely suited to help you develop the skills you need for a successful 21st century career. Sociologists study social life, social change, diverse communities and their interactions, and they use scientific methods to find empirical answers to complex social questions. Studying sociology can help foster your creativity, innovation, critical thinking, analytic problem solving and communication skills. As a graduate with a Sociology degree, you will have a foundation for better understanding and engaging with the globalizing world. You will be equipped with the tools needed to make sense of the shiftng social world and contribute solutions to difficult social problems.


Click this Link for more details on the same: http://sociology.ucdavis.edu/undergraduate-program/career-options

Thank you comment icon Thank you for the insight! Hilda
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Rachael’s Answer

Degrees in sociology can remain academic at a university, studying the impact of various factors on the community or more in the practical world. Being a social worker at a nonprofit, school, or for the government may start with a sociology degree. There are a lot of sub-areas of sociology, so I would do some research on the Internet and look for what sounds most interesting to you.

Thank you comment icon Okay, thanks so much! Hilda
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