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Sociology: What Can I Do With This Degree?

Human Services

  • Counseling
  • Case management
  • Advocacy
  • Mental health services
  • Programming
  • Administration

Employers

  • Community service agencies
  • Advocacy groups
  • Federal, state, and local government
  • United Way agencies
  • Local branches of national nonprofit organizations
  • Religiously-affiliated service organizations
  • Private foundations
  • Adoption and child care agencies
  • Nursing homes and retirement communities
  • Hospitals and wellness centers
  • Halfway houses
  • Vocational services
  • Educational information services
  • Insurance companies

Information & Strategies

  • Gain experience and develop helping skills through volunteer positions.
  • Spend summers working at camps, YMCA's, or other social service agencies.
  • Gain experience working with diverse populations.
  • Develop excellent communication skills.
  • Concentrate coursework in an area of interest such as youth, gerontology, or poverty.
  • Learn a second language in order to interact with non-English speakers and increase marketability.
  • Serve as a peer mentor, resident assistant, or other student leader.
  • Earn a master's degree in social work, counseling, or other related field to increase employment opportunities.
  • Most states require licensure or certification for positions involving the direct provision of therapeutic services to clients.

Criminal Justice

  • Corrections
  • Rehabilitation
  • Law enforcement
  • Judiciary

Employers

  • Correctional institutions
  • Court systems
  • Federal, state, and local government (especially law enforcement agencies)

Information & Strategies

  • Gain practical experience via part-time or summer jobs, internships, or volunteer work.
  • Volunteer to work with troubled youth.
  • Obtain a graduate or law degree for advancement.
  • Consider obtaining experience in a branch of the military.

Education

  • Teaching
  • Research

Employers

  • Public and private schools
  • Colleges and universities
  • Adult education providers

Information & Strategies

  • Obtain certification/licensure to teach grades K-12.
  • Become certified to teach multiple subjects and age groups for increased job opportunities.
  • Earn a graduate degree for post-secondary teaching opportunities.
  • Assist a professor with research.
  • Take extra courses in research and statistics.
  • Develop exceptional written and oral communication skills.
  • Volunteer as a tutor.
  • Secure strong personal recommendations, particularly from professors.

Government

  • Social statistics
  • Demography
  • Public administration
  • Policy analysis
  • Research
  • Program development
  • Human services
  • City planning
  • Law enforcement

Employers

Federal departments and agencies such as:

  • Departments of Agriculture, Education, Interior, Commerce, Defense
  • Health and Human Services
  • Drug Enforcement Administration
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • Housing and Urban Development
  • Veteran's Administration
  • National Institutes of Health
  • National Institute of Aging

State and local government

Peace Corps

Information & Strategies

  • Supplement curriculum with coursework in statistics and social research.
  • Develop exceptional computer, communication, and research skills.
  • Gain work experience via government internships, part-time jobs, or summer work.
  • Develop a specialty such as aging, family, criminal justice, or healthcare.
  • Learn the federal job application process.
  • Obtain a graduate degree for advanced positions.
  • Consider beginning a career with the government by joining the military.

Social Science Research

  • Research
  • Data analysis
  • Demography
  • Market research
  • Information sourcing

Employers

  • Universities
  • Government agencies
  • Research institutes
  • Nonprofit agencies
  • Community organizations
  • Private industries
  • Advertising and marketing firms
  • Consulting organizations
  • Information brokers
  • Newspapers, magazines, news agencies
  • Public opinion research polls

Information & Strategies

  • Develop exceptional quantitative, statistical, and writing skills.
  • Learn to use statistics software packages as well as database, spreadsheet, and desktop publishing programs.
  • Volunteer to help a professor with a research project.
  • Obtain an advanced degree in sociology for research administration positions.
  • Earn certification in applied social research by the American Sociological Association.
  • Network with professionals working in areas of interest.
  • Gain experience working on teams.

Environment and Society

    Employers

    • Waste management firms
    • Health agencies
    • Local planning agencies
    • Environmental advocacy groups
    • Environmental periodicals
    • Federal government
    • Regional, state, and local agencies
    • Consulting firms
    • Private industry

    Information & Strategies

    • Enhance curriculum with courses in ecology, environmental science, and statistics.
    • Join environment-related student organizations.
    • Volunteer to work on environmental clean-up projects.
    • Find a related internship, part-time, or summer job.
    • Obtain a graduate degree for advancement.

    Business

    • Human resources: training and development, recruiting
    • Management
    • Sales
    • Marketing
    • Public relations
    • Office administration

    Employers

    • Insurance firms
    • Retail stores
    • Banks
    • Staffing agencies
    • Manufacturing companies
    • Service industries
    • Nonprofit organizations
    • Healthcare organizations

    Information & Strategies

    • Earn a minor in business or supplement curriculum with courses in general business, accounting, and finance.
    • Gain business experience through part-time jobs, summer work, and internships.
    • Develop excellent computer skills.
    • Learn to use software applications such as spreadsheets, databases, and word processing.
    • Hone written and oral communication skills.
    • Join related professional associations.
    • Seek leadership roles in student organizations.

    General Information

    • Many transferable skills such as analytical, organizational, research, interpersonal, computer, leadership, teamwork, and oral/written communication are associated with the sociology degree.
    • Internships, part-time jobs, summer jobs, and/or volunteer experiences are critical.
    • An undergraduate degree is sufficient for many entry-level positions in business, industry, and government; however, a graduate degree is likely to be more desirable in a competitive market.
    • An undergraduate degree in sociology is great preparation for graduate or professional education in sociology, law, counseling, psychology, social work, medicine, education, college student personnel, higher education administration, and other related fields. Research prerequisites for graduate or professional programs of interest.
    • To enhance graduate or professional school opportunities, maintain a high grade point average, secure strong faculty recommendations, join student or professional organizations, and gain relevant experience outside of the classroom through work, internship, volunteer, and research opportunities.
    • A PhD is required for teaching at the four-year university level.
    • For human or social service positions, gain experience with a population of interest (i.e., children, college students, elderly adults) and develop multicultural sensitivity and understanding.
    • Talk with professionals working in areas of interest.
    Download a PDF of this chart for easy printing.

    Next Steps

    Learn about North Park's sociology program.

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