Undergraduate Program - Careers
A BA in sociology is excellent preparation for future graduate work in sociology in order to become a professor, researcher or applied sociologist. The undergraduate degree provides strong preparation for entry level positions throughout business, social services, and government. Employees look for people with the skills that an undergraduate education in sociology provides. Sociology provides preparation for careers in journalism, politics, public relations, the justice system, business or public administration - fields that involve investigative skills and working with diverse groups. Many students choose sociology because they see it as a base for professions such as law, education, social work, and counseling. Sociology provides a rich source of knowledge for all of these areas.
The following information has been provided by the American Sociological Association.
Career options for aspiring sociology majors. It is common for those with sociology degrees to seek employment in one of the following areas or positions.
Administration: A professional with a degree in sociology is well prepared for administrative positions, particularly in government and public agencies that administer human services. Sociologists in leadership roles help define policies toward groups of people in need of public assistance. By leading teams of social work professionals, and researchers, sociologists can help reshape their communities.
Business: Sociologists research consumer trends and work with market researchers to discover opportunities to meet the public's needs. Corporations hire sociologists to impact the social effects of major projects like plant relocations or store openings. Sociologists also help product designers understand the overall trends shaping consumer culture in order to inspire tomorrow's hot new products. Jobs such as advertising staffer, sales representative, market analyst, insurance agent, communications, medical records worker, and computer analyst.
Corrections: As the prison population in our country continues to expand, many local governments hire sociologists to understand the impact of tougher laws on neighborhoods. Sociologists also help corrections officials determine the effects of new programs and regulations on the prison population. Jobs such as corrections officer, corrections staffer, juvenile court worker, police officer, special agent or correctional counselor.
Counseling: Counselors and therapists study sociology in order to better understand some of the larger trends they see among patients. By using the kinds of pattern analysis techniques that sociologists are known for, counselors can focus their practices on critical needs in their communities. Jobs such as public health supervisor, public assistance worker, corrections counselor, rehabilitation agencies, computer analyst, or data analyst.
Education: A person with a sociology degree may choose to pursue a career in education. A bachelor's degree and a teaching certificate are adequate for teaching classes such as political science, history, and social science at the high school level.
Investigations: Sociology professionals play larger roles at major investigative bureaus, especially the Federal Bureau of Investigations. Working with detectives and profilers, sociologists help law enforcement officials anticipate crime by identifying obscure patterns. Targeting areas that are likely to be the focus of criminals allows officials to deploy scarce resources more effectively. Therefore, investigators can close cases quickly. Jobs in the FBI, CIA, Homeland Security, computer analyst or data analyst.
Journalism: Sociology majors with a proven ability to communicate may find a home for their talents in a variety of news gathering organizations. Newspapers and local broadcast news outlets employ sociologists to help understand the kinds of stories that engage readers, viewers, and listeners in a particular region. Sociologists work with editors and market researchers to identify the right balance of news that audience members expect with the stories that need to be reported to uphold civic responsibilities.
Politics: People with a sociology degree can play numerous roles in the political community. Campaign managers hire sociologists who can identify critical neighborhoods that can make or break an election. By understanding the traditional voting patterns along with the critical issues that concern voters, campaigners can deploy volunteers and activists to win over voters.
At numerous government organizations, sociologists analyze patterns that can affect the political and economic balance of the country. Examining trends in housing construction, and measuring the number of citizens who move to new cities provide lawmakers with a clear picture of the challenges facing America today.
Sociologists manage the process of counting citizens in our census program every ten years. Instead of merely counting individuals sociologists use the opportunity to conduct deeper interviews that reveal larger trends when compared to past results.
Research: Some sociology professionals can carve out careers as independent research consultants who examine trends in human behavior for a variety of clients.
Senior Services: Over the next few decades, the U.S. will experience an explosion in the number of Americans over the age of sixty-five. Numerous outreach organizations and government agencies are hiring sociologists to study the effects of an aging population on our culture. Many researchers hope to anticipate the results of the coming contraction of population as baby boomers die off.
Youth Services: Our society places more value on the lives of children than at any point in our nation's history. A variety of government agencies and nonprofit institutions monitor the impact of policies and parental habits on today's young people. Sociologists examine the challenges young people face when interacting with people of other generations. They also examine the significant cultural shifts driven by young people's tastes in popular culture.
Job prospects look very good for those with a sociology degree.
Although graduates with a sociology major find jobs in a wide variety of fields, the following are among the most common:
- Private and government research
- Business and marketing
- Social service, including counseling, parole offices, probation services, corrections, police
- Rehabilitation agencies
- Religious organizations