Careers in Sociology to Make Your Degree Pay for Itself

Published November 30, 2021
sociology degree advising employee at office

Sociology is a broad field of study with many practical applications in the world of work. When you earn a degree in sociology, you will develop expertise regarding the complex interconnection of people, institutions, and society as a whole. People with a sociology degree can excel in jobs that involve dealing with people and how they relate to one another, as well as societal factors like wealth, poverty, social issues, and the economy. Explore a few of the many careers in sociology.

Career Advisor

People often decide to study sociology because they want to help others. Their expertise for working with people and their ability to research and understand economic factors and institutions uniquely qualifies sociology majors to work as career advisors. Some work in college career services departments, while others work with vocational rehabilitation services or career training centers. These jobs involve helping students or consumers find gainful employment. The average pay for career advisors is around $44,000 per year.

College Admissions Officer

Helping college students find jobs isn't the only higher education career path appropriate for sociology graduates. Some work as college admissions officers, a role in which they are able to work with students who are thinking about going to college. They can help recent high school graduates and adults who are returning to school after being in the workforce make wise decisions about furthering their education. The average annual pay for college admissions officers is around $46,000 per year.

Social Worker

Many people who major in sociology do so because they want to work as social workers. This type of work involves helping people deal with challenging circumstances. Many organizations employ social workers. For example, child protection agencies hire social workers who help people facing custody issues or domestic violence. Healthcare organizations have social workers on staff to help patients cope with difficult medical situations. The average compensation for social workers is about $51,000 per year.

Probation/Parole Officer

Sociology majors learn about crime and criminal justice. That expertise, paired with a desire to help people, is a great background for working as a parole or probation officer. People in these jobs help to rehabilitate criminal offenders. Probation officers work with those who have been placed on probation rather than being sent to jail. Parole officers work with people who served time in jail after they are released on parole. The median pay for probation and parole officers is around $56,000 per year.

Detective/Criminal Investigator

Sociology students learn to meticulously gather and analyze data while also becoming educated about the nature of crime and deviant behavior. This combination of knowledge is why sociology is a great degree for someone who wants to be a detective or criminal investigator for a law enforcement agency. The average pay for police detectives is around $63,000 per year. An entrepreneurial sociology major can become a private investigator and start their own firm.

Data Analyst/Statistician

Sociology majors don't have to apply their analytical skills to solving crimes. Sociology majors who love analyzing data and looking for trends and outliers may be well-suited to work as professional statisticians. People who do this type of work are responsible for complex data analysis. Some do mathematical modeling. Many government agencies and think tanks employ statisticians, as do pharmaceutical companies and universities. The average pay for statisticians is around $97,000 per year.

Marketing Research Analysts

coworkers discussing market research results

Doing marketing research work involves data collection and analysis skills, as well as the ability to interpret the results in the context of what influences purchase decisions. Sociology majors are well-suited for all aspects of marketing research work, from designing and administering surveys and quantitatively analyzing the results, to facilitating focus groups to gather qualitative research to gain insights regarding consumer behavior. Marketing research analysts earn an average of $64,000 per year.

HR Specialist

Human resources (HR) specialists are responsible for establishing and managing the people processes within organizations. Sociology majors are very well-suited for this line of work, as they extensively study relationships between people as well as how they behave and interact within organizations and institutions. They have the people skills to effectively recruit, develop, and coach employees and the analytical skills to determine how the organization's investment in human capital impacts the bottom line. The average pay for HR specialists is around $61,000 per year.

DEI Manager

More and more companies are hiring diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) managers. These professionals are tasked with ensuring that the organization's work environment is both equitable and inclusive. They are responsible for leading initiatives to increase diversity, and for cultivating a strong culture defined by inclusion. Sociology majors know all too well the importance of DEI due to their training on how discrimination and inequality impact society. DEI Manager jobs often pay more than $80,000 per year.

Community Organizer

Sociology majors often choose their field of study because they're passionate about specific social issues, or social justice in general. People with a background in sociology and a passion for a cause often go to work for a nonprofit organization dedicated to that cause in a community organizer role. This type of job involves bringing people together to solve a problem or improve a challenging situation. Community organizers earn an average of around $46,000 per year.

Nonprofit Executive Director

After gaining experience as a community organizer or in another role with a nonprofit organization, individuals with sociology degrees sometimes move into an executive director role. In the nonprofit sector, executive directors are the highest level leader in a paid position. The executive director is responsible for overseeing day-to-day operations, finances, and services. Executive directors work closely with a volunteer board of directors. For mid-size nonprofit organizations, the median pay for executive directors is $75,000 per year.

Public Administrator

Some sociology majors go into the public sector rather than working for a charitable organization, grassroots community organization, or corporation. The field of public administration involves working in city, county, state, or federal government. Sociology majors often lead departments or oversee specific governmental programs, such as grants or urban planning. The average pay for public administration jobs is around $43,000 per year. Leadership-level roles typically pay quite a bit more.

Many Options for Sociology Graduates

The options listed above are just a few of the many types of jobs appropriate for people with a degree in sociology. If you're interested in sociology, don't hesitate to major in the field because you're concerned that your career path will be limited. Nothing could be further from the truth. Many career paths are open to individuals who study sociology in college.

Was this page useful?
Related & Popular
Careers in Sociology to Make Your Degree Pay for Itself