Sociology encompasses the study of social behaviors and trends. This field looks at the way people interact with one another in groups to determine how those interactions apply to areas like crime, health and technology. While entry-level jobs are available for those with a bachelor’s degree in sociology, a higher-level degree is generally required for work in the academic realm or positions in research and management. In some cases, a Ph.D. is needed to achieve the desired job status.
A bachelor’s degree in sociology is an excellent stepping stone to graduate work. It can also be used to obtain entry-level positions in government or social service. It is a solid liberal arts base that can begin the path to medicine, law or education. A master’s degree or Ph.D. in sociology opens many more doors.
Graduates can work in research or teach at the university level. They may work in government or nonprofit agencies as consultants or managers. Some also become counselors, social workers or program directors.
It is difficult to pin a sociologist down to a single job description because there are so many opportunities open to those with a background in sociology. Most in this field are involved with the study of human behavior in one capacity or another. Sociologists are able to take on complex trends in society and break them down to determine why they occur. Most sociologists specialize in a particular area of sociology, including:
Sociologists might work in an academic setting or in a corporate office. They may do research in the field or in the laboratory. Some sociologists work for museums while others work for non-profit organizations. Many work for political or government agencies. This field is highly diverse with many opportunities to choose from.
The salary of a sociologist will vary based on the amount of education he or she has. Those with a bachelor’s degree will earn a lower average salary than those with a master’s degree or Ph.D. as a general rule. According to the U.S. Department of Labor and Statistics, the average salary for a sociologist in 2006 was $60,290. The average entry-level salary for those with a bachelor’s degree was as much as $35,572 in 2007, while the average for a graduate student was $43,731. Those with a Ph.D. had the highest starting salary at $52,912.