Sociologist

Woman sociologist in navy purple shirt stands and smiles in front of a diverse group of fellow team members
Career Clusters: Human Services

What you need to know

Overview

Sociologists study society and social behavior by examining the groups, cultures, organizations, social institutions, and processes that develop when people interact and work together.

What is this career like?

Sociologists typically work in an office. They may work outside of an office setting when conducting research through interviews or observations or presenting research results.

Some of the things sociologists might do:

  • Design research projects to test theories about social issues
  • Collect data through surveys, observations, interviews, and other sources
  • Analyze and draw conclusions from data
  • Prepare reports, articles, or presentations detailing their research findings
  • Collaborate with and advise other social scientists, policymakers, or other groups on research findings and sociological issues
What skills are needed?
  • Analytical skills. Sociologists must be able to examine data and other information, often using statistical methods to test their theories.
  • Communication skills. Sociologists need strong communication skills when they conduct interviews, collaborate with colleagues, and write and present research results.
  • Critical-thinking skills. Sociologists design research projects and collect, process, and analyze information to draw logical conclusions about society and various groups of people.
What is the pay?

The average pay for sociologists in the United States ranges from $46,920 to $141,770 as of May 2019.

The specific pay depends on factors such as level of experience, education and training, geographic location, and specific industry.

What is the career outlook?

Employment of sociologists is projected to grow 9 percent from 2018 to 2028, faster than the average for all occupations.

Sociologists will continue to be needed to apply sociological research to other disciplines. For example, sociologists may collaborate with researchers in other social sciences, such as economists, psychologists, and survey researchers, to study how social structures or groups influence policy decisions about health, education, politics, criminal justice, business, or economics.

What education is required?

Sociologists typically need a master’s degree or Ph.D. There are two types of sociology master’s degree programs: traditional programs and applied, clinical, and professional programs.

Traditional programs prepare students to enter a Ph.D. program.

Applied, clinical, and professional programs prepare students to enter the workplace, teaching them the necessary analytical skills to perform sociological research in a professional setting.

Discover some of the courses you will take pursuing a degree in Sociology.