Broadly, sociology is the study of societies, social relationships and culture. Because the field is so broad-ranging, a degree in sociology prepares you for a wide variety of jobs. These jobs range from ones where you work individually with people, like as a substance abuse counselor, or study broader cultural trends, like as a market research analyst. The study of sociology equips you with a variety of skills — for ideas on how to put these skills to use, we’ve collected a list of jobs for sociology majors where your degree can translate into a solid career, as well as advice on how to get there!
Skills for Sociology Majors
Just because your degree says "sociology" on it doesn't mean you're limited to one career path. There are a number of different transferable skills that you learn while pursuing your degree that can be applied to just about any job out there. Here are just a few:
- Interpersonal skills
- Data analysis
- Critical thinking
With skills like this, any employer would be lucky to have you!
Where to Begin Your Career After Getting a Sociology Degree
If you're trying to narrow down your career path choices, one helpful thing to consider is what kind of field appeals to you the most (such as corporate, social services, academia, legal, etc.).
If you're interested in a corporate career, the interpersonal skills you've developed will be especially helpful for positions within human resources, talent acquisition, sales or customer success. These positions require a great deal of empathy and communication, which a degree in sociology certainly helps you achieve. A career in social services, for example, would likely involve positions where your primary job is to help others, whether through therapy or social work. Academia could be a great option for those who love both teaching and researching. You may also be able to find work as a research assistant. Some sociology majors go on to pursue their law degree — folks with a background in both law and sociology may be attracted to legal fields like immigration, civil rights, family, environmental or labor law.
Here are a few more things to consider when you're thinking about where you want to kick off your career:
- What am I best at?
- Which tasks and skills do I enjoy the most?
- What fields appeal to me?
- Do I want to pursue a graduate degree?
- Would I rather work in the private sector or public sector?
- What sort of work environment appeals to me the most?
Some Quick Job Search Tips for Sociology Majors
Some pieces of job search advice are universal — double-check your resume, network with your peers, display a positive attitude — but there are some unique nuances for those who major in sociology. Here are a few of the tips you should keep in mind:
- Make Use of Your Available Resources: Once you graduate, you won't have easy access to your professors and college career center, so be sure to take advantage of them while you can! Because there are so many different career options for sociology majors, informational interviews and shadowing will be critical. Think of which classes you enjoyed the most, and reach out to the professors to see what career options are available for those interested in that field. You could also ask them where they think your strengths and weaknesses lie in order to get a more objective assessment of your skills. Make sure to reach out to counselors at your college career center for advice about possible career paths as well, and ask them if they can connect you with any alumni working in those fields to pursue further questions.
- Practice, Practice, Practice: As a sociology major, you will likely be held to higher standards for your communication skills than other majors — after all, you spent the last four years of your life studying human relationships, social interactions and behavior! If you're lucky enough to land an interview, make sure you rehearse aloud with a friend or family member beforehand. It will help you nail down what you want to say and get the jitters out, allowing you to be much warmer and more personable than if you were a ball of nerves.
- Flex Your Analytical Skills: Sociology gets a reputation as a soft science, but it's hard to find a program that doesn't require a class in statistics or research methodology. However, not all employers will know that. In an increasingly technical, metrics-driven world, data analysis is of the most important skills to have today, so make sure that you clearly highlight your data proficiency. List any tools or programming languages you've learned in your classes or internships, and bring up any data-heavy projects you've worked on in your work experience bullet points.
Continuing Education and Certifications
If you choose to work in social services, there is a good chance that additional degrees or certifications will be helpful (or even required) in your career of choice. To be a social worker, for example, you need to complete a two-year master's degree in social work and pass an exam. If you decide you want to work specifically in public health, you might choose to pursue a two-year master's in public health degree. And of course, to be a lawyer, you would need to have a J.D., which requires a three-year law degree and successful completion of the bar examination for the state you want to practice in.
If you choose to pursue counseling or therapy, there are several different certifications you could pursue, including:
- Psychologist (Psy. D. / Ph. D.): Requires a two-year master's degree in psychology followed by a doctoral program in psychology, two years of supervised experience (one before graduation, one after) and successful completion of a licensing exam.
- Licensed Psychological Associate (LPA): Requires a two-year master's degree in psychology, two years of post-graduation supervised experience and successful completion of a licensing exam.
- Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC): Requires a two-year master's degree in psychology, two years of post-graduation supervised experience and successful completion of a licensing exam.
- Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT): Requires a two-year master's degree in family therapy, two years of post-graduation supervised experience and successful completion of a licensing exam.
There are many different options for sociology majors interested in pursuing additional education, though — these are just a few!
Most Common Jobs for Sociology Majors
Want a few ideas of careers you should consider? Here are some of the most common positions for folks with sociology majors:
Entry-Level Sociology Major Jobs
Of course, you can't always start out with your dream job right off of the bat — you have to work your way up! Here are a few great options if you're looking for positions immediately after your undergraduate degree:
Sociology Major Internships
More and more employers expect college graduates to have already had one or more internships by the time they enter the workforce. If you're looking to bolster your resume (and gain valuable experience!) before you graduate, consider one of the following internships:
Need some help with the job search process? Check out these resources!