Using Your Sociology Degree
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Most sociology jobs are available only to those who have a master’s degree or PhD, and competition for jobs is high. The path to becoming a sociologist takes many years, so you should consult with faculty members and professional sociologists for advice on how to jump-start your career and secure relevant jobs. If you don’t plan to work in academia, you will need to cultivate other skills in order to become more marketable.
Get Ready to Market Your Sociology Skills
The skills you develop in your sociology studies can transfer to a wide range of other fields. If you choose to seek work in other fields immediately after finishing a sociology degree, you should emphasize the transferable skills you have developed, such as:
- Knowledge of research methodology
- Formulation of research projects
- Written and verbal communication
- Ability to manage and coordinate long-term projects
- Statistical and analytical skills
- Ability to notice trends in behavior
- Understanding of group behavior
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), sociology graduates often pursue employment in the following fields:
Make Sure You Meet Licensing Requirements
Although not all sociological professions require licenses, those who want to use their degree to teach social science classes need to meet the licensure requirements of their state department of education. These licensing requirements typically include the completion of a bachelor’s degree as well as a teacher preparation program, with other criteria varying from state to state. Teaching licenses do not always carry over from state to state, though many are part of reciprocity agreements, so be proactive and contact the local education department for more information.
Complete an Internship
Internships are not required in most sociology programs, but they are strongly recommended if you pursue a bachelor’s degree, as they help you stand out from other liberal arts majors, with whom you can expect to compete for job openings. Search specifically for relevant internships under the mentorship of field professionals, as you can develop skills like research design that will help you use your sociology knowledge in practical settings. Those who want to use their sociology degree to teach will need to obtain practical experience by completing a student teaching program.
Set Your Sights on Graduate School
Because most sociology jobs are only available to students who have completed a graduate degree, you should count on attending graduate school to land a job in the field. Graduate school can also provide additional opportunities to conduct sociological research, collaborate on potentially publishable sociology papers, and improve your resumé.
Apply to Jobs Using these Resources
Explore all potential sources for sociology jobs, including general job sites, professional sociology association sites, government job boards, and teaching sites.
Professional Association Sites
Explore these sites, which provide job listings for sociology graduates.
American Sociological Association – The American Sociological Association provides a job bank, information on sociology careers and career resources for any sociology student or professional.
The SocioWeb – The SocioWeb provides a newsletter as well as a career search tool for sociology jobs all around the world, including social work and teaching jobs.
International Sociological Association – Graduate students interested in becoming professors can consult the ISA job postings, which focus on faculty positions at top universities.
Many sociologists choose to work for government organizations and use government job boards to find the best available positions.
USAJOBS– USAJOBS lists available positions at all levels of government across the United States, including sociological statistics jobs and foreign affairs work.
United States Department of Labor– Though not a job site in and of itself, this site provides links to state labor offices and other government job boards.
These sites are a good resource for students who want to use their sociology degrees to teach social sciences and sociology at a variety of levels.
Teachers-Teachers.com – Teachers-Teachers.com provides teacher job openings at all levels nationwide and in many different fields, including sociology and other social sciences.
SchoolSpring – SchoolSpring is a top site for those looking for teaching jobs ranging from preschool to post-secondary schools, and allows students to search by subject as well as grade level.
General Job Sites
These sites have listings for a wide range of jobs and are a good starting point for students looking to use their degree even outside of the sociology field.
CareerBuilder.com – CareerBuilder lists jobs in almost every field, with most of its jobs for sociology graduates targeted at those interested in being instructors or marketing professionals.
Indeed – Indeed has millions of job listings, as well as a tool that allows you to post your resumé online for potential employers to examine.
Monster.com – Whether you are interested in teaching jobs, sociology research work, or other ways of using your degree, you can find a broad spectrum of openings here.
SimplyHired – With several million job openings listed, SimplyHired is a good starting point for any sociology graduate looking for an entry-level job.