The Study of Human Behaviors

Sociology is the study of human behaviors, and as such, people with sociology degrees can find work in a range of fields that include the study of people, societies, ancient civilizations and human interactions. Sociologists gather and analyze data and conduct research projects aimed at better explaining how and why humans act as they do. Professional roles in sociology typically require a master’s degree or even a Ph.D., and continuing education is encouraged to ensure you stay abreast of evolving trends in this ever-changing field. Sociologists typically keep traditional business hours, which is a helpful plus for working mothers.

Job Descriptions

Sociologists may choose to study individual behaviors, group interactions or societal norms. They may opt for present-day research or prefer to delve into the history of human behavior to learn about the influences on thought and behaviors in the past in an attempt to try to predict what is to come in the future. Most sociology jobs involve the study of human beings and require exceptional interpersonal and research skills.

Sociologist: A sociologist may work in private practice or in a clinical setting, such as a research facility, hospital or medical center, or a psychology practice. The role of the sociologist varies based on work setting; for example, a sociologist employed by a marketing company to help identify changes in consumer trends may study buying patterns and consumer behaviors. A sociologist in a government setting may research voter demographics to make recommendations about potential political outlooks and voting trends.

  • Education: Master’s degree or Ph.D.
  • Median income: $79,750

Social worker: A social worker often collaborates with government or social service agencies to make determinations about the effects of certain behaviors on individuals, families and societies. Social workers may intervene in domestic cases in which potentially dangerous activities are taking place. Social workers often make recommendations to lawmakers and policymakers to help alleviate negative social behavioral patterns in a community or family.

  • Education: Bachelor’s or master’s degree
  • Median income: $46,890

Anthropologist: Anthropologists study societal behaviors to make determinations about collective thought processes, decision-making, idea formation, and individual and group behaviors that shape society. Anthropologists often conduct academic-based research as well as field research in the form of surveys, interviews and detailed observations. They go on to test theories and write reports. Findings are often utilized in academic settings.

  • Education: Bachelor’s or master’s degree
  • Median income: $63,190

Educator: An individual with an advanced degree in sociology can work as an educator at the post-secondary or collegiate level. Experienced sociologists may also find work as consultants, research leads, and as published authors. Sociology pros may focus on teaching related to any one of a number of sociology fields or focus strictly on research and published findings. Working parents may find it beneficial to be employed in a school system in which work hours coincide with their own kids' schedules.

  • Education: Master’s degree or Ph.D.
  • Median income: $75,430

Researcher: A sociological researcher may conduct a wide range of research. Research may take place in an academic, corporate or government setting and can include in-depth analysis of societal trends. Information gathered may be used by policymakers and legislators for crafting law; by educators for advancing teaching methodologies; for societies in adopting community standards; and in the health care community for assessing, diagnosing and treating issues related to societal dysfunction.

  • Education: Bachelor’s or master’s degree
  • Median income: $62,560

Job Growth Trend

Sociology is a popular field of study, and as such, it’s anticipated that job growth trends will remain static for the next decade. According to the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau, little change is anticipated in the number of sociology-related jobs in the coming decade. This can mean an increased degree of competition for these positions, in which case an advanced degree can give you an edge.

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