Career outlook

A degree in sociology

Sociology is the study of society and social relationships and is an excellent major for anyone interested in social issues or the dynamics of social interaction. Training in sociology allows students to look beyond individuals and consider and analyze how social and historical forces shape human interactions.

Sociology is a very broad field; students can study topics such as race and ethnicity, health, gender, international development, the economy, politics, labor, sexuality, and religion. Sociology is relevant for any career that involves social interactions.

Some majors plan to become professional sociologists; however, many also look for sociology-related jobs in fields such as: criminal justice, health care, non-profit work, community organizing, social justice work, business or marketing, social services, education, and government or politics. The major also provides an excellent foundation for those that are interested in entering professional or graduate school programs.

Transferable skills

  • Understanding human relationships
  • Recognizing social processes and patterns
  • Understanding privilege, prejudice, and discrimination
  • Evaluating ideas, theory, and evidence across diverse topical areas
  • Conducting social analysis using quantitative or qualitative methods
  • Identifying cultural and social considerations
  • Articulating and defending a position
  • Planning and designing projects
  • Critical thinking

Some careers in sociology

Career Median salary Market growth
Education Administrators, Post-Secondary* $90,410 Average
Educational, School, and Vocational Counselor* $54,130 Average 
Social Science Research Assistants $38,570 Average
Sociology Instructors, Post-Secondary* $69,230 Above average
Teaching, Elementary* $54,890  Average
Teaching, Secondary* $57,200  Average
Statistician* $80,110  Above average
Child, Family, and School Case Workers $42,350  Average
Community Services Specialist $41,890  Average
Hospital Administrator* $94,500  Above average
Social Worker* $42,350 Average 
Public Relations Specialist $56,770  Average
Marketing Specialist $85,240  Below average
Training and Development Specialist $58,210  Average
Human Resources Manager $104,440  Above average

*Some positions require advanced degrees. 
Source: O*NET Online, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment & Training Administration

Graduate study

This degree also provides a solid foundation for graduate study in:

  • Sociology
  • Social work  
  • Education law
  • Psychology/counseling
  • Business/management
  • Public policy/affairs

Notable people with a sociology major

  • Wellington Webb (mayor of Denver)
  • Brett Schundler (mayor of Jersey City)
  • Annette Strauss (former mayor of Dallas)
  • Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (civil rights activist, minister)
  • Roy Wilkins (former head of NAACP)
  • Reverend Jesse Jackson (civil rights activist)
  • Reverend Ralph Abernathy (civil rights activist, pastor)
  • Shirley Chisholm (former congresswoman from New York, first African American woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives)
  • Maxine Waters (congresswoman from Los Angeles)
  • Barbara Mikulski (U.S. senator from Maryland)
  • Tim Holden (congressman from Pennsylvania)
  • Emily Balch (1946 Nobel Peace Prize winner, social worker, social reformer)
  • Francis Perkins (social reformer, former Secretary of Labor)
  • Richard Barajas (Chief Justice, Texas Supreme Court)
  • Christopher Connor (Sherwin Williams CEO)