5 Places a Sociologist Can Work

Sociology is a field of scientific study that focuses on how social dynamics influence human behavior. Since sociologists have the ability to interpret and analyze human and cultural interactions in a variety of settings, people who earn a degree in sociology are highly valued by businesses, government agencies and social service organizations. While sociologists are present in many different fields and industries, job applicants are encouraged to explain how their unique skill set can benefit the employer during the interview process.

At its core, the study of sociology provides a student with advanced skills in the areas of communication, critical thinking and analysis. Sociologists are particularly well suited for careers that rely on investigative work and research that involves interaction with diverse groups of people with differing interests. The outlook for sociology-related jobs is robust with the Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting projected growth of 15 percent through 2022.


A career in education is a logical choice for many sociology majors. An undergraduate degree and qualifying teaching certificate can be used to teach high school courses including social science, history and political science. Some sociology majors enjoy working with outside organizations and traveling to different schools to present physical or mental health programs. Career counseling, alumni relations, fund raising and overseeing grant-funded programs are also suitable jobs for a skilled sociologist. Those with a PhD graduate degree may choose to pursue a career at the college or university level.

Criminal Justice

A sociology major’s skills are particularly applicable to the field of law enforcement. In particular, criminology is a discipline that explores the motivational aspects of crime so that policies and programs can be developed to reduce criminal activity and discourage repeat offenders. Sociology professionals have important roles within local, state and national investigative bureaus including the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Working in conjunction with profilers and detectives, sociologists play a critical role in helping law enforcement agencies identify nebulous criminal patterns so resources are deployed more effectively.


A sociology background can be an essential asset in a business environment. Public relations representatives and customer service specialists must make quick decisions regarding a client’s intentions, motivations and expectations. A degree in sociology will provide the student with mechanisms for determining how people react in specific situations and developing effective strategies for defusing conflicts with difficult people. This type of knowledge is especially useful for those in sales since it facilitates positive interpersonal relationships that are an essential component of the sales process. Managers and administrators can help improve the corporate culture by understanding the nature of group dynamics.


People with a sociology degree can assume a variety of different roles in the political community. By understanding electorate demographics and voting patterns, candidates can develop appealing policy positions on critical issues. Within political parties and government organizations, sociologists interpret patterns that affect a designated area’s economic and political balance. Perhaps most importantly, sociologists are intimately involved in managing the census process every 10 years. Far more than a numerical study, the census is used to identify our nation’s new and emerging trends.

Social Services

Agencies dedicated to providing social services deal with a broad range of individuals from different cultures, income levels and socio-economic backgrounds. A degree in sociology is helpful for caseworkers involved with mental health agencies, children’s advocate services and senior care services. Many sociologists find work as counselors for outreach programs, homeless shelters and hospitals. Using scenario planning models and other exercises, sociologists will play a critical role in predicting future cultural changes and economic opportunities as the general population ages and ultimately contracts.

In the modern economy, competent sociologists can pursue an almost limitless number of different career paths. While research and teaching remain the most prevalent avenues for employment, graduates are finding a wide range of opportunities in both government and industry. As the need for increasingly accurate profiles in human behavior continues to grow, the services of the trained sociologist will always be in high demand.