Top Jobs for Sociology Majors

Career Options for Sociology Majors

There are many career options for sociology majors to pursue. Getty Images / Buero Monaco

If you are intrigued by how and why people interact as they do with others, then maybe sociology is the major for you.  Sociology majors learn to think critically about social issues, social problems and social phenomenon.  

The discipline is very broad so everything in the social realm is open for study including family, marriage, deviance, criminology, group interaction, gender roles, human sexuality, work roles, public policy, aging, social inequality, attitude development, affiliation and much more.

Core Competencies

Sociology majors learn to conduct research about the social world. They gather and analyze data using both qualitative research methods and statistical tools.  

Students who major in sociology write reports to convey research findings and present their perspective on social issues.  They learn to think globally about issues as well as to attend to details.  Sociology majors refine presentation skills by sharing findings with faculty and peers.

Sociology majors are taught to identify problems which exist in the world around them. They apply problem solving skills to these social dilemmas and exercise their creative abilities to find remedies. Sociology majors learn to take a position on an issue and construct a rationale to support their perspective.    

Top 10 Jobs for Sociology Majors

Given the wide range of topics covered in the discipline and the wide applicability of the knowledge and skills which sociology majors learn, there are a plethora of possible career options for them to pursue.

 To choose the best possible career, you will need to consider your other skills, interests and values as well as the sociology major.  Here are some common job possibilities to explore as you think of ways to apply the sociology major to the work world.

Policy Analysts research issues which affect the public and recommend legislation and governmental intervention to address those problems.

 Knowledge of sociology helps analysts to assess the impact of legislation on social problems and various populations.

Sociology majors have the conceptual foundation to analyze issues like welfare, poverty, substance abuse, job training, education, healthcare and gay marriage.  Policy analysts, like sociology majors, rely on strong writing skills to represent the findings of their research and convince legislators and the public of the viability of their recommendations.

Lawyers use critical thinking and analytical skills to research and litigate their cases.  Many areas of legal practice such as divorce, child custody, adoption, criminal law, personal injury, workers compensation, and employment law benefit from the knowledge of sociological principles.

Lawyers draw on research and writing skills to carry out their work. They must gather facts and evidence to support a thesis just as sociology majors do with their position papers. Lawyers must present their findings in a compelling manner in order to convince a judge, jury or opposing attorney of their position.

Management Consultants analyze business issues, research possible remedies or enhancements, and present solutions to clients.

 New college graduates often start out in positions like research analyst, research assistant or junior consultant where they support the work of more senior staff.

Sociology majors develop the qualitative and quantitative research skills to gain an understanding of a business or organizational problem.  Their problem solving skills help them to generate viable solutions to these issues.  Writing and public speaking skills are also critical when constructing reports and presenting analyses and solutions to clients.

Media Planners assess the advertising needs of clients and design a media plan to optimize sales to various demographic groups.  Like sociology majors they must be able to interpret research and analyze the viewing preferences of their target population.

Media Planners are aided by sociological knowledge as they learn the characteristics of various viewer/reader groups in order to select the best possible media to advertise their product/service.  They must consider the dynamics of how programs are viewed in order to place their ads at appropriate points within the program, given the nature of their product or service.

Social Workers apply the knowledge of social dynamics and social institutions learned as a sociology major to assess client issues and intervene to resolve problems.  They make referrals to appropriate community agencies to leverage resources on behalf of individuals and families.

Active listening and verbal communication skills are essential to assessing problems and advising clients about ways to improve their lives.  The intense curiosity about social phenomenon and propensity for ongoing learning of sociology majors help them to stay current with strategies for social work interventions.

Survey Researchers/Pollsters measure attitudes and opinions in realms familiar to the sociology major like social and political issues, health, culture and consumer products/services. They carefully compose survey questions to elicit clear answers. Survey researchers use the data collection and statistical analysis techniques which sociology majors learn. They write and present reports to share their findings with clients.

Survey researchers tap knowledge of groups and sub-cultures as they assess the opinions of targeted demographics. They must be curious about social phenomenon in order to conduct background research about survey topics.

Human Resources (HR) Representatives need to have finesse with people and interact effectively with a broad range of individuals and groups. They must be able to analyze work roles and assess the suitability of candidates for jobs. Interviewing skills learned by sociology majors are essential for this evaluation.

HR staff utilize problem solving skills to mediate conflicts and resolve personnel issues. They tap assessment skills to evaluate personnel initiatives and programs. HR representatives use analytical and decision making skills to evaluate alternative structures for employee benefits.

Public Relations Specialists need to be the ultimate communicators. As such, they must have the sociology major's ability to understand an audience and its attitudes, needs and preferences.  Writing skills are critical for crafting high impact press releases.

Public Relations staff must have the interpersonal skills to court the media and convince them to cover stories about their client or organization. They need to convey proposals clearly to staff and clients and engender support and consent for their campaign ideas.

Market Research Analysts test products and services and evaluate the effectiveness of marketing campaigns. They utilize social science research techniques including interviews, surveys and focus groups to gather data. Market researchers employ statistical methods mastered by sociology majors to analyze data.

Market researchers often track preferences for specific consumer groups and the sociologist’s knowledge of gender, youth, aging, race, ethnicity and social class help to inform these assessments.

An understanding of group process and advanced communication skills help sociology majors to facilitate focus group interactions and conduct interviews with consumers.

Guidance Counselors tap knowledge of the sociology of learning to help students to successfully navigate the academic world.  They work with families to devise strategies to support the achievement of their students.  Guidance counselors utilize interview and counseling techniques to help students to uncover personally meaningful academic and career choices.

Guidance counselors use problem solving skills to mediate conflicts and resolve social problems within schools.  They facilitate group sessions and instruct students about social issues like bullying, substance abuse and safe sex.

Sociology Major Skills
Here's a list of the skills that employers seek when hiring sociology majors. Skills vary by job, so also review these skills lists for a variety of different occupations.

Highlight the skills you acquired during your studies, internships and jobs held during college in your cover letters, resume and job applications.

A - C

  • Active listening
  • Administering Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Analytical
  • Analyzing Social Problems
  • Analyzing Work Roles
  • Applying Ethical Standards to Research
  • Applying Principles of Group Process 
  • Applying Theories to Real World Situations
  • Appreciating Individual Differences
  • Assessing Demographic Trends
  • Caring
  • Coding Data
  • Communicating with Diverse Populations
  • Comparing and Contrasting Methodological Approaches to Gathering Data
  • Conducting Field Observations
  • Conducting Interviews
  • Constructing Research Models
  • Constructing Valid Arguments
  • Conveying Sociological Concepts 
  • Creating Charts and Graphs
  • Creativity
  • Critical Thinking

D -  I

  • Detail Orientation
  • Developing Public Policy Recommendations Based on Sociological Trends and Data
  • Devising Surveys Regarding Social Phenomenon
  • Discerning Recurring Patterns
  • Displaying Knowledge of the Impact of Social Institutions  
  • Empathy
  • Evaluating the Reliability and Validity of Research Findings
  • Explaining Complex Concepts
  • Facilitating Focus Group Activities
  • Facilitating Group Discussions
  • Gathering Information from Multiple Sources
  • Identifying in Particular Methodological Approaches to an Issue
  • Identifying Patterns of Deviant Behavior
  • Identifying Signs of Conflict
  • Identifying Underlying Assumptions in Particular Theoretical Orientations or Arguments
  • Independence
  • Interpersonal
  • Interpreting Data

L- P

  • Leadership
  • Leading Meetings
  • Logical Reasoning
  • Managing Stress
  • Marketing
  • Mediating Disagreements
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Motivating Others
  • Note Taking
  • Organizational
  • Performing Descriptive Statistical Tests Such as Mean, Median and Mode
  • Performing Multiple Linear Regression Analyses
  • Performing Two Way Correlations
  • Persistence
  • Persuasive Communication
  • Planning Projects
  • PowerPoint
  • Pragmatism
  • Predicting Outcomes
  • Presentation
  • Prioritizing
  • Problem Solving
  • Producing Bivariate Tables with Chi-square Tests of Significance

R - Z

  • R (a Stat Package)
  • Reading Complex Material
  • Research
  • Resolving Conflicts
  • SAS
  • Self Awareness
  • Social Perceptiveness
  • SPSS
  • Structuring Focus Groups
  • Study
  • Summarizing Basic Questions in a Sub-Area of Sociology
  • Systematically Observing Social Phenomenon
  • Systematizing
  • Teamwork
  • Testing Hypotheses
  • Time Management
  • Understanding an Audience
  • Understanding Cultural Differences
  • Verbal Communication
  • Viewing Issues from Diverse Angles
  • Writing Research Proposals
  • Writing Concisely
  • Writing Essays
  • Writing Precisely

More Career Options
Information on the best jobs for college students and graduates in a variety of career fields.

Related Articles: How to Connect Your Major to a Careerr