What to Do With a Degree in Sociology

Alternative Careers

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Sociology is a social science that focuses on the study of groups of human beings. It looks at the development of social groups, their structures and the interactions within and among them. Does this sound interesting? If so you should consider choosing sociology as your college major. Some who do, continue their studies in this area and eventually earn a master's degree or a PhD. They can then go on to work as sociologists or become academics.

Many undergraduate sociology majors leave this field entirely to pursue other careers in which they can use the skills they attained while earning their degrees. These skills include the ability to do research and data analysis, communicate well and think critically. Here are some of your options.

Human Resources Specialist

Human resources specialists deal with personnel matters within organizations. They recruit, hire and retain workers. This occupation utilizes a sociology major's knowledge of group structures and interactions to solve workplace problems such as disputes between employees. Your background will also come in handy when determining whether a job candidate will fit in with the current staff. Harmony in the workplace is a valuable commodity and anyone who can help facilitate that is valued as well.

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Writer or Editor

Writers create material for print and online media.

Editors select the material to be published as well as give guidance to writers. As a sociology major you had to do quite a bit of research as well as write papers. By the time you complete your degree you will be a pro at doing research and explaining complex concepts in writing. These skills will be an asset to you in this occupation.

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Manager

Managers direct employees' work activities. They delegate tasks, resolve problems among staff members, give constructive criticism and reprimand workers who are performing poorly. Your understanding of group structure and interactions will serve you well in this capacity. In addition, the strong communication and critical thinking skills you attained while preparing for your degree will also make you a strong manager.

 

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Insurance Agent

Insurance agents sell insurance policies to individuals and businesses. They help their clients find suitable policies based on their needs and what they can afford. Your ability to communicate well will help you do your job. While you don't need to have a degree in a specific subject to work as an insurance agent, you will have to become licensed by the state in which you plan to work. You will need separate licenses to sell different types of insurance, for example, life, health and property and casualty. This may require, depending on the state, some formal training.

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Market Research Analyst

Market research analysts, working on behalf of companies, design surveys to determine the preferences of potential customers.

They help their employers decide what products and services to sell and where and at what price to sell them. As a sociology major you can call upon your research and analytical skills, as well as your knowledge about social groups. Your strong communications skills will also help you explain your findings to your employer.

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Statistician

Using mathematical techniques, statisticians analyze data and then draw conclusions based on their findings. They must be strong critical thinkers who also have excellent written and oral communication skills and are adept at data analysis. As a sociology major, these are areas in which you excel. To be a statistician, however, you also need a strong background in math. If this career path appeals to you, consider a double major or a minor in mathematics or statistics.

Coursework in computer science will also be helpful. A master's degree in statistics will make you a more competitive job candidate.

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Special Agent

Special agents, who are also known as detectives and criminal investigators, determine whether people have violated laws. To do this they gather and analyze evidence and facts. Your strong communication skills will help you do your job as will your understanding of human beings and how they function as part of society. Special agents often begin their careers as police officers. While a college degree isn't required for entry-level positions, one often needs at least some undergraduate coursework, if not a bachelor's degree, in order to work himself or herself up the ranks to special agent.

 

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College Admissions Counselor

College admissions counselors recruit applicants and then determine whether they should be admitted. They prepare promotional materials about the schools they represent and then use it to make presentations at high schools, college fairs and other programs. They must have good communication and critical thinking skills as those with a degree in sociology typically do.

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Health Educator

Health educators teach people how to stay or get healthy. They work with students as well as adults in schools and health care facilities. Your skills as a communicator and the time you spent studying people will help you do well in this job, but you will also need to learn about public health. You can do that by earning a master's degree in community, public or school health education.

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Health Services Manager

Health services managers coordinate the delivery of services in health care facilities or in individual departments of those facilities. Their work includes creating schedules, managing finances and communicating with staff members. As a sociology major you will have some of the basic skills you need to do this job, for example, strong critical thinking and communication skills, but you will need to become knowledgeable about health administration. You can minor or double major in this subject in college. You might also consider earning a master's degree in health, public or business administration to make yourself more marketable.

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