Interested in a sociology degree but not sure where it could lead? Here are some career paths that may surprise you.
Why does one community turn to its church in times of crisis, while another riots in the street? Why are some women less likely than others to get a mammogram? What influences certain employees to join a union? How does fast food change the family dynamic? What is the root cause of social unrest?
Since the 1800s, sociologists have been studying the interactions and behaviors of people in groups – from married couples and small friendship circles to major corporations and ethnic groups. Their subject matter is diverse, ranging from crime and religion to the family, the state and divisions of race and social class.
That’s good news if you’re considering an online degree in sociology.
A versatile degree program
Graduates can put their unique expertise to work in many different types of sociology careers. Dr. Janis Prince, assistant professor and lead faculty in sociology at Saint Leo University, says it’s a degree that is both versatile and flexible.
“Today, most people will change jobs and careers several times over the course of a long work life,” she says. “A degree in sociology is useful because of its flexibility – students who study sociology learn a wide variety of skills that may be applied to many job types.”
According to the American Sociological Association (ASA), about 25 percent of sociology graduates go on to work in social service-related jobs. Some become teachers or managers; some work in sales.
In reality, sociology grads are everywhere. If you’re considering an online sociology degree program, here are a few jobs you may not have thought about where you could put your skills to work.
Political Campaign Coordinator
Did you know that Jesse Jackson and Martin Luther King were sociology majors? You might be surprised to know that many politicians and national leaders have backgrounds in sociology.
As a political campaign coordinator, you could help identify key issues and critical neighborhoods for your candidate as well as voting trends in target areas. You could prepare a report detailing characteristics of the district and what has happened in past elections. You might also research what transportation is available to get voters to the polls on election day – and how likely they are to use it.
Public Relations Manager
Public relations managers are masters at communicating with diverse audiences on a wide range of topics – some positive, some neutral, some negative and some emotionally charged, such as a night club moving into a residential area.
Who better to craft those communications and evaluate response than a sociology grad who understands and studies group human behavior? With their unique ability to analyze, predict and explain human behavior, sociologists bring important skills to the public relations field.
Human Resources Manager
As a sociology student, you gain vast insight into the way groups of people at different skill levels interact and how race, gender and culture come into play in the various settings, such as the workplace. That knowledge is invaluable for developing programs and policies that affect employees at every level of an organization, and is critical for dealing with issues between individual employees and groups of employees.
As a human resource manager, you could put your knowledge about group behavior to use to help guide a company through challenging times, such as a layoff, natural disaster, product recall or labor dispute.
FBI/Homeland Security Agent
Your sociology degree could be a stepping stone to a career defending our nation against threats.
Experienced sociology grads at the Department of Homeland Security, for instance, work to understand terrorist motivation and behavior. They tackle topics such as understanding the roles of communities and organizations in moving individuals toward or away from radicalization, identifying hostile intent, and helping communities prepare for and respond to catastrophic events. In addition, they inform research that leads to new technologies that are not only effective, but publicly acceptable.
In the FBI, sociologists enjoy careers as criminal profilers, studying crimes to reconstruct what may have happened or formulate a theory about what could happen next.
What do stakeholders – employees, consumers and managers – think about a company’s brand or product, and how will their opinions impact the bottom line? Understanding the processes that consumers go through in developing loyalty to a product or brand is vital to ensure its success.
Sociology graduates who work in advertising agencies analyze, predict and research consumer behavior. For example, you could conduct focus groups to determine if customers are receptive to the design of a new company logo, or introduce and provide free samples of a new product at a cultural event to gauge response.
Are you a sociology graduate with an interesting career? Tell us about your experience.
Image Credit: EKS on Shutterstock.com
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