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What Can You Do With a Degree in Sociology?

American Sociological Association - "Career Resources for Undergraduates"
 
 
 
 
What can I do with a BS/BA in Sociology?

- Kinds of Jobs for Sociologists
 
Social Services

Substance Abuse Counselor*: Counsels and aids individuals & their families who are dealing with substance abuse problems. Interviews clients, & with other professionals, creates treatment and rehabilitation programs. Monitors client progress and counsels clients and their families individually or in-group sessions.

Workers’ Advocate: Organize low-income workers (the specific field you may work in varies, i.e. healthcare, factories) to ensure workers’ right to economic justice, dignity & respect. Assist in developing a direct action grassroots campaign to build power at the low wage workplace. A strong commitment to social & economic justice and the ability to work well with people from various economic & ethnic backgrounds is needed.

Youth Services Provider: Organize & provide services for the youth of a community. Provider must be sensitive toward ethnic minorities. Areas of service may include: after-school programs, counseling, vocational training, organizing volunteer projects, sports & recreation & helping ethnic minorities gain to access higher education and other resources.

Probation/ Parole Officer: Counsels juvenile or adult offenders. Formulate a rehabilitation plan with input from the offender, legal representatives, family & other concerned persons. Parole officers also evaluate offender’s progress by making visits at their client’s home, school or work.

Criminal Justice Counselor: Help plan & direct juvenile and adult crime prevention projects. Counselors work with offenders to maintain their safety, & the safety of their families. This is done through monitoring & documenting client activity and through individual & group counseling. Counselors may work as a part of a community renewal team focused on issues such as reducing drug activity and ensuring safe housing.

Police / Peace Officer*: Interacts & works with diverse groups both within the department & in the community. Performs investigations, interviews, renders service, enforces traffic & criminal laws within a community.

FBI Agent*: FBI agents investigate violations of federal law such as kidnapping, extortion & bank robbery. They also safeguard the nation’s security by investigating subversion, espionage & sabotage. Special Agents do investigative work through interviews, suspect observation & evidence analysis.

Recreational Therapist: Plans, organizes & directs recreation programs adapted to the needs of patients in hospitals, nursing homes & other institutions. Activities may include sports, arts & other games to assist patients in developing interpersonal relationships & confidence in social settings.

Service Provider for the Elderly: Provides & organizes services to help seniors stay active & healthy while accommodating their specific needs. Services may include: physical therapy, transportation, counseling for depression & emotional difficulties and help coping with changes in living situations. Work may be in a variety of settings: planned communities, hospitals, nursing homes or in an individual’s home.

Instructor for Persons with Disabilities: Provide employment support for people with developmental disabilities. Locate jobs within the community that will meet the needs of both the employer and special-needs employee. Teach clients employment skills such as teamwork, interviewing skills, personal hygiene, & following instructions.

Urban/City Planner: Develops comprehensive plans & programs for the use of land & buildings in cities, counties and metropolitan areas. Works with other professionals to compile & analyze data on the economic, social, environmental & physical factors affecting land use.

Grassroots/ Human Rights Organizer: Build organizations in low-income communities on the most basic level; family by family. Organizers hear from community residents what they want in their neighborhood, community, city, state & country. Work with community residents to hold meetings, do research on key issues and develop campaign strategies such as conferences, marches, protests, working with the media etc. to get the people’s needs addressed.

Community Organization Worker: Plans, organizes and coordinates programs with community groups that address social problems within the community. A few specialized areas include: housing, urban renewal, volunteer coordination, community health, welfare, elderly, financially disadvantaged, substance abuse, juvenile delinquents, physically or mentally handicapped or domestic abuse.

Community Relations in Public Housing: Promotes tenant welfare in low-income public housing developments. Facilitates constructive relationships between tenants and housing management. Connects tenants with other social services such as health, welfare and education programs for improving individual, family & community standards.

Community Health Education: Plans and directs programs of public health education & promotes the establishment of public health services such as family planning, domestic violence shelters & childhood immunization programs in a community. Also coordinates special health education campaigns on specific issues such like disease epidemics. May also direct health education activities in public schools.

Non Profit Organizations: Nonprofit agencies offer an incredibly wide array of community & social services. Workers raise funds for, provide, administer and manage these services. Here are just a few of many nonprofit organizations: Amnesty International, Alcoholics Anonymous, Red Cross, United Way, Green Peace, Boys and Girls Club, Domestic Violence Shelters, Global Exchange, The Women’s Union, Police Assessment Resource Center, Save the Children, American Association for the Blind.

Social Research & Data Analysis

Contrary to its reputation, research is often a highly social occupation. Gathering information from groups of people and individuals is exciting and interesting. There are limitless topics to be researched. Researchers’ fields of study vary from migrant workers in California, inner city drug dealers, to consumer buying trends. Industrial firms, research institutes, nonprofit agencies & businesses all use research services.

Market Research Analyst: Researches market conditions on the local, regional or national scale to determine the potential sales of a product or service. Gathers public information using research methods such as: surveys, opinion polls, questionnaires or interviews. Researcher may collect data on competitors, methods of marketing and customer buying habits. This data is then analyzed and presented in reports to predict and prepare for future marketing trends.

Community Researcher: Plans, organizes and conducts research for use in understanding the social problems communities face. Research may be used to determine the needs of disadvantaged groups, & to find possible ways of meeting those needs. Information is gathered about disadvantaged groups/ individuals through interviews with community members, surveys, tests, observation, & documents. Data is analyzed and written in reports.

Research Assistant: In collaboration with professors, lawmakers or other researchers, assistants collect from many sources such as documents, literature & reference works. They may conduct interviews, help set up and process surveys and prepare & analyze statistical data.

Union Researcher: With a commitment to progressive social change, researchers work with union activists & organizers to develop & implement corporate, legal, legislative & regulatory strategies to build worker power. Work may also include corporate investigations, industry trend analysis & market research.

Data Analyst for Local & State Government: Using the qualitative analysis & writing skills developed in a sociology major, Data Analysts develop reports, summarize trends, identify emerging client needs & document the impacts of local &/or state government agencies and programs.

Human Resources Management

A variety of fields need Human Resource Management: government, healthcare, manufacturing, service, education, & financial institutions.

Employment Specialist: Collects applications, performs credential checks & background investigations prior to interviewing & hiring an employee. May conduct interviews or train department managers on how to conduct interviews fairly. Has knowledge of affirmative action, equal opportunity & other labor laws. Written & verbal communication skills are important.

Employee Training and Development: Develops training programs to address the diverse life situations of a company’s employees. Training enhances employee cohesiveness; competence & helps groups manage change, by addressing varied issues such as "managing a two career family", "planning for retirement" & "stress reduction techniques". Other areas of training include; employee safety, health precautions & using employee benefits effectively.

Human Resource Generalist: Knowledge of payroll systems, employee benefits. Manage and keep records on items such as; employee 401k’s, medical claims, workers compensations & sexual harassment claims. Recruits & trains new employees.

Training Instructor / Lecturer: Develops & conducts training programs for employees of other companies. Using methods such as individual training, group instruction, workshops, demonstrations & multi-media visual aids. Training Instructors help a company’s employees better understand company policies, new technologies or requirements. Employee progress & training effectiveness are evaluated through tests.

Academic Advisor: Find out students’ educational & career goals. With these objectives as a guide, help students plan academic courses & use available resources to meet their goals. Provide students with correct up-to-date academic information about university, college or high school graduation requirements & career options.

*Jobs with an asterisk require additional licensing or certification, but not necessarily a master’s degree.

 

 
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