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What can I do with a sociology degree?

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Dr. Todd Schroer
Email: tschroer
812/464-1723

Believe it or not, there are many careers out there for sociology majors.  Below, you will find areas of job interest, employers who hire in that area, and strategies (including classes to take, experience to gain, interviewing, etc.) to get that job.

Regardless of your career choice, be sure to take advantage of the department's highly successful internship program during your junior & senior year.  Also, get to know your faculty & have them get to know you to secure those letters of recommendation.

Our former graduates have gone on to a wide variety of careers including: case managers, human resources, journalism, public relations, policing/corrections (public safety occupations), advertising & marketing, non-profit organizations, urban planning, and even all the way to the U.S. Congress!

Others have chosen graduate study in policy planning, public administration, social work, law, and of course sociology.

With sociology as your degree, there are so many options upon graduation, it is really just up to you!

Areas

Employers

Strategies

Environment & Society
  • Waste Management Firms
  • Health Agencies
  • Local Planning Agencies
  • Environmental Advocacy Groups
  • National Advocacy Groups
  • Environmental Periodicals
  • Federal Government
  • Regional, State, & Local Agencies
  • Consulting Firms
  • Take courses in general and urban sociology, sociology of the environment, statistics, and public speaking.
  • Learn skills in communication networking, GIS software, and analytical writing.
  • Gain experience via part-time or internships and volunteer work.
Criminal Justice--
Corrections 
Rehabilitation 
Law Enforcement 
Judiciary
  • Correction Institutions
  • Court Systems
  • Federal, State, & Local Government
  • Law Enforcement Agencies
  • Security (private & public)
  • Legal assistants
  • Probation
  • Emphasize research methods, statistics, GIS, and general computer skills.
  • Take courses in directly in your area of interest, plus spanish language, writing and public speaking courses.
  • Gain essential practical experience via part-time, internships, & volunteer work. 
Demography
  • Companies & Organizations doing demographic forecasting and population studies.
  • Companies compiling market research data.
  • Consulting firms
  • Business & Industry
  • International, Federal & State Agencies
  • Government & Regional Planning Departments
  • Colleges & Universities
  • Foundations
  • Advertising & Marketing Firms
  • Private Research Firms
  • Take courses in social research methods, statistics, GIS, population, social movements, social networks, calculus, social theory & foreign language.
  • Develop good communication skills.
  • Gain essential practical experience via part-time, internships, & volunteer work.
  • Gain experience through undergraduate research with a faculty member or through the RISC program.
Human Services--
Counseling 
Advocacy 
Mental Health Services 
Social Services-- 
--Administration
--Programming
--Recreation
  • Advocacy Groups
  • Federal, State, & Local Government
  • United Way Agencies/Local Branches of National Non-Profit Organizations
  • Religiously-Affiliated Service Organizations
  • Adoption & Child Care Agencies
  • Public & Private Nursing Homes
  • Hospitals
  • Drug & Alcohol Counseling
  • Concentrate course work in area of interest, plus take courses in diversity, foreign language (esp. spanish), social psychology, marriage & family, psychology, medical sociology.
  • Pursue excellent academic record.
  • Emphasize research methods, statistics and computer skills.
  • Obtain counseling  experience for counseling & case worker positions.
  • Obtain graduate degree for advancement (such as the Masters of Social Work).
  • Consider business minor or double major for positions in administration, & master's in health care administration for advancement.
Business--
Demography/Planning 
Human Resources 
Management 
Sales 
Advertising 
Marketing 
Consumer Research 
Insurance 
Real Estate 
Personnel/Training 
Administration
  • Research Departments/Firms
  • Personnel/Industrial Relations Departments
  • Marketing/Management Firms
  • Organizational Planning Departments/Firms
  • International Business
  • Manufacturing Firms
  • Advertising Firms
  • Consumer Research/Public Relations Firms
  • Insurance/Real Estate Companies
  • Publishing Firms
  • Consulting Firms
  • Focus on an occupational area: personnel, industrial relations, management, marketing, or public relations.
  • Take courses in labor relations, sociology of work, social theory, social networks, diversity courses, industrial psychology, globalization, social psychology, personnel management, public speaking, and human/social interaction.
  • Gain related experience.
  • Stress work experience, social skills, public speaking, writing skills, statistics & research training when interviewing.
  • Gain experience through undergraduate research with a faculty member or through the RISC program.
Education--
Teaching 
Administration 
Alumni Relations 
Placement Offices 
Research
  • Public & Private Schools 
  • Colleges & Universities 
  • Obtain certification/licensing to teach grades K-12.
  • Volunteer as a tutor.
  • Obtain Ph.D. to teach and for advanced research positions in colleges & universities.
  • Secure strong personal recommendations.
  • Take courses in sociology of education, social theory, social psychology, developmental psychology, sociology of work, diversity courses.
Social Science Research--
--Market Research Analysis 
--Evaluation Research
  • Federal Government
  • National Headquarters of Non-Profit Organizations
  • Firms conducting social, market, or statistical research
  • Public Relations Firms
  • Professional Periodicals
  • Newspapers & Magazines
  • Social Service Agencies
  • Hospitals
  • Business & Industry
  • Labor Unions
  • Professional Sociologists
  • Universities
  • Religious Organizations
  • Public Opinion Research Polls
  • Learn federal government job application process.
  • Develop strong quantitative, statistical, writing, informational gathering, and assimilating skills.
  • Take courses in research methods and statistics, social theory, social networks, demography.
  • Acquire related experience.
  • Gain experience through undergraduate research with a faculty member or through the RISC program.
Community Relations
  • Federal, State, & Local Government 
  • National headquarters & local branches of non-profit organizations 
  • Private Social Service Organizations 
  • Religiously Affiliated Service Organizations 
  • Child Care Agencies 
  • Learn federal, state & local government job application process.
  • Obtain experience in counseling, advocacy or administration.
  • Acquire knowledge of community problems & government resources.
  • Gain volunteer experience.
  • Take courses in urban sociology, social networks, globalization, social theory, public speaking, diversity courses, related CJS courses, social psychology, social/human interaction.
Government--
Social Science Analysis
Social Statistics 
Demography 
Administration 
Management 
Program Development 
Policy Analysis 
Personnel 
Research 
Investigation
  • Public Assistance Agencies 
  • Federal, State, Local, & County Government 
  • Learn federal, state & local government job application process.
  • Obtain experience in research & evaluation.
  • Acquire skills in survey & evaluation research, and specialties in such fields as medical/health sociology, aging, criminal justice, demography, and family.
  • Gain experience through undergraduate research with a faculty member or through the RISC program.
  • Obtain graduate degree for advancement.

This list was originally prepared by the Career Planning staff, Career Services at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

It has been updated and altered by the USI Department of Sociology to better fit the needs of USI sociology students. 

Dr. Ronda Priest
April, 2008