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Top Jobs and Careers in Sociology

Sociology is an exciting degree field to major in.  Sociologists study all aspects of human society, including social behavior and the origin of social groups. Their research provides key insights into the different ways groups, governments and individuals respond to change, make decisions and exercise power.  It is a vast and interesting field of study, but what kinds of sociology careers are there, and what kind of pay can you expect?

In 2008 sociologists and political scientists held about 9,000 jobs, and 4,900 of those were held by sociologists.  The industries that employed the largest number of sociologists were scientific research and development services, social advocacy groups, and state and local government, excluding hospitals and education.  Many sociologists teach elementary and secondary school as well as in colleges and universities.

There is a variety of areas a sociologist can work in.  International relations specialist is one career you might choose from.  Sociologists that work in this area do so using their research skills to collect and distribute data to international relations organizations.  International relations specialists have can have annual salaries from $20,000 up to $100,000.

Healthcare is another area sociologists can find work in.  They work with patients and their families and do research for their companies.  These medical researchers have a median annual salary of $72,590, according to the 2008 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Sociologists work in the business market doing market research.  Because sociologist study human behavior they can use these skills to analyze the buying habits of groups.  Businesses use this information to effectively design and market products to these groups.  Market research analysts make a median annual salary of $61,070 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Many sociologists take positions with the federal government in all kinds of areas, doing a variety of functions.  Some work with agencies to build team work and efficiency.  Sociologist salaries in the federal government vary significantly, from $17,803 to $129,517 annually.

Correctional institutions hire sociologist to develop different ways of managing groups of criminal offenders.  Sociologists use the research skills they’ve developed to try and understand the behavior and motivation of these criminal groups.

Sociologists can work as advisers to political leaders, helping them make educated decisions that affect large groups of people.  These political advisers can make over $40,000 a year or much more, dependent upon the political level they are working at.

According the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics the overall employment of sociologists and political scientists is expected to grow by 21 percent from 2008 to 2018.  This is faster than the average for all occupations. Sociologists have broad training and education in research and can apply these skills to many different occupations.  Many workers who earn a degree in sociology find niche areas with specialized titles like research assistant, political analyst, writer and market analyst.  The demand for sociologists will also stem from growth in the number of political, social and business associations and organizations, including nonprofits, to conduct a variety of evaluations and statistical work.  A number of job openings will come from the need to replace retirees, or individuals entering into other occupations and fields.

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