Skip to content

Career Facts

Also see Anthropology

What They Do

Sociologists study the origin, development, activities and behavior of human groups and societies, and the social institutions to which they belong. They also study the influence of group behavior on individuals and the effect of social traits such as gender, ethnicity, age, and race.

Some subfields within sociology include areas such as criminology, demography, education, family, gender roles and relations, gerontology, race and ethnic relations, social organization and stratification, social psychology, urban and rural studies.

Many sociologists work as educators, researchers, administrators, consultants, and counselors. Typical employers are universities, government, international organizations, management consulting firms, research and testing services, social service agencies, and museums. Sociologists observe, analyze, define, test and explain human behavior, therefore, every area of modern life may use the services of a sociologist. Research in Sociology may enhance business activity, shape public policy or assist social conflict resolutions.

Related Occupations

Sociologists may also work in careers such as archaeology, data analysis, correspondent, counselor, health care, education, journalism, non-profit organizations, public relations, public administration, reporter, health care, and social worker.

Who Would Enjoy It

Those who enjoy regular hours, working in an office either alone or with a team of social scientists, and those who enjoy reading and writing research reports would be successful in this field. Sociologists are often part of a research team and share information through written reports and by attending meetings.

Some social scientists find travel as a necessary part of their career as they collect information for research.

Excellent written and oral communication skills are important as well as the ability to think logically and methodically. Sociologists have a natural sense of observation and analysis as well as curiosity and creativity. Sociologists must be meticulous and patient as some research may take years to complete. Statistics, scientific methods, analytical skills and computer skills are required for most sociology positions.

What They Earn

Earnings vary depending on location, type of work and educational attainment. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics the 2006 median earnings was $60,290.

How Many Jobs Are Available

Growth is about as fast as the average for all occupations. The greatest opportunity will be for those with advanced degrees. Careers are typically available through government agencies, social service organizations, marketing and research firms, and business. Sociologists typically face stiff competition for academic positions. However because sociology addresses some of the most challenging issues of our time, its potential is increasing by those working with social programs and policies.

How Much Schooling, Training, or Skill Development

Students who graduate with an Associates Degree in Sociology will typically transfer to a four-year institution. Some entry-level positions may be available for the two-year degree.

A bachelor's degree provides a background for entry-level jobs in several areas such as junior analyst with research companies. Other careers for the sociologist include business, health, criminal justice, social services or government agencies.

Those with a master's degree typically qualify to teach at community colleges, work as research analysts or other mid-management positions, consultants, statisticians, urban planners or demographers.

A Ph.D. is usually required for tenured positions at colleges and universities. It is also a route to most senior-level positions in corporations, research institutes and government agencies.

What They Study at LCC

Follow the Curriculum Guide for Associate of Arts Degree with a concentration in Sociology


Deb Bishop,
Faculty Sociology/Anthropology

Online College Advisors

American Sociological Association

Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics

Business Department at Lansing Community College

Social Science and Humanities Department
Arts & Sciences Building, Room 2203
Phone: (517) 483-1018
Additional contact information »