There is a common feeling among undergraduate students that sociology presents few practical opportunities for employment after college. We often hear questions like What are you going to do with a sociology degree? The fact is, sociology majors are excellently prepared for entry into many rewarding positions in the work force right out of college, or further graduate training in areas such as law, business, medicine, community planning, architecture, politics, or academics.
It’s hard to think of getting a job with a Sociology degree, especially if you are not quite sure what a sociologist does, or you don’t know anyone who has a job with that title. Persons holding a bachelor’s degree in Sociology are frequently employed in the helping professions, in business, and in various administrative positions, especially those dealing with social programs and their implementation. Employment opportunities for those with Bachelor’s degree in Sociology include, but are not limited to, entry-level positions in the following areas: administration, advertising, banking, counseling (family planning, career, substance abuse, etc.), community planning, health services, journalism, group and recreation work, marketing, and market research, sales, teacher (if certified), criminal justice, social services, and social research. Persons who have had training in sociology are found in personnel/human resources or industrial relations departments of organizations. They work in research firms, public relations and consulting firms. They also work in government agencies as civil servants, project coordinators, program evaluation specialists, program/policy analysts, or research associates, scientists, or administrators. As the global economy becomes increasingly complex, businesses are realizing that they need personnel who are trained in social and cultural relations. In addition, studies have shown that the broader your education, the more likely one is to be promoted to upper level positions. President Bush stated that our business community needs persons trained to understand the socio-cultural world of not only the United States, but Japan and other societies as well. Sociology is particularly well suited to provide such training.
Ok, if all those jobs are available to sociology graduates, aren’t they also available to History, English, and Psychology majors as well? Yes, but Sociology gives you training that other liberal education majors do not. For example, training for Sociology majors includes introductory sociology, social problems, and social psychology where the basics of human interaction and relationships are taught. Further, students receive training in statistics and research methods, which includes computer applications. Here is where the basic training for research analyst positions is taught. They can then specialize in areas of interest to them such as the sociology of work/industrial relations, or the sociology of occupations and professions. Other areas include marriage/family, human development, medical sociology and health care research.
Why major in Sociology? Because sociology courses are very good general preparation for a variety of careers. At first, it’s hard for most students to identify a single area of employment that a sociology major would prepare them for. But after a little thought, it soon becomes hard to name an area of employment that sociology does not prepare them for. In many professional schools, courses in Sociology are part of the required training. Most students who take one sociology course in college return for more because they find the material is interesting, challenging, and something they can use on a daily basis.
Many students have chosen a major either before they started school, or shortly after arriving. They have already chosen a course of study that they hope will turn into a prosperous career. For these students, sociology as a minor is a particularly attractive option. Sociology combines intellectually stimulating material with valuable practical information that complements many major fields of study. For example, a mechanical engineer with a minor in sociology would have knowledge of the structure of organizations and interpersonal relationships that would help him/her develop successful careers. A nursing student with a minor in medical sociology would have an increased understanding of the importance of social factors to health, patient care and the various health professions. The sociology minor is designed to broaden the student’s understanding of social relationships and how these relationships apply to his/her field of study.