What Does a Sociologist Do?

SociologyAs a highly educated professional with a master’s or doctoral degree, a sociologist is given the responsibility of studying human behavior, interaction, and organization in order to solve social problems affecting our society. Since the demand for sociological research to address different social issues continues to grow across various disciplines, more sociologists are needed to study how social interactions impact public policy decisions on education, politics, economics, business, crime, healthcare, poverty, and more. In fact, the employment of sociologists is projected to grow faster than average at the rate of 15%, which will create around 400 new jobs in the small occupation before 2022, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics. If you are interested in pursuing a career in sociology, the following is a full overview of what sociologists do and how you can become one too.

Sociologist Job Description

In general, sociologists are responsible for designing and implementing research studies that test their theories on social issues by examining groups, cultures, organizations, institutions, and other social processes that humans develop in society. Since their research is so vital to formulating public policies, sociologists often work alongside administrators, social workers, educators, elected officials, executives, and lawmakers to combat a wide range of social issues. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are around 2,600 sociologists employed throughout the United States currently. In most cases, sociologists work for universities, professional schools, social research facilities, non-profit organizations, businesses, local governments, and consulting services.

Daily Duties for Sociologists

In an effort to examine the social, political, and economic forces that affect social behavior on different individuals or groups, sociologists must conduct research projects independently or in small groups. On a daily basis, sociologists can be found collecting research data, analyzing survey results, drawing conclusions, preparing reports/presentations on their research findings, collaborating with other social scientists, and advising clients on sociological issues. Most sociologists work full-time in an office during normal business hours, but many will occasionally travel into the field to conduct interviews, surveys, and/or observations for research. Some practicing sociologists will also become post-secondary or high school teachers while conducting research on a part-time basis.

How to Become a Sociologist

Although graduates with a bachelor’s degree in sociology can find relevant career choices in the social services or public policy fields, the vast majority of sociology jobs will require a master’s degree or Ph.D. from an accredited institution. Some students choose to pursue a traditional master’s degree program in preparation for earning a doctoral degree; however, there are also applied and clinical programs for entering the professional workforce upon completion. In addition to taking extensive coursework in research methods, sociology, and statistics, it is recommended that students participate in a sociology internship in a research setting to develop essential abilities. After graduation, many sociologists decide to become certified through the Association for Applied and Clinical Sociology for strong professional credentials.

Related Resource: Urban Planner

Overall, sociologists play a prominent role in discovering how human beings interact with one another in given contexts in an effort to design effective solutions to social problems. Since sociologists are consistently involved in observing, analyzing, testing, and explaining human behavior, there is literally no area of contemporary life in which a sociologist’s research is not valuable. If you have strong analytical, writing, communication, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills, you may want to consider becoming a sociologist to expand society’s knowledge on social behavior through the prism of various group formations.