According to the University of California, Davis Department of Sociology, a sociology degree is excellent for assisting graduates to understand and engage with a "rapidly globalizing world" and diverse communities. Sociology graduates can work in the community for non-profit or government organizations, can enter legal or business fields, and can work in education and healthcare settings. The job outlook for sociology degree holders varies depending upon the field they choose to enter after graduation. Some fields have higher earnings potential, such as business or legal professions, while social services and community-based work offers personal rewards, but lower salary expectations.
Traditional Social Work and Community Service
Sociology degrees can lead to a career as a social worker or program director at a non-profit or community organization. At 12% growth, this career is projected to grow faster than average over the next ten years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The median salary in 2015 was $45,900 for these positions, and about 650,000 people were employed in this field as of 2014. Social and community service employees in the healthcare field are expected to have even more job opportunities, particularly as the population ages.
Legal and Law Enforcement
According to UC Davis Department of Sociology, sociology graduates can work in the legal system, going on to obtain law degrees, working as paralegals, or as part of the probation and parole systems. The job outlook for lawyers is about average at 6% growth between now and 2024, according to the BLS. Probation and parole officers are expected to have about 4% job growth over the next ten years. Paralegals are expected to have about 8% growth, and made $48,810 on average in 2015, according to the BLS.
Sociology graduates can become teachers at the elementary, secondary or college level. They can also work at colleges and universities as counselors, administrative support, student advocates and ombudsmen, and researchers. Elementary and middle school teachers' job growth is projected at 6% between now and 2024, about as fast as average, according to the BLS. College teacher job growth is projected to be much faster, according the the BLS. About 13% growth is anticipated in higher education jobs because of increased enrollments and the need for more specialized higher education.
Business and Health-Related Careers
Sociology skills in research, understanding diversity, and working in a global environment are in demand in private business and in the healthcare industry. The BLS projects that human resources managers are expected to have 9% job growth between now and 2024. Technology is impacting some careers, like insurance claims adjusters. This career is expected to have slower than average growth between now and 2024, the BLS reports.
Sociology degrees can sometimes have a reputation of failing to lead to higher-paying jobs and careers. This isn't backed up by the facts, and universities that graduate significant numbers of sociology majors can show that the employment outlook for students in this discipline is good, particularly if the student takes advantage of the skills and opportunities this flexible, wide-ranging degree and courses can offer. With rapid globalization, the diverse outlook sociology encourages can lead to many rewarding jobs and careers.