Human Services Guide

How to Become a Sociologist

The route to a career in Sociology requires that one attain an advanced degree, usually with an emphasis on statistics or creating survey’s and studies. This is due to the fact that the majority of Sociologist’s are Sociological Researchers who create Sociological surveys for various institutions and organizations. One exception to this is those Sociologists who teach at colleges. Often Sociologists who teach are required to have Doctorate degrees. Some community colleges will hire Sociology professors with a Master’s degree, but this is fairly rare. On occasion you can find employment teaching if you have a Master’s and are working towards your doctorate in Sociology. There are many Universities and Colleges throughout the country with excellent Sociology programs.

You will often hear the phrase that “The Master’s degree is the new Bachelor’s degree”, this is a reflection of how extremely well educated the workforce is and how selective employers can be in the current economy. In the case of Sociology the Master’s degree is often a minimum requirement for most positions. The salary of a Sociologist is also excellent and provides a great incentive to complete a higher degree. If you wish to teach in Academia you will actually want to continue your studies until you have earned your Ph.D. in Sociology as this is usually considered the minimum qualification for professors at universities and increasingly even at the community college level.

Another factor that can weigh into your chances of being hired is your relative amount of field experience. This experience can come in a variety of forms. From volunteering at polling organizations to internships at universities helping Professors design and carry out Sociological survey’s, pore over the data and help to craft theories modeled on the data analyzed. Organizations will value various experience differently depending on the job in question. As most Sociologists are employed to create and implement various forms of survey’s, the more experience you can get in creating and conducting survey’s the better your chances of impressing a potential employer.

Some examples of valuable experience in Sociology would include:

  • Political issue polling during election cycles
  • Working with academic institutions conducting Sociological research
  • Creating marketing surveys for a corporation
  • Polling for candidate viability for political parties
  • Creating survey’s for a public health organization
  • Executing a mail based survey for a government organization

As with many Human Services jobs, having multi-lingual capability can be seen as extremely valuable to many employers. The most sought after languages will vary from region to region but can include:

  • Spanish
  • Russian
  • Chinese
  • Vietnamese
  • French
  • Serbian
  • Croat
  • Bosnian
  • Somali
  • Hmong

Having excellent computer skills especially in regards to data entry, web research, excel spreadsheets and word processing programs are highly valued and often required. If you having any programing capability in java or html you will also be seen as an excellent candidate due to the increasing number of sociological survey’s that are conducted online.

For those who are interested in researching the various societal trends that are occurring in a scientific manner, the career of Sociological researcher is one that promises not only an excellent salary, but also a tremendously interesting subject matter. You can find here a list of several schools in your area with accredited programs in Sociology.