What Does A Sociologist Do (including Their Typical Day at Work)

Stan T.Career, Overview

Salary, Job Description, How To Become One, and Quiz

Sociologists

Sociologists study human society and social behavior by examining the groups and social institutions that people form, as well as various social, religious, political, and business organizations. May study the behavior and interaction of groups, trace their origin and growth, and analyze the influence of group activities on individual members.

Salary
$93420
Becoming One
Very Hard
Education
Doctoral degree
Job Satisfaction
Job Growth

Personality
Interest Match





Find a job you love and you will never work a day in your life.Confucius

What they do

Sociologists study human society and social behavior by examining the groups and social institutions that people form, as well as various social, religious, political, and business organizations. May study the behavior and interaction of groups, trace their origin and growth, and analyze the influence of group activities on individual members.

  • Analyze and interpret data to increase the understanding of human social behavior.
  • Collect data about the attitudes, values, and behaviors of people in groups, using observation, interviews, and review of documents.
  • Prepare publications and reports containing research findings.
  • Plan and conduct research to develop and test theories about societal issues such as crime, group relations, poverty, and aging.

Typical day

On a daily basis, Sociologists prepare publications and reports containing research findings. They analyze and interpret data to increase the understanding of human social behavior.

A typical day for a Sociologist will also include:

  • Direct work of statistical clerks, statisticians, and others who compile and evaluate research data.
  • Plan and conduct research to develop and test theories about societal issues such as crime, group relations, poverty, and aging.
  • Develop approaches to the solution of groups’ problems, based on research findings in sociology and related disciplines.
  • Collaborate with research workers in other disciplines.
  • Collect data about the attitudes, values, and behaviors of people in groups, using observation, interviews, and review of documents.

Other responsibilities

Besides their typical day, Sociologists also teach sociology. They may also develop, implement, and evaluate methods of data collection, such as questionnaires or interviews.

On a weekly to monthly basis, Sociologists analyze and interpret data to increase the understanding of human social behavior. They might also collect data about the attitudes, values, and behaviors of people in groups, using observation, interviews, and review of documents.

In addition, they observe group interactions and role affiliations to collect data, identify problems, evaluate progress, and determine the need for additional change.

Although specific duties may vary, many of them plan and conduct research to develop and test theories about societal issues such as crime, group relations, poverty, and aging.

To some Sociologists, it is also their responsibility to develop approaches to the solution of groups’ problems, based on research findings in sociology and related disciplines.

Featured Schools


What is the job like

Job satisfaction

Very High

Is this job meaningful

Very High

78% said they were satisfied with their job and 76% said they found their job meaningful.


Dr. Kimya Nuru Dennis
365 Diversity

When I was a full-time college professor (I eventually became a tenured associate professor) and the creator and coordinator of an academic program, I taught afternoon and evening hybrid (in-person course sessions and with online materials) courses Monday-Thursday. I did not teach on Fridays. My students ranged from ages 17-75. I am a Black woman activist sociologist which means most of my time is spent in communities, focusing on practical application, and I required students to do off-campus interactions for course assignments. Most students appreciated this requirement to engage in off-campus event attendance and volunteerism. Some students achieved internships and jobs from these opportunities. In addition, I conduct qualitative research through participant observations and interviews in my areas of specialization which include Black mental health, Black suicide, Black childfree-by-choice, and demographic-cultural-based mental health training for law enforcement and first responders.

I am no longer a full-time college professor. Now I use my sociology, criminology, and criminal justice expertise to further activism, further practical application, I am on committees and board of directors and do community involvement and my business 365 Diversity. I also do grant writing for a small local women-led and partly Black-led non-profit organization that is connected with a two-third Black-led and two-third women-led small local coffeehouse and restaurant.

As I explain to communities and to K-12 students and college students, getting a formal education does not mean we only have one option for a job and career. Sociologists provide our expertise in many jobs and careers locally, nationally, and around the world including small non-profits, large non-profits, for-profit organizations, businesses, and government agencies.

Pros

As a professor, the pro was being an educator to challenge students to think beyond what they learned since childhood.

Cons

As a professor, the con was professors at most colleges and universities invest in educating and student outcomes, however, school accreditation agencies are not interested in inclusion and equity in colleges and universities. That is not part of annual program evaluations and annual evaluations and assessments from the dean’s offices and school presidents. That is why it is up to academic programs and schools to take action in creating safe environments and successful environments for people with underserved and minoritized demographics-identities-experiences.

Dr. Kimya Nuru Dennis
365 Diversity


Pros

Suitable for people who like to solve problems mentally.

Suitable for people who value achievements and are results-oriented.

This career is perfect for people who love to work indoors.

Very high salary (top 25% highest paid careers).

Cons

Not suitable for people who like to start and carry out projects.

It is very hard to get into this career. Extensive skills, knowledge, and experience are required for this career.

Long working hours (More than 40 hours per week).

How much do they make

Average salary

$93420 per year

Average hourly wage

$45 per hour

Entry-level Sociologists with little to no experience can expect to make anywhere between $52,640 to $65,680 per year or $25 to $32 per hour.

Salary by experience Annual Hourly
Highest (Top 10%) $143,020 $69
Senior (Top 25%) $111,910 $54
Median $86,110 $41
Junior (Bottom 25%) $65,680 $32
No experience (Bottom 10%) $52,640 $25

This table shows the top 10 highest paying industries for Sociologists based on their average annual salary.

Salary by industry Annual Hourly
Credit Intermediation and Related Activities $131690 $63.31
Scientific Research and Development Services $105930 $50.93
State Government $89810 $43.18
Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools $76410 $36.74
Local Government $75470 $36.28

View more salary by industries here.

Where can they work

Where can Sociologists work? Here is a table showing the top 10 largest employers of Sociologists including the average salary in that industry.

Employers Total Employed Annual Salary Hourly Wages
Scientific Research and Development Services 1180 $105930 $50.93
State Government 470 $89810 $43.18
Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools 460 $76410 $36.74
Local Government 80 $75470 $36.28
Credit Intermediation and Related Activities 30 $131690 $63.31

What is the work day like

Working hours

Less than 40 hours
5%

40 hours
5%

More than 40 hours
91%

Working schedule

64%

32%

5%

Email

How often do you use email in this job?

Once a week
5%

Every day
95%

Telephone

How often do you have telephone conversations in this job?

Once a week
23%

Every day
32%

Group discussions

How often do you have group discussions in this job?

Once a week
36%

Every day
59%

Public speaking

How often does this job require you to do public speaking?

Never
0%

Once a year
9%

Once a month
9%

Once a week
73%

Every day
9%

Level of competition

How much competitive pressure is in this job?

Not competitive at all
0%

Slightly competitive
5%

Moderately competitive
5%

Highly competitive
55%

Extremely competitive
36%

What is the work environment like

Office-style environment

Indoors in an environmentally controlled condition

Never
5%

Once a year or more
5%

Once a month or more
5%

Once a week or more
18%

Every day
68%

Warehouse-style environment

Indoors in a non-controlled environmental condition such as a warehouse

Never
68%

Once a year or more
27%

Once a month or more
0%

Once a week or more
5%

Every day
0%

Outdoors

Outdoors exposed to all weather conditions

Never
77%

Once a year or more
23%

Once a month or more
0%

Once a week or more
0%

Every day
0%

Outdoors – Under Cover

Outdoors but under cover (e.g. structure with roof but no walls)

Never
76%

Once a year or more
24%

Once a month or more
0%

Once a week or more
0%

Every day
0%

How to become one

Difficulty to become one

Very Hard
You will need an extensive amount of skill, knowledge, and experience. Careers in this difficulty category usually require graduate school and more than five years of experience. These careers usually involve coordinating, training, supervising, or managing the activities of others to accomplish goals. Very advanced communication and organizational skills are required. Similar careers include Pharmacists, Lawyers, Astronomers, Neurologists, and Veterinarians.

Required level of education

What level of education do you need to perform the job?

Less than a High School Diploma
0%

High School Diploma or equivalent
0%

Post-Secondary Certificate
0%

Some College Courses
0%

Associate’s Degree or similar
0%

Bachelor’s Degree
0%

Post-Baccalaureate Certificate
0%

Master’s Degree
23%

Post-Master’s Certificate
0%

First Professional Degree
0%

Doctoral Degree
77%

Post-Doctoral Training
0%

Relevant majors

Medical/Health Humanities

A program that explores the ethical, historical, literary, philosophical, and religious dimensions of medicine or health. Includes instruction in art, cultural studies, economics, ethics, history, literature, medical anthropology, philosophy, religion and spiritual thought, science and technology, visual art, and writing.

Sociology and Anthropology

A program that combines sociology and anthropology to study how society is organized, the origins and development of social institutions, social change, social organizations, race, class, gender and culture.

Urban Studies/Affairs

A program that focuses on the application of social science principles to the study of urban institutions and the forces influencing urban social and political life. Includes instruction in urban theory, the development and evolution of urban areas, urban sociology, principles of urban and social planning, and the politics and economics of urban government and services.


Rural Sociology

A program that focuses on the structure and function of rural societies. Includes instruction in sociological theory, research methods, statistics, sociology of agriculture, community development, social and economic development, demography, rural poverty, gender roles in rural societies, and environmental sociology.

Applied/Public Sociology

A program that focuses on the application of sociological theory, methods, skills, and research to resolve particular issues in real-world settings. Includes instruction in data collection, group and organizational dynamics, participatory action research, program evaluation, sociological research methods, and sociological theory.


Sociology

A program that focuses on the systematic study of human social institutions and social relationships. Includes instruction in social theory, sociological research methods, social organization and structure, social stratification and hierarchies, dynamics of social change, family structures, social deviance and control, and applications to the study of specific social groups, social institutions, and social problems.

Applied Demography

A program of study that focuses on the practical application of demographic methods and materials for decision-making in business, education, health, and government. Includes instruction in statistics, research methods, geographic information systems, and demographic methods and techniques.


Demography and Population Studies

A program that focuses on the systematic study of population models and population phenomena, and related problems of social structure and behavior. Includes instruction in population growth, spatial distribution, mortality and fertility factors, migration, dynamic population modeling, population estimation and projection, mathematical and statistical analysis of population data, population policy studies, and applications to problems in economics and government planning.

Criminology

A program that focuses on the systematic study of crime as a sociopathological phenomenon, the behavior of criminals, and the social institutions evolved to respond to crime. Includes instruction in the theory of crime, psychological and social bases of criminal behavior, social value systems and the theory of punishment, criminal law and criminal justice systems, penology, rehabilitation and recidivism, studies of specific types of crime, social attitudes and policy, and applications to specific issues in law enforcement administration and policy.

Survey Research/Methodology

A program that focuses on survey research design to gather data about behaviors, demographics, opinions, and data analysis to answer complex questions. Includes instruction in the analysis of survey data, cross-cultural and multi-population survey methodology, data collection methods, modes of survey analysis, quantitative analysis, questionnaire design, research design, sampling, survey error, and structural equation modeling.


Research Methodology and Quantitative Methods

A program that focuses on the design of research studies, measurement of variables, data analysis, and formulation of models. Includes instruction in experimental, quasi-experimental, and case study methods; historical research; participant observation; questionnaire design; sampling theory; and statistical methods.

Relevant work experience

How much related work experience do you need to get hired for the job?

None
18%

1 month
0%

1 to 3 months
0%

3 to 6 months
5%

6 months to 1 year
9%

1 to 2 years
32%

2 to 4 years
14%

4 to 6 years
23%

6 to 8 years
0%

8 to 10 years
0%

Over 10 years
0%

On The Job Training

How much on the job training do you need to perform the job?

None or short demonstration
50%

1 month
23%

1 to 3 months
0%

3 to 6 months
5%

6 months to 1 year
0%

1 to 2 years
5%

2 to 4 years
9%

4 to 10 years
9%

Over 10 years
0%

Should you become one

Best personality type for this career

The Thinker

People with this personality likes to work with ideas that require an extensive amount of thinking. They prefer work that requires them to solve problems mentally.

The Builder
24%

People with The Builder personality type likes practical and hands-on work. They prefer working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery.


The Thinker
100%

People with The Thinker personality likes to work with ideas that require an extensive amount of thinking. They prefer work that requires them to solve problems mentally.


The Artist
76%

People with The Artist personality likes to work with designs and patterns. They prefer activities that require self-expression and prefer work that can be done without following a clear set of rules.


The Helper
67%

People with The Helper personality type likes to work with people and in teams. They prefer work that allows them to build relationships with others.


The Leader
24%

People with The Leader personality likes to start and work on projects. They also like leading people and making many decisions.


The Organizer
38%

People with The Organizer personality type likes to follow set procedures and routines. They prefer working with data and details more than with ideas.


You can read more about these career personality types here.

People who are suitable for this job tend to like working with ideas and require an extensive amount of thinking. They like searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

They also like working with forms, designs, and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.

Take this quiz to see if this is the right career for you.

Work Values

Which values are the most important to a person’s satisfaction for this job?

Achievement
81%

You are someone who is results oriented. You prefer work that allows you to utilize your skills and abilities while at the same time giving you a sense of accomplishment.

Working Conditions
74%

You are someone who values job security, steady employment, and good working conditions. You also prefer work that keeps you busy all the time with something different to do every day.

Recognition
76%

You are someone who values job advancement and leadership roles. You prefer work that receives recognition for the work you do and jobs that are looked up to by others in the company and your community.

Relationships
48%

You are someone who likes to provide a service to others. You prefer a work environment where you can work with your co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Support
38%

You are someone who values a company that stands behind their employees. You prefer a work environment where everyone is treated fairly and is being supported by the company.

Independence
81%

You are someone who likes to work on your own and make your own decisions. You prefer work that requires little supervision and are allowed to try out your own ideas.

FAQ


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