Careers in Sociology
BA graduates find many job and career opportunities in the public and private sectors. Entry-level positions in social service agencies, in criminal justice and corrections agencies, in health services and in many other organizations are open to sociology majors who want to serve the community. In the private sector positions are available in human resource, research, and public relations departments.
BA graduates possess two important assets: the liberal arts advantage and the sociological imagination.
Because no one can anticipate precisely what career skills will be in demand in the future, a liberal arts background is good preparation for learning and mastering specific skills that employers will want you to learn on the job. In a knowledge economy, being open to change and being willing to take on new challenges is an advantage. Your reading, writing and foreign language skills will be in demand in any career path.
The sociological imagination is a shorthand way of expressing a unique advantage possessed by a sociology major – an awareness of the historical and cultural contexts and interconnectedness of all human action. Sociologists study how the time and energy of individuals are absorbed into group structures, how groups are configured into larger forms, and how those in turn are embedded in even larger global political and economic contexts. An appreciation of the interconnectedness of social life can be exploited in many ways, not the least of which is to major or minor in a second field while still in college.
The UNCG Career Services’ website and office (#1 EUC) can be helpful in identifying your strengths and areas of interest and in locating internships and employment opportunities. Please take advantage of their services.
The following tools can help you complete a self-assessment to determine your strengths and weaknesses, areas of interest, skills and abilities, and work values:
- Occupational Outlook Handbook at http://www.bls.gov/OCO/ — this resource contains information about the nature of particular jobs, different career focus areas and environments, required training, employment outlooks and salary ranges.
- O*NET at http://online.onetcenter.org/ — this resource provides information about job tasks, required tools and technology, work styles, required knowledge bases and skills, work values, salary ranges, and career videos.
In addition to visiting the Career Services’ office, sociology students and alumni should use the Spartan Careers database provided by Career Services to access jobs and internships available in our area. This database is updated regularly by Career Services. Check it out at: http://csc.dept.uncg.edu/spartancareers/.
Sociology majors can use the following online resources to aid their search for internships, jobs, and career opportunities:
- American Sociological Association
- American Society of Criminology
- NC Non-Profit
- Social Service Job Search
- NC State Government
- Federal Government (includes the Dept. of Justice, Dept. of Health & Human Services, Census Bureau, etc.)
- General Job Search Sites: www.monster.com, www.indeed.com, www.careerbuilder.com
- Other Local & State Government Websites
- Other Professional Association Websites
Graduates from our BA program have said the following about the significance of what they learned in Sociology when they entered the job market:
“Sociology allowed me the opportunity to be more well-rounded. I developed the ability to communicate more effectively and have a better understanding of the way society interacts.”
“Understanding the social foundation of health and illness; compassion for those with fewer resources; understanding diversity among different ethnic groups and my role in supporting them; just made me a more understanding, compassionate person overall.”
“It opened my eyes to see that there is a whole other world out there. I respect others and their views by trying to have an open mind about new people and experiences.”
“I work with a few others who graduated from UNCG with Sociology degrees. I find that most of us advance faster and have better communication skills than our coworkers. . . . So, I believe that Sociology has helped by giving us a way to understand others and therefore relate in a sincere manner.”
Some of the career paths that BA graduates in Sociology have followed after graduation include:
- Administration coordinator/intake supervisor, domestic violence services
- Child victim advocate
- Community activist
- Correctional officer
- Crime scene analyst
- Curator, Moving Images collection, NC School for the Arts (double major with BCN)
- Financial services
- Health care clinical services
- Hotel hospitality
- Human resource management
- Police officer
- Pre-trial screening, Probation and Parole Services
- Project manager, IT company
- Residential counselor
- Small business owners
MA graduates enter teaching, research and “practice” careers. The latter are careers that involve applying sociological knowledge in hospitals, nursing homes, police departments and other organizations. MA graduates also can choose to further their education at the doctoral level.
Below we have listed careers of some of our MA graduates.
- Ph.D. York University. Professor, Hofstra University
- Research Associate, Center for Creative Leadership
- Federal Probation Officer
- Director of Research, Family Medicine Department, Cone Health Care Systems
- Ph.D. University of Tennessee, Associate Professor, Memphis University
- Ph.D. Kent State University. Assistant Professor, University of Southern Indiana
- Marketing and Grant Preparation, Alcohol and Drug Rehabilitation Services, Greensboro, NC
- Ph.D. Purdue University. Professor, St. Catherine’s College
- Ph.D. University of Chicago. Associate Professor, University of Toronto
- Ph.D. Northwestern University. Associate Professor, University of South Florida
- M.Div. Duke University
- Research Director, Department of Internal Medicine, Cone Health Care System
- Associate Vice Chancellor, Information Technology Services, UNCG
- Ph.D. Vanderbilt University, Assistant Professor, Florida State University
- United States Secret Service
- Crime Analyst, Fairfax County Police Department