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What Does it Take to Be a Sociologist?

Sociologist Definition 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.

Life As a Sociologist: What Do They Do?

  • Prepare publications and reports containing research findings.
  • Teach sociology.
  • Direct work of statistical clerks, statisticians, and others who compile and evaluate research data.
  • Develop problem intervention procedures, using techniques such as interviews, consultations, role playing, and participant observation of group interactions.
  • Collect data about the attitudes, values, and behaviors of people in groups, using observation, interviews, and review of documents.
  • Develop approaches to the solution of groups’ problems, based on research findings in sociology and related disciplines.

What a Sociologist Should Know

These are the skills Sociologists say are the most useful in their careers:

Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Writing: Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Social Perceptiveness: Being aware of others’ reactions and understanding why they react as they do.

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

  • Urban Sociologist
  • Penologist
  • Rural Sociologist
  • Sociologist
  • Research and Evaluation Manager

Are There Job Opportunities for Sociologists?

In the United States, there were 3,500 jobs for Sociologist in 2016. There is little to no growth in job opportunities for Sociologist. The BLS estimates 300 yearly job openings in this field.

Forecasted Number of Jobs for Sociologists in U.S.

The states with the most job growth for Sociologist are Florida, Wisconsin, and New York. Watch out if you plan on working in Oregon, Illinois, or Pennsylvania. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Average Sociologists Salary

The typical yearly salary for Sociologists is somewhere between $46,170 and $140,430.

Salary Ranges for Sociologists

Sociologists who work in Pennsylvania, California, or Massachusetts, make the highest salaries.

How much do Sociologists make in different U.S. states?

State Annual Mean Salary
California $98,560
Florida $78,490
Illinois $86,280
Maryland $74,540
Massachusetts $111,020
Michigan $88,180
New Jersey $106,470
New York $75,800
North Carolina $95,260
Ohio $67,230
Pennsylvania $121,470
South Dakota $43,080
Utah $72,570
Washington $74,130
Wisconsin $80,270

Tools & Technologies Used by Sociologists

Below is a list of the types of tools and technologies that Sociologists may use on a daily basis:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Web browser software
  • Microsoft Access
  • Data entry software
  • Email software
  • Data visualization software
  • Microsoft Windows
  • Microsoft Project
  • Adobe Systems Adobe Acrobat
  • Microsoft Visio
  • Adobe Systems Adobe Photoshop
  • SAS
  • Facebook
  • Microsoft Publisher
  • IBM SPSS Statistics
  • R

How to Become a Sociologist

What education is needed to be a Sociologist?

Sociologist Degree Level

What work experience do I need to become a Sociologist?

Sociologist Work Experience

Sociologists Sector

Sociologist Sectors

The table below shows some of the most common industries where those employed in this career field work.

Sociologist Industries


Image Credit: Kontos via Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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