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What Do Sociologist Do?

Sociologist Example 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.

Sociologist Responsibilities

  • Collect data about the attitudes, values, and behaviors of people in groups, using observation, interviews, and review of documents.
  • Teach sociology.
  • Collaborate with research workers in other disciplines.
  • Consult with and advise individuals such as administrators, social workers, and legislators regarding social issues and policies, as well as the implications of research findings.
  • Develop, implement, and evaluate methods of data collection, such as questionnaires or interviews.
  • Observe group interactions and role affiliations to collect data, identify problems, evaluate progress, and determine the need for additional change.

What Skills Do You Need to Work as a Sociologist?

When polled, Sociologists say the following skills are most frequently used in their jobs:

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.

Other Sociologist Job Titles

  • Policy Advisor
  • Clinical Sociologist
  • Medical Sociologist
  • Policy Officer
  • Research Center Director

Sociologist Job Outlook

In the United States, there were 3,500 jobs for Sociologist in 2016. There is little to no growth in job opportunities for Sociologist. There will be an estimated 300 positions for Sociologist per year.

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.

How Much Does a Sociologist Make?

The salary for Sociologists ranges between about $46,170 and $140,430 a year.

Salary Ranges for Sociologists

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

How much do Sociologists make in each U.S. state?

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

What Tools & Technology do Sociologists Use?

Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Sociologists:

  • 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 do I Become a Sociologist?

Are there Sociologists education requirements?

Sociologist Degree Level

How many years of work experience do I need?

Sociologist Work Experience

Who Employs Sociologists?

Sociologist Sectors

The table below shows the approximate number of Sociologists employed by various industries.

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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