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Career profile Sociologist

Also known as Research Associate, Research Coordinator, Research Scientist, Research Specialist, Social Scientist, Sociologist

Sociologist

Also known as Research Associate, Research Coordinator, Research Scientist

Interests Profile
  • Investigative
  • Artistic
  • Social
Pay Range
$52,640 - $143,020 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Active Listening
  • Writing
Knowledge Areas
  • Sociology and Anthropology
  • Education and Training
  • Mathematics
Core tasks
  • 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.
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What does a Sociologist 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.

In addition, Sociologists may study the behavior and interaction of groups, trace their origin and growth, and analyze the influence of group activities on individual members.

What kind of tasks does a Sociologist perform regularly?

Sociologists are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • 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 improve methods of restoring and preserving specimens.
  • Teach sociology.
  • Develop, implement, and evaluate methods of data collection, such as questionnaires or interviews.
  • Present research findings at professional meetings.
  • Develop approaches to the solution of groups' problems, based on research findings in sociology and related disciplines.
  • Direct work of statistical clerks, statisticians, and others who compile and evaluate research data.
  • Observe group interactions and role affiliations to collect data, identify problems, evaluate progress, and determine the need for additional change.
  • 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 problem intervention procedures, using techniques such as interviews, consultations, role playing, and participant observation of group interactions.
  • Collaborate with research workers in other disciplines.

The above responsibilities are specific to Sociologists. More generally, Sociologists are involved in several broader types of activities:

Analyzing Data or Information
Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Working with Computers
Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others
Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.

What is a Sociologist salary?

The median salary for a Sociologist is $86,110, and the average salary is $93,420. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Sociologist salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Sociologists earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Sociologists earn less than $52,640 per year, 25% earn less than $65,680, 75% earn less than $111,910, and 90% earn less than $143,020.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Sociologists is expected to change by 3.3%, and there should be roughly 300 open positions for Sociologists every year.

Median annual salary
$86,110
Typical salary range
$52,640 - $143,020
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)
3.3%

What personality traits are common among Sociologists?

Interests

Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as a Sociologist are usually higher in their Investigative, Artistic, and Social interests.

Sociologists typically have very strong Investigative interests. Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

Also, Sociologists typically have strong Artistic interests. Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.

Lastly, Sociologists typically have moderate Social interests. Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.

Values

People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as a Sociologist tend to value Independence, Achievement, and Recognition.

Most importantly, Sociologists strongly value Independence. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions.

Second, Sociologists strongly value Achievement. Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.

Lastly, Sociologists strongly value Recognition. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Sociologists must consistently demonstrate qualities such as analytical thinking, achievement/effort, and persistence.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Sociologists, ranked by importance:

Analytical Thinking
Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
Achievement/Effort
Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
Persistence
Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
Integrity
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Initiative
Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.

What education and training do Sociologists need?

Many Sociologists have earned a graduate degree. For example, they may require a master's degree, and some require a doctoral degree, such as a Ph.D., M.D., or J.D..

Sociologists may need some on-the-job training, but most candidates will already have the required skills, knowledge, work-related experience, and/or training.

Educational degrees among Sociologists

  • 0.7% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 1.5% completed high school or secondary school
  • 6.0% completed some college coursework
  • 4.0% earned a Associate's degree
  • 32.8% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 38.8% earned a Master's degree
  • 16.1% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Sociologists

Sociologists may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as sociology and anthropology, education and training, or mathematics knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Sociologists might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Sociology and Anthropology
Knowledge of group behavior and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures, and their history and origins.
Education and Training
Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
Mathematics
Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Computers and Electronics
Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
History and Archeology
Knowledge of historical events and their causes, indicators, and effects on civilizations and cultures.

Important Abilities needed by Sociologists

Sociologists must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Sociologists need abilities such as oral expression, written comprehension, and oral comprehension in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Sociologists, ranked by their relative importance.

Oral Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Written Comprehension
The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
Oral Comprehension
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Written Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
Deductive Reasoning
The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.

Critical Skills needed by Sociologists

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Sociologists frequently use skills like reading comprehension, active listening, and writing to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Sociologists, ranked by their relative importance.

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.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

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