How to Become a Sociologist

Written by

George D. Baker


August 14, 2014



Human society and societal norms are constantly changing and evolving phenomena. Sociology is the study of human society and interactions between people and within institutions. Sociologists study organizations, institutions and individual social interactions in order to identify how human action and consciousness both shape and are shaped by surrounding cultural and social structures. They cover a range of subjects ranging from violence to religion, race and gender. Enabling lawmakers and educators to create public policies and address social issues and conflicts among various groups, sociologists provide extensive research analysis regarding behaviors and interactions of members of society.

What does a sociologist do?

Sociologists are responsible for developing research projects that examine aspects of how individuals and groups relate to one another in a given situation. This research focuses on the organizations and cultures that people form, the social, political, or economic activities they participate in, and the reaction of people to shifts in trends such as crime, technology, and political platforms. 


Sociologists examine social patterns and draw conclusions about the various ways in which institutions and organizations affect the everyday lives of groups and individuals. They compare and analyze these patterns through research methods that are both descriptive and statistical. Sociologists use the results of this research to determine how social trends originate and what impact they produce on both a small and large scale in human society.

Sociologists may specialize in a number of concentrations that include racial and ethnic relations, gender relations, criminology, and social psychology. They often work as members of research teams and are responsible for collecting relevant information and recording their findings. Some sociologists have the opportunity to work in a foreign culture or nation. Click here to find out how to become a sociologist.

What kind of training does a sociologist need?

In order to become a sociologist, one must pursue a sociology major at undergraduate or graduate degree level. Admission requirements at undergraduate level tend to be the same as for most other liberal arts. Most top colleges will look for strong academic achievement (advanced coursework, good grades, and acceptable test scores) and a track record of extracurricular activities that demonstrate an interest in community involvement.

A master’s degree in sociology is required to progress to more advanced levels within the profession; a doctorate degree is needed to pursue high-level positions in the field. In order to compile research effectively, sociologists need to have a solid background in the subjects of mathematics, statistics, and communications. They also need to be adept in using computers and knowledgeable about technological advancements that affect their research strategies.

Those who are studying toward a sociology career can gain experience through field work or internships. Some places that offer volunteer jobs in sociology research are government agencies, historical societies, and non-profit organizations.

What are the prospects for a career as a sociologist?

The number working as sociologists in the USA is expected to increase at a rate of 10%, which is about average for all industries, to 4,100 by the year 2016. The increase in sociology jobs are due to specializations that will demonstrate a growing need for the contributions of sociologists include policy research, product development, and advertising. Many sociologists tend to work in academic and research organizations. However, the range of potential opportunities is much wider for anyone considering whether and how to become a sociologist. Students with a bachelor’s degree in sociology can secure employment as caseworkers, paralegals, community organizers, social workers, and data analysts. Other potential employers include public health and welfare organizations, the criminal justice system, non-profits and international development organizations such as the World Bank and United Nations. Sociology skills are relevant and transferable to other professions such as law, management, marketing, public relations, and advertising.

How much do sociologists make?

The sociologist salary range in the United States is between $36,740 and $82,890, with the average salary at $61,140.

A sociology career is a good choice for people who possess a strong intellectual interest in humanity as a whole, have the ability to think methodically and logically, and maintains a sense of objectivity in regard to sociology research subjects.

Becoming a Sociologist Requires Skills & Training Start Today

Want to know what the 10 top liberal arts schools are?

Are you serious about becoming a Sociologist? Then you need to get the required skills and training to do it! To start your new career, first you must decide what school you want to enroll in, so you need to gather info about potential schools. Use the  College Mouse Degree Search tool  to find the right course and college for you, and get started towards your new dream job today! If you want more personalized assistance, call (888) 389-7996 TOLL FREE to speak with a college advisor, who will help you find the best college for you. After you sign up for your course, make sure you fill out and submit the FAFSA so you can take advantage of any financial aid currently available to you!

Written by:  George D. Baker

George D. Baker is a long-time contributor to College Mouse. Now retired, Mr. Baker volunteers at adult education programs in his local community.

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  • You say “How To Become a Sociologist” and then give a brief description of the job. Not anything related to on how to become one.

    • Hi Ramon,

      The article actually includes a number of resources, besides the description of what sociologists do. You can look at the sub-heading, “What kind of training does a sociologist need?” for some pointers on what it takes to become a sociologist. For specific degree requirements, we encourage you to try the College Mouse Degree search tool – That will point you to a number of potential colleges, which you can contact to get more detailed admission criteria.

      Best Wishes,

      College Mouse Team

  • Hi iam a highschool student. i’m wondering if grades and extracurricular activities really do matter because they really are not my strongest suite due to my environment.

    • Hi Lynea,

      Thanks for your question. Yes, grades and extracurricular activities do matter – especially if you are looking to get into a highly competitive program or a top-ranked college like Princeton or Yale. But that should not dissuade you from pursuing your dreams. There are so many other good colleges with less competition, where you can still pursue a sociology major (including online). As long as you successfully complete your high school, you should be able to find a college. Just be realistic about your options and be open to looking at less competitive schools as well (provided they are accredited). A good place to start is our degree search tool – Also, check out this article on how to get ready for college –

      Best Wishes,

      College Mouse Team

  • Hi. I have a B.A. in English Literature. I minored in Psych but this was long time ago. What can I do to be a Sociologist now?