A degree in sociology builds your interactive skills, problem-solving skills and prepares you for research roles. The skills you learn enable you to find high-paying jobs, with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimating that there are more than 3,000 job openings for sociology graduates.
You can work in different industries, including social research, education, local and central government, and welfare organizations. Whether you have a Ph.D., master’s, bachelor’s, or associate degree in sociology, there are diverse careers to pursue.
In order to increase your chances of landing any of these high-paying sociology jobs, you need to build your work experience through volunteer programs to develop the relevant skills related to your career interest. However, if you want to go for specialized professions, you need more structured work experience through internships in reputable companies.
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High paying jobs with a sociology degree (2021)
Below we highlight the high-paying sociology jobs you can explore if you wish for a career in sociology. Some of these jobs pay as high as $150,000 a year.
1. Higher education lecturer
This is one of the best jobs for sociology majors where you need subject experience to teach students. A Ph.D. in a related area is also a requirement, but significant expertise in the profession gives you an upper hand in teaching vocational courses.
Higher education lecturers teach vocational or academic sociology-related subjects to postgraduate and undergraduate students. This is done through lectures, tutorials, seminars, fieldwork, practical demonstrations, and e-learning. They also carry out administrative tasks for a significant part of the day.
Though it may be difficult to get lecturing jobs on a permanent basis, employment on a fixed-term or part-time basis still earns you good money.
The mean annual salary for higher education lecturers in the US is $85,180. The highest-paid postsecondary sociology teachers earn more than $145,990 per year, which makes this one of the highest-paying sociology jobs in the U.S.
2. Policy officer
Policy officers conduct or commission research, analyze data, and use the findings to advise think tanks, businesses, and governments on best practices. They also undertake development work and collaborate with internal and external associates.
A degree in sociology or other related field qualifies you for the job. A postgraduate research qualification (Ph.D. or MRes) in social research, policy research, or public policy is a plus, with some organizations making it mandatory.
Since the field is competitive, build your work experience through internship and volunteer programs to get the upper hand in the job market.
The mean annual salary for policy officers in the U.S. is $68,784, with the potential to earn up to $119,000 per year.
3. Community development worker
Though having a sociology degree is not mandatory to get a job as a community development worker, having one improves your chances in the job market.
Community development workers work with individuals, families, and society to bring about social change and improve the living standards of their locality. They achieve this by linking the community with voluntary sector providers and local authorities, such as police, teachers, and social workers.
Your main role will be to address inequality issues in society. In this case, it would help to have interest and proven experience in solving social and community issues.
The mean annual salary for community development workers is $58,409, with potential earning of up to $91,000 per year.
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4. Human resource manager
Human resource managers are in charge of the employment and development of staff in an organization. They ensure their organization employs the right staff in terms of skills and experience. They also organize training and development opportunities to enhance the performance of every employee.
Therefore, a sociology degree comes in handy as the course prepares you to handle people from all backgrounds. Sociologists understand how individuals think and function within a group, which is a key role of a human resource manager.
Apart from a sociology degree, consider pursuing an advanced degree in human resource management or build your experience in the field through summer internships, industrial placements, or vacation work.
The US’s mean annual salary for human resource managers is $134,580. The highest earners getting up to $162,720 per year, which also makes this one of the best high-paying jobs with a sociology degree in the U.S.
5. Marketing executive
This is one of the high-paying jobs you can get with a sociology degree. Marketing executives conduct market research and campaigns to drive profit through product and service promotion.
A sociology degree enables you to understand societal trends affecting the market, making you a good candidate for the marketing executive position.
Job opportunities are available across all industry sectors, including not-for-profit organizations such as local government, charities, and higher education institutions.
Salary for marketing executives varies based on industry profile, though the mean annual salary in the U.S. is $154,470. The highest-paid marketing executives earn more than $191,760.
6. Social researcher
Social researchers plan, design, undertake and manage research projects investigating social issues. Their findings help examine the effectiveness of prevailing policy or shape future policies.
A degree in sociology will help you get the opportunity straight after college, but a postgraduate degree makes you competitive. You can also build your experience through temporary and freelance survey interviewer opportunities.
You can be employed in charity organizations, local government departments, small and large research agencies, central government, and higher education institutions.
The mean annual pay for social researchers in the US is $90,000. The highest professionals earn more than $125,000 a year, which makes this one of the best high-paying jobs with a sociology degree.
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7. Social worker
Working as a social worker should be on your list as it is one of the high-paying jobs with a sociology degree. Social workers offer advice to people facing challenges such as family problems, unemployment, housing, finances, health, or work situations.
Your knowledge of social institutions and social dynamics will help you solve social issues. There are employment opportunities in universities, trade unions, local authorities, and charities such as homes for the aged.
And, due to a low number of paid positions, having volunteer experience gives you an upper hand in the job market. The mean annual pay for social workers in the U.S. is $64,940, with the highest pay of up to $96,000 a year.
Here is a short overview of what being a social worker entails. Video courtesy: Loma Linda University Health.
8. Youth worker
If you have a passion for supporting young people, look for an opportunity to work as a youth worker. A youth worker helps people aged 11-25 facing personal, educational, social development, and safety issues.
You can work in youth centers, schools, faith-based groups, and colleges. Apart from a sociology degree, relevant work experience with youths is a plus.
The mean annual pay for youth workers in the United States is $35,170, with the highest-paid earning more than $53,000 a year.
9. High school teacher
Your degree in sociology opens the door for you to work as a high school teacher. Your main responsibility will be to teach your subject of interest and engage the students in learning to shape their future.
After earning your degree, you will have to undertake a teaching internship and pass a teaching and subject-based test to be licensed in your state of choice.
High school teachers earn different salaries depending on their state, but their mean annual salary in the U.S. is about $67,340. There are high school teachers who earn more than $102,000 annually, which also makes this one of the most fulfilling high-paying jobs with a sociology degree.
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10. Life coach
Life coaching is an open opportunity for everyone as it doesn’t need any specific qualification. However, sociologists are better suited for the job as they have a deeper understanding of the human behavior and interactions of people.
Life coaches empower their clients by helping them identify their strengths and development areas. And, to gain trust from clients, you will need to have undergone life coaching training in accredited institutions.
The mean annual salary for life coaches in the U.S. is $42,348 with the top earners getting more than $66,000 a year.
11. Public relations (PR) officer
Public relations officers manage the image and reputation of a company through deliberate public campaigns. In this role, social skills learned from a degree in sociology come in handy.
Sociologists understand the people interactions and therefore communicate key messages to the target audience for better understanding between stakeholders. PR officers achieve the company’s objectives by researching stakeholders’ expectations and concerns and advising on the best way to address them.
The opportunity is open to all graduates, but a degree in sociology sets you apart. Increase your chances through volunteer programs or pursuing a postgraduate in PR.
12. Family support worker
A family support worker’s main role is to support families undergoing difficulties in life. They offer practical help and emotional support needed by the family to stay together.
You will handle matters related to homelessness, bereavement, and domestic abuse while working hand in hand with social workers.
There is no specific degree requirement, but graduates in sociology have the upper hand. Of importance is to build work experience with youths, children, and families for better employment chances.
The mean annual pay for family support workers in the U.S. is $36,711 with the highest-paid professional earning more than $50,000 a year.
High-paying jobs with a sociology degree takeaways
There are dozens of high-paying jobs with a sociology degree, and we have highlighted just a few. Other jobs require a degree in sociology, while some are open to all graduates. It is imperative to identify your career interest, build experience, and start sending applications to organizations you want to work for. Sooner or later, you will look at your payslip with an appreciation for your hard work!