Sociologist Career Information
What a Sociologist does
Since all human behavior is social, the subject matter of sociology ranges from the intimate family to the hostile mob; from organized crime to religious cults; from the divisions of race, gender and social class to the shared beliefs of a common culture; and from the sociology of work to the sociology of sports.
In fact, few fields have such broad scope and relevance for research, theory, and application of knowledge. Their functions are:
• Research social interaction and social issues such as ethnic relations, gender and social inequalities
• Conduct surveys, interviews, field observations and other investigations into society
• Analyse and interprets information
• Develop and tests theories about society
• Write reports on research findings
• May advise government, businesses or local authorities on social policy
• May teach sociology
Many students choose sociology because they see it as a broad liberal arts base for professions such as education, social work, and counseling. Sociology provides a rich fund of knowledge that directly pertains to each of these fields.
Sociologists can specialize in families, adolescence, or children; the urban community; education; health and medicine; aging and the life course; work and occupations; the environment, science, and technology; economics, social inequality, and social class; race relations, ethnicity, and minorities; sex and gender; sports; culture and the arts; politics, the military, peace, and war; crime, delinquency, law, and justice; social change and social movements; and any other area of human organization. College and university courses reflect these interests, as well as research methods and theory building.
Some of the most fascinating subjects explored by sociologists include:
Sex and gender: Do men and women have different hiring, employment, and promotion experiences? This would be a research question for a sociologist specializing in how sex and gender affect the workplace.
Medical sociology: How is AIDS transmitted (and thus prevented) in different subgroups of the population? How has public opinion about AIDS shifted? These are the concerns of medical sociologists.
Organizations and occupations: Which management styles increase productivity and worker satisfaction would engage the attention of an organizational sociologist.
Family: Are children of divorced parents more likely to divorce, or to reject marriage themselves? What factors predict whether abused children would fare better in foster care or reunited with their birth family? These would be possible subjects for a family sociologist.
Sociologists work in offices, libraries and their own homes. They may work for community groups, schools, polytechnics, universities, government departments or local government. They may travel locally to different clients and to carry out research.
People with degrees in sociology may enter many careers, and the options are increasing. Sociologists teach in colleges and universities, advising students, conducting research, and publishing their work. Sociologists enter the corporate, non-profit, and government worlds as directors of research, policy analysts, consultants, human resource managers, and programme managers. Practicing sociologists with advanced degrees may be called research analysts, survey researchers, gerontologists, statisticians, urban planners, community developers, criminologists, or demographers. Some MA and PhD sociologists obtain specialized training to become counselors, therapists, or program directors in social service agencies.
Today, sociologists embark upon literally hundreds of career paths. Although teaching and conducting research remains the dominant activity among sociologists today, other forms of employment are growing both in number and significance.
In some sectors, sociologists work closely with economists, political scientists, anthropologists, psychologists, social workers, and others, reflecting a growing appreciation of sociology's contributions to interdisciplinary analysis and action.
Career Prospects: The future appears bright for sociologists. There is an increased awareness to understand, improve or solve problems like alcoholism or unemployment, and problems that affect societies, like ethnic conflict or environmental pollution. Some of the best employment prospects may be in policy research and administration, in clinical and applied sociological practice, as well as in the traditional areas of teaching and basic research.
Since its subject matter is intrinsically fascinating, sociology offers valuable preparation for careers in journalism, politics, public relations, business, or public administration--fields that involve investigative skills and working with diverse groups.
All this makes for an optimistic employment picture for sociology graduates. Because of its appeal as a career that is intrinsically fascinating and allows one to contribute to the common good, many talented people are drawn to sociology. The field remains exciting and competitive.
Abilities & Traits Required
Skills: Sociologists need skills in analysing and interpreting information, planning and organisational ability, and an eye for detail. They also need research skills, written and oral communication skills, and an ability to think critically about the social world.
Knowledge: Sociologists need to know about research methods, theories of society and social issues and differences in gender and cultural and religious beliefs. They also need to know about up-to-date information and research.
Personal Qualities: Sociologists need to be accurate, enquiring, adaptable, culturally sensitive, open-minded and imaginative.
In Education, there are a number of possibilities:
• One, you can acquire an MA in Sociology to make a beginning. You will do better with a PhD
• Two, you can have a MA/MSc in Psychology and later do a PhD in Sociology.
• Three, you can have a MSW (Master of Social Work) to get a job. You will of course do better if you acquire a Ph. D after MSW.
• Four, you can have a MA/ M Sc in Anthropology and then do a PhD in Sociology.
• Five, you can be a Master/ MA in Population Studies and then do a PhD in Sociology.
• Six, you can have an MA in Political Science or International Relations or Defence Studies and then a Ph. D in Sociology.
In academic positions, i.e., in research and teaching, one gets about Rs. 25000 a month in the beginning to about Rs. 55000 a month in senior positions.
In industries, though the opportunities are very few, a Sociologist can get about Rs. 30000-40000 a month in the beginning and move up to Rs. 50000-60000 or more a month in senior positions.
In Governments and Government agencies, one can get about Rs. 25000 a month in the beginning, moving up to about Rs. 45000-55000 a month in senior positions.
In NGOs, one can get anything between Rs. 18000 - 35000 a month in the beginning moving up to Rs. 45000 a month or even more in a senior level.