Achieved Status: Definition & Examples

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  • 0:01 What Is an Achieved Status?
  • 2:25 Examples
  • 2:51 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Yolanda Williams

Yolanda has taught college Psychology and Ethics, and has a doctorate of philosophy in counselor education and supervision.

Did you know that 'lawyer' and 'doctor' are both examples of achieved status? Learn more about achieved status from examples, and test your knowledge with a quiz.

What Is an Achieved Status?

Achieved status refers to a position one holds in a social system that one attains based on merit or effort. But what does that really mean?

Meet Lionel. He is a 30-year-old African American male from California. He is an only child who was raised on a farm. Though both of his parents were farmers, Lionel knew at an early age he wanted to be a doctor. Lionel worked hard to excel in high school and college and was eventually accepted into the medical school of his choice. Now, at the age of 30, Lionel works as a medical doctor at a hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. It was there that he met his wife, with whom he has one son.

Lionel has several statuses, some that he has earned and others that he was born with. Lionel was born as an African-American, male, and the son of farmers. These are examples of ascribed statuses, which are positions one holds in a social system that a person is born into. Race, sex, birth order, and ethnicity are all examples of ascribed statuses.

In contrast, our achieved statuses are positions that we have earned or chosen. Our achieved statuses are largely dictated by our abilities, skills, and life choices. Lionel's achieved statuses include being a doctor, husband, and father. In order to obtain an achieved status, certain requirements must be met. In order for Lionel to become a doctor, he had to first graduate from high school, college, med school, then find a job as a doctor. Once Lionel met these requirements, he achieved the status of a doctor.

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