So you thing you want to become a behavior sociologist. Behavior sociologists examine the way society functions in an attempt to explain human behavior. This includes studying societal causes and results of group and individual actions. Sociologists may work in research and development, education, government, and technical consulting. Professionals may need to travel for sociological research or interviews. Most workers have full-time schedules.
|Degree Level||Master's; often a doctoral degree is required|
|Experience||Internships as well as teaching or research assistantships can be helpful|
|Key Skills||Analytical, problem-solving, and critical thinking skills|
|Median Salary||$73,760 (for all sociologists)|
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
Step 1: Obtain a Bachelor's Degree
Behavior sociologists must have at least a bachelor's degree, though they typically need to earn a master's or doctoral degree. Relevant courses include social psychology, sociological theory, and social problems. Students can also begin to learn research methods to collect and analyze statistical data. Those who have earned a bachelor's degree in sociology can find work in social service agencies, management, and sales. They can also get administrative or marketing positions.
Develop writing skills. After conducting research, sociologists will need to write up a summary of their results.
Develop good communication skills. It's important for sociologists to have strong communication skills since they'll need to interview people, interact with other sociologists, and talk about their research.
Acquire work experience. Behavioral sociology majors often have opportunities to participate in internships with nonprofit organizations or public agencies to acquire real-world experience. Another option for obtaining work experience is getting a teaching and/or research assistantship.
Step 2: Pursue a Master's and a Doctorate
A master's degree might qualify candidates for some positions in teaching and research, but most universities seek professors and researchers with a doctoral degree. Students might choose a traditional master's program in sociology, which can prepare them for a doctoral program, or a clinical or applied master's program, which can prepare them to conduct research for organizations.
A doctoral program in sociology can prepare graduates to apply sociological methods to business environments. For example, behavior sociologists might address the issue of job satisfaction or propose strategies to motivate the workforce. Sociologists also can focus in areas such as health, gender, aging, education, and race relations. Students in master's and Ph.D. programs often take courses in research methodology as well as statistics.
Step 3: Consider Career Options
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, sociologists could experience 18% job growth between 2010 and 2020; those with a doctorate were expected to have the best job prospects. Sociologists have a variety of skills that can be applied to professions that deal with social behavior. Those with a doctoral degree also can find work as professors or researchers in government, nonprofit organizations, or corporations.
Step 4: Join a Professional Organization
Sociologists working in the academic sphere and looking to advance in the field should consider joining an organization with helpful career resources, such as the American Sociological Association (ASA). Membership with the ASA has many benefits, including a yearly networking event, a newsletter with sociology news, grant opportunities, and an online job board.
Obtaining a bachelor's degree, pursuing advanced degrees, considering different career options, and joining professional organizations are great steps towards a career as a behavior sociologist.