Sociologist/Political Scientist

Sociologists work in a behavioral science area that studies individuals as well as groups and organizations. These science careers research how businesses and governments make decisions, implement policy, and respond to change and stress. They study how social culture influences individuals and groups, analyze their findings, and use this research to form theories. Another closely related field is that of political scientist. Most of their research and work is based on interactions among governments and between governments and the people. Their work is used to predict interactions between groups and governments.

Many sociologists work as policy analysts for government or private corporations. They may perform market research for private companies. About 63 percent of political scientists work for the federal government. Some with doctoral degrees will find positions as university professors.

Those with bachelor’s degrees can find jobs with titles such as market analyst, research assistant, or policy analyst. In both of these fields, the person with a master’s or doctoral degree has a better chance of finding a position.

Sociologists and political scientists spend most of their time in offices. They may be in the field doing surveys and spend some time in libraries doing research. Those at the college and university levels have split schedules among teaching, researching, and writing papers.

In 2008, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) stated that there were 4,900 sociologists and 4,100 political scientists. While 63 percent of political scientists work for the federal government, 37 percent of sociologists teach in colleges, universities, or high schools.

Growth in these occupations will be higher than the average for all professions. Sociologists will see a growth rate of 21 percent from 2008 to 2018, much faster than average. This will be driven by the interaction between the discipline of sociology and other professions. More organizations, companies, nonprofits, and educational institutions will employ the methods of sociology. Political science positions will grow at a faster-than-average rate, too, 19 percent. They will be needed not only by government agencies but also by corporations, nonprofits, and civic organizations.

Last Updated: 06/05/2014

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