Sociology is a field of study that looks at the way people interact with other people and institutions. Any good bachelor’s degree program in sociology teaches students to think critically about current and historical social issues, research and analyze empirical data, and come up with ideas to change the social world for the better. Graduates with a bachelor’s degree in sociology are well-suited to go into many different fields, and some may find careers in the legal field particularly fulfilling.
Some legal careers require students to complete a law school degree, but sociology students, who are interested in starting a law career immediately after college, may consider working as a paralegal. Paralegals assist lawyers by doing things like organizing files, researching laws and drafting documents. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for paralegals was $46,680 in 2010. Job openings in the field are expected to grow by about 18% from 2010 to 2020, keeping up with the national average projection for job growth. One path to becoming a paralegal is to earn an associate’s degree or certificate in paralegal studies, but some firms will also hire college graduates and train them.
Probation or Parole Officer Careers
Going into the correctional field is another law career path that sociology students can pursue after earning a bachelor’s degree. Probation and parole officers work with criminal offenders after they have served their punishment, in order to prevent them from committing more crimes. The work can be demanding, and probation officers may have to meet many court-imposed deadlines, fill out extensive paperwork and occasionally travel. Their median salary was $47,200 in 2010, and job openings are expected to grow at a rate of 18%.
Educational requirements for police officers vary by city, but most cities require that officers at least have an associate’s degree; however, a bachelor’s degree in sociology, criminal justice or a related field can strengthen an applicant’s chances. In addition to responding to crimes and patrolling routes, police officers also monitor events, fill out paperwork and assist ordinary citizens. The average salary of a rookie officer varies widely per city, but the national average is $25,000-$45,000. There are opportunities for promotion as a police officer, and most departments offer excellent benefits.
Other Law Careers
There are many other law careers available for students with a bachelor’s in sociology, including working in forensic investigations, teaching law school, becoming an attorney or working in judicial affairs. Many of these careers require completing a law degree or sociology doctorate program, and students interested in these careers can expect to complete a minimum of four more years of academic coursework. No matter what the route, a bachelor’s degree in sociology is an excellent stepping stone for a law career.