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Sociology is the scientific study of the human social life in regards to lifestyles, consequences, reactions to change, causes and behaviors. Sociologists study different people groups to learn more about their organizational structure, communication and society. People groups can include gang members, religious groups, communities, gender, race and social classes. Sociology is broad in scope and careers in this study largely involve working with people.
As a sociologist, a career in criminal justice can include working as a police officer or as a probation officer. A sociology degree is helpful in a criminal justice vocation because you must have a good understanding about human relations and cultural diversity, as well as how race, age and socioeconomic status can influence a community. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that police officers earned a median annual wage of $51,410 in 2008. This figure does not include the overtime hours officers generally work. The BLS states that probation officers earned a median annual wage of $45,910 in 2008.
Community Health Educator
A sociologist working as a community health educator can help make a difference regarding the delivery of health care in a community. Health educators work with individuals and community groups to help them access health care services and adopt a healthy lifestyle. These professionals gather data to learn more about a community’s health needs in order to plan and implement educational groups and programs, such as teen smoking cessation groups. A community health educator may also help draft policies to help improve the health education services in a community. Sociologists in this field are familiar with the performance and behavior or those they serve, as well as social trends, group behaviors and societal trends. The BLS states that community health educators earned an annual median salary of $44,000 in 2008.
Clinical sociologists study human behaviors and societies professionally. They study the groups that cultures form, such as religious or political groups. Studies may include the growth and origin of a group, as well as the influence a group may have on an individual person. Part of the data a clinical sociologist collects includes the values, behaviors, and attitudes of those studied by methods of observation, data previously recorded and interviews. With the data collected, a clinical sociologist makes hypothesis about issues in a society he studies, such as drug use or poverty, and publishes his findings in reports for private or public use. The BLS states that in 2008, a clinical sociologist earned a median annual income of $68,570.
Family Services Social Worker
Social workers earned a median wage of $39,530 per year in 2008, according to the BLS. Social workers who work with families work with children and their parents or guardians to improve the psychological and social dynamics, as well as promote academic success. Family service social workers may work with abused children and youth, support those in the foster care system, assist single parents or aid in the adoption of children. This professional may also work in a school to help consult on issues such as truancy, teen pregnancy, misbehavior, drug use or student dropout rates. A family social worker may meet with clients on a regular basis to help them set personal goals and learn positive behavioral and communication skills.
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- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; Social Workers; December 2009
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; Police and Detectives; December 2009
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists; December 2009
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; Health Educators; December 2009
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; Sociologists and Political Scientists; December 2009
Flora Richards-Gustafson has been writing professionally since 2003. She creates copy for websites, marketing materials and printed publications. Richards-Gustafson specializes in SEO and writing about small-business strategies, health and beauty, interior design, emergency preparedness and education. Richards-Gustafson received a Bachelor of Arts from George Fox University in 2003 and was recognized by Cambridge's "Who's Who" in 2009 as a leading woman entrepreneur.