Study human society and social behavior by examining the groups and social institutions that people form, as well as various social, religious, political, and business organizations. May study the behavior and interaction of groups, trace their origin and growth, and analyze the influence of group activities on individual members.
Sample of reported job titles: Research Associate, Research Coordinator, Research Scientist, Research Specialist, Social Scientist, Sociologist
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Tasks | Technology Skills | Tools Used | Knowledge | Skills | Abilities | Work Activities | Detailed Work Activities | Work Context | Job Zone | Education | Credentials | Interests | Work Styles | Work Values | Related Occupations | Wages & Employment | Job Openings | Additional Information
- Analyze and interpret data to increase the understanding of human social behavior.
- Collect data about the attitudes, values, and behaviors of people in groups, using observation, interviews, and review of documents.
- Prepare publications and reports containing research findings.
- Plan and conduct research to develop and test theories about societal issues such as crime, group relations, poverty, and aging.
- Teach sociology.
- Develop, implement, and evaluate methods of data collection, such as questionnaires or interviews.
- Present research findings at professional meetings.
- Develop approaches to the solution of groups’ problems, based on research findings in sociology and related disciplines.
- Direct work of statistical clerks, statisticians, and others who compile and evaluate research data.
- Observe group interactions and role affiliations to collect data, identify problems, evaluate progress, and determine the need for additional change.
- Consult with and advise individuals such as administrators, social workers, and legislators regarding social issues and policies, as well as the implications of research findings.
- Develop problem intervention procedures, using techniques such as interviews, consultations, role playing, and participant observation of group interactions.
- Collaborate with research workers in other disciplines.
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- Accounting software — Fund accounting software
- Analytical or scientific software — IBM SPSS Statistics ; SAS ; StataCorp Stata; VERBI MAXQDA (see all 10 examples)
- Customer relationship management CRM software — Salesforce software
- Data base user interface and query software — Data entry software; Microsoft Access ; QSR International NVivo; Qualtrics Research Suite (see all 5 examples)
- Desktop publishing software — Microsoft Publisher
- Document management software — Adobe Systems Adobe Acrobat
- Electronic mail software — Email software; Microsoft Outlook
- Enterprise resource planning ERP software — SAP software
- Geographic information system — ESRI ArcGIS software
- Graphics or photo imaging software — Adobe Systems Adobe Photoshop
- Information retrieval or search software — Online reference databases
- Internet browser software — Web browser software
- Object or component oriented development software — R
- Object oriented data base management software — Database management system DBMS
- Office suite software — Microsoft Office
- Operating system software — Microsoft Windows
- Presentation software — Microsoft PowerPoint
- Process mapping and design software — Microsoft Visio
- Project management software — Microsoft Project
- Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel
- Web page creation and editing software — Adobe Systems Adobe Dreamweaver; Facebook ; Social media sites ; Web editing software
- Word processing software — Helios TextPad; Microsoft Word
Hot Technology — a technology requirement frequently included in employer job postings.
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- Sociology and Anthropology — Knowledge of group behavior and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures, and their history and origins.
- English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Education and Training — Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
- Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
- Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
- History and Archeology — Knowledge of historical events and their causes, indicators, and effects on civilizations and cultures.
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- Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
- Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others’ reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
- Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
- Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
- Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
- Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- Learning Strategies — Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
- Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
- Instructing — Teaching others how to do something.
- Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- Science — Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
- Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others’ actions.
- Persuasion — Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.
- Systems Analysis — Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
- Time Management — Managing one’s own time and the time of others.
- Service Orientation — Actively looking for ways to help people.
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- Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
- Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
- Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Originality — The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.
- Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
- Fluency of Ideas — The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
- Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
- Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
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- Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
- Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Working with Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
- Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Communicating with People Outside the Organization — Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Coaching and Developing Others — Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.
- Judging the Qualities of Objects, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
- Providing Consultation and Advice to Others — Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.
- Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
- Developing Objectives and Strategies — Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.
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Detailed Work Activities
- Conduct research on social issues.
- Interpret research or operational data.
- Collect information from people through observation, interviews, or surveys.
- Prepare scientific or technical reports or presentations.
- Plan social sciences research.
- Instruct college students in social sciences or humanities disciplines.
- Develop methods of social or economic research.
- Present research results to others.
- Supervise scientific or technical personnel.
- Advise others on matters of public policy.
- Design psychological or educational treatment procedures or programs.
- Coordinate cross-disciplinary research programs.
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- Electronic Mail — 95% responded “Every day.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 82% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 77% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Duration of Typical Work Week — 91% responded “More than 40 hours.”
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 59% responded “Every day.”
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 68% responded “Every day.”
- Level of Competition — 55% responded “Highly competitive.”
- Spend Time Sitting — 64% responded “More than half the time.”
- Letters and Memos — 50% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Contact With Others — 45% responded “Contact with others most of the time.”
- Public Speaking — 73% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 32% responded “Extremely important.”
- Telephone — 32% responded “Every day.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 41% responded “Very important.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 36% responded “Important results.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 41% responded “Once a year or more but not every month.”
- Time Pressure — 45% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 27% responded “Very important.”
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|Title||Job Zone Five: Extensive Preparation Needed|
|Education||Most of these occupations require graduate school. For example, they may require a master’s degree, and some require a Ph.D., M.D., or J.D. (law degree).|
|Related Experience||Extensive skill, knowledge, and experience are needed for these occupations. Many require more than five years of experience. For example, surgeons must complete four years of college and an additional five to seven years of specialized medical training to be able to do their job.|
|Job Training||Employees may need some on-the-job training, but most of these occupations assume that the person will already have the required skills, knowledge, work-related experience, and/or training.|
|Job Zone Examples||These occupations often involve coordinating, training, supervising, or managing the activities of others to accomplish goals. Very advanced communication and organizational skills are required. Examples include pharmacists, lawyers, astronomers, biologists, clergy, neurologists, and veterinarians.|
|SVP Range||(8.0 and above)|
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Percentage of Respondents
|Education Level Required|
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Interest code: IAS Want to discover your interests? Take the O*NET Interest Profiler at My Next Move.
- Investigative — Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
- Artistic — Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.
- Social — Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.
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- Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Independence — Job requires developing one’s own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Self-Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
- Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others’ needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
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- Achievement — Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
- Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
- Recognition — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious. Corresponding needs are Advancement, Authority, Recognition and Social Status.
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Wages & Employment Trends
|Median wages (2020)||$41.40 hourly, $86,110 annual|
|Employment (2020)||3,000 employees|
|Projected growth (2020-2030)||Slower than average (1% to 5%)|
|Projected job openings (2020-2030)||300|
|Top industries (2020)||
Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2020 wage data and 2020-2030 employment projections . “Projected growth” represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2020-2030). “Projected job openings” represent openings due to growth and replacement.
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Job Openings on the Web
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Sources of Additional Information
Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.
- American Association for the Advancement of Science
- American Educational Research Association
- American Evaluation Association
- American Public Health Association
- American Sociological Association
- Association for Applied and Clinical Sociology
- Association for the Study of Higher Education
- Eastern Sociological Society
- Occupational Outlook Handbook: Sociologists
- Population Association of America
- Rural Sociological Society
- Society for the Study of Social Problems
- Sociologists for Women in Society
- Southern Sociological Society
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