Social Science Careers

A career in social science can be a rewarding way to put study into practice. Opportunities in this career path include positions that use research and data to understand and improve society. Many of the top careers in social science are also expected to grow faster than average in the next ten years due to the need for qualified individuals to analyze data and trends.

Anthropologists study many different cultural backgrounds through artifacts, research, and statistical analysis. The primary goal of anthropology is to understand human behavior and improve human conditions. An anthropologist’s job description includes collecting data and statistical information to create reports about people and communities. Anthropologists must combine knowledge of biology, evolution, and archeology with current data and trends to help solve social problems. Students interested in anthropology must be prepared to study biology, statistics, and history. Individuals can gain entry into the field upon receiving a master’s degree from an accredited university. The median pay for this occupation is $54,230 per year. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job outlook for anthropologists is expected to grow faster than average. As the world becomes more global, anthropologists can help governments and organizations understand and work with other cultures. Related job titles may include archeologist, ethnologist, cultural specialist, or development officer.

Economists gather and interpret economic data. The data may come from businesses, governments, and organizations. Economists then present this data in a way that others can understand. These professionals may also provide consulting advice and suggest solutions to economic problems. Economists work heavily with numerical data, financial statements, and fiscal reports. A student interested in economics should have a strong proficiency in math, quantitative science, and data interpretation. The student should also be ready to work as professional, and have strong communication skills to present data to clients. To get an entry level job, a individual will need a bachelor’s degree in economics from an accredited university. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual pay for an economist was $89,450 in 2010. Related job titles for economists may include business analyst, market research analyst, financial planner, or financial adviser.

Post-secondary teachers instruct students in a range of settings beyond secondary school. These individuals work at colleges, universities, and research centers. Post-secondary teachers also conduct research in their field of specialization and publish research papers and books. Students interested in becoming post-secondary teachers must have a strong aptitude for reading comprehension, writing, and evaluation. Professionals in this field must know how to interpret data objectively and work well with people from a variety of backgrounds. Time management and ability to work in groups to solve problems is also important. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual pay for post-secondary teachers is $62,050 per year. Many post-secondary teachers also gain employment as consultants or experts in their field. Individuals need a doctorate or professional degree to begin work in this position. Graduate students may gain teaching experience during school to help prepare for work in the field. Related job titles may include professors, educators, and social scientists.

Social psychologists study the behavior of people from a variety of backgrounds in order to understand group dynamics within society. A social psychologist does extensive research and gathers quantitative and qualitative data from individuals and groups. Students interested in this profession should work well with empirical data and statistics. Oral communication and listening skills are a must, since many social psychologists also provide counseling or mediation services. The median annual salary of social psychologists can range from $68,640 to $89,900 per year. Depending on the position, individuals need to have a master’s, specialist, or doctorate degree to begin work in the field. In addition, psychologists must pass a license exam in order to begin work in most states. Related job titles include counselor, behavior analyst, mediator, and social educator.

Social workers provide social welfare and human rights services to improve the lives of others. These professionals use research analysis and data to put service projects directly into practice. Social workers may either help individuals solve problems in daily life, or use social knowledge in clinics to help patients. This job is best suited for individuals who can work well with others on a personal level. Individuals need a bachelor’s degree in social work or a related social science major to begin work in the field. A master’s in social work may also be required to advance to leadership positions. Most states require social workers to obtain a license to practice. The median annual pay for social workers ranges from $39,250 to $42,480 per year. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job outlook for social work is expected to grow faster than average. Related job titles for social workers include correctional specialists, rehabilitation counselors, school social workers, direct-service social workers, and clinical counselors.

Survey researchers collect and analyze social science data. Employers typically hire these individuals to design professional surveys and present reports with factual data. Survey researchers may work for research agencies, polling firms, non-profit organizations, or corporations. This position is best suited for an individual with strong aptitude in statistics, data, and human resource activities. To obtain work in the field, individuals must have a bachelor’s degree in a social science discipline such as psychology or political science. Courses should include research methods and statistics in order to learn how to create professional surveys. The median annual salary for a survey researcher is $36,050 per year. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job outlook for this position is expected to grow faster than average. Related job titles include market research analyst, survey poll analyst, public opinion analyst, and policy adviser.