Careers in Education

Sociology coursework provides a solid basis for a wide variety of educational, administrative, and student services careers. In K-12 settings, sociology majors often become teachers, building and district administrators, or research consultants on educational issues. Careers in higher education open to those with undergraduate sociology training include college admissions officer, alumni relations, student services professional, and career counselor.

Sociology students specifically interested in teaching should be aware that they will need to be certified. Becoming a teacher or administrator, particularly in a public school, generally requires college coursework geared toward teacher preparation beyond the sociology BA, such as an MA or MS in teaching (either elementary or secondary).

Whether or not you acquire an advanced degree, as a sociology major you will develop skills that will help you be successful in an education-related career. Discuss your future plans with your advisor and other faculty members when drawing up your course schedule.

There are many sociology courses that could help you prepare for an education-related career. Plan your coursework with your particular goals in mind. If you are interested in becoming a career counselor at a college or university, for example, you should take courses such as Sociology of Professions and Occupations (SOC 343) and Social Inequality (SOC 340).

Future teachers would benefit from coursework on such topics as Sociology of Education (SOC 346), The Family (SOC 351), and Urbanization and Community Organization (SOC 433). You might also want to seek out related coursework in other disciplines.

In addition to classes, internships, work study positions, research assistantships, or volunteer work related to your specific career goals are valuable investments in your future. For example, students who wish to become teachers could seek out summer internships working in academic-oriented summer programs for youth. Many non-profit organizations are also likely to have paid or volunteer opportunities that would provide relevant experiences. Volunteering as a tutor or youth mentor would also provide valuable experiences for those seeking teaching careers. If you wish to become a consultant in educational settings, seek opportunities to become a research assistant on faculty research projects for credit. Work study positions in admissions or student services can also help you determine if obtaining a long-term career in one of these areas would be right for you.