Social Scientists practice their trade in studying levels of human behavior, their relationships, and how those dynamics impact groups in their societies they live.
As researchers, social scientists provide crucial insights into varying ways individuals, groups, and how institutions that exist within them influence the decision-making processes, how they exercise their power, and how positively or negatively respond to change.
Is Social Sciences a good degree?
A social sciences degree with a major in economics or political science is certainly one of the most sought after graduating career routes as they are more likely to secure a high paying employment role than those with a major in arts or science graduates.
In fact, most social scientists who major in economics end up working as Financial or Securities Investments Analyst while those who major in political science are destined to get hired as Intelligence Analysts or Marketing research consultants.
Careers in sociology are slowly becoming the most demanding. Whether it is a research in ancient and modern civilizations or studies on the environment, if you have a passion for research, discovering and writing, a career in sociology is just what you require.
Mainly, a social science degree prepares graduates and rewarding careers. The program enables you to attain lucrative skills, such as critical thinking, research, and analytical skills.
A candidate gains these skills throughout the program, but they are geared to prepare the social scientist for a wide range of specialties including economist, psychologist, political scientist, and historian.
Social science opens up a lot of opportunities for a lot of jobs, but this greatly depends on the level of education. Individuals with an associate degree can get jobs such as Social and Human Service Assistant, Financial Clerk or Bookkeeping.
A bachelor’s degree, on the other hand, will set you up for jobs such as Data Analyst, Museum Technician or High School Teacher, among others.
Master’s and doctorate graduates will be able to work in job positions like Historian, Political Scientist, Professor and Provost or Dean- just to mention a few.
What is this career like?
In terms of the day to day duties and responsibilities of social scientists, it greatly depends on the field of study that the Candidate chooses.
In broad terms, here are the various duties that a social scientist is expected to complete:
Conduct various researches on the tasks that have been required.
As a social scientist, research is a very important part of your work. Your research should be done at an expert level. It is just as important to ensure that the research data is coming from reliable and trustworthy sources.
Presentation of work to the stakeholders of the project.
These may include clients (for independent works), government officials, and private organizations. Also, sociologists can include their findings in lectures, for the social scientists that work in universities or high schools.
Some social scientists are required to do field work.
A good example of these types of social scientists are archeologists, anthropologists and geographers. In this case, they may even travel and live in minimalist conditions until they complete a project or until they make an enough investigation.
In terms of the number of hours of work, most sociologists have regular hours, just as much as people in other careers.
One thing worth noting is that most work by sociologists is done as part of a research team. This yields more benefits because data is collected by team members, which will lead to collective findings, hence a collective conclusion.
Some independent sociologists may choose to work alone, in which case they will be required to write a report of their findings.
Generally, sociologists do their work in their office. In most cases, the social scientist may travel around the country or around the world in order to collect the necessary information for the type of study underway.
Since they travel, they may need to learn to adjust to different cultures, environments and languages.
Those social scientists that are employed by colleges and universities will usually have flexible working schedules, in which, they will have the choice to divide their time among doing research, writing, consulting, their day to day administrative duties and, of course, lecturing.
What skills are needed?
There are various skills that can set you up for success in this comprehensive scope of social science.
While it may depend on the specific direction that one chooses, a social scientist will often study and assess past civilizations, examine individual motivations, and analyze behavior types based on a number of circumstances.
Social science majors are geared towards strengthening analytical, critical thinking, and research abilities.
On top of that, they build strong communication as well as problem-solving skills which are essential in numerous career options. The skills gained from varying coursework, internships, and research papers benefit social science majors just after graduation.
The following are the skills that are required as well as gained in the field of social science.
In social science majors, analytical skills are the most essential skills that a graduate gains. With these skills, social scientists, regardless of the specific program or specialization, will use these skills in assessing different situations, whether it is in human behavior, organizations, or the society as a whole.
Generally, critical thinking is defined as the application of know and study in a particular field, investigating and applying the right choices based on the findings and other researched factors.
As a social scientist, critical thinking is one very vital skills that will make your stand out as an expert in your discipline.
Besides that, it can really assist you to set a lot of good facts in your study, especially when you decide to publish your ideas and research studies in a book.
When it comes to becoming a social scientist, you will need to do a lot of research. This involves reading other social scientists’ publications, keeping updated with daily news and collecting data from several other sources.
Research skills assist graduates in finding their chosen jobs in various governmental organizations, private companies, Non-Governmental Organizations as well as in colleges and universities as educators.
Social scientists need excellent communication skills which should comprise both written and oral communication skills. With these skills, sociologists will be able to report their research findings properly.
Alternatively, these skills will also give the sociologist the ability to collaborate with other research personnel on future projects.
Most times, social scientists that specialize in fields such as anthropology end up spending a lot of years or doing research on things such as artifacts and publications from old societies before coming up with a conclusion.
Concentrations Available to Social Science Majors
As mentioned earlier, the social sciences cover a broad variety of majors, such as psychology, economics, political science, history, and sociology.
Most of these programs are similar and they give you similar abilities in things like analysis, detail orientation and communication skills.
Even though they might have those similarities, they are, in true sense, different programs, hence they prepare graduates for different careers as well.
Social science includes a variety of majors and this greatly depends on the school itself. In most universities, you are likely to find the following programs available.
Economics majors encompasses microeconomics, which reviews the decisions of individual consumers and organizations, as well as macroeconomics, which scrutinizes overall economies.
Generally, economics involves studying just how individuals and organizations make financial choices, including how to distribute resources.
This part is self-explanatory. Historical studies examines the past, from ancient civilizations to modern cultures. Here, you have the option to study a specific field or theme.
Students may study themes such as World history or US, with the option to specialize in a further subfields like military history, 19th-century empires, or political history.
In political science, you have many options of majors such as political institutions, government organizations and of course, our favorite part (or at least to most of us), the elections.
Generally, students study political movements over time, theories about politics as well as globalization. After then, you can specialize in more specific areas like American legislation, political philosophy, or international affairs.
Sociology incorporates human social relationships and institutions. In this course, you are able to scrutinize social phenomena like the family and the state, and crime.
Furthermore, you can be able to recognize human exploits, collective structures, and shared views within one or more cultures.
What is the pay?
In term of the reimbursement, this greatly varies on the graduates’ chosen field of study, not forgetting the type and size of the organization as well.
Some people choose to go for a program that will allow them to work in various fields simultaneously. These are called versatile degrees. While this degree allows social science graduates work in many industries, it doesn’t give make you an expert since you are covering a lot of things.
According to PayScale, social science careers generally offer above-average salary potential, with entry-level economists making about $57,000 a year.
Countless factors affect the salary of a social science major, including a worker’s industry, job title, experience, and degree.
For instance, a psychologist is expected to receive more than a historian since their qualification includes an additional licensure and education requirements.
In normal settings, as a professional gains experience or earns a higher degree (like a doctoral or a license), their salary increases.
What is the career outlook?
The market for sociology, unlike that of other careers, is principally low, which you do not have much competition in this sector.
However, the demand for social scientists is expected to rise by 5% in the year 2025. With the right amount of passion, sociology is a career worth pursuing.
What education is required?
In normal circumstances, an associate degree in social science prepares graduates for careers such as legal assistants or social service assistants- just to mention a few.
When a person gains a bachelor’s degree in social science, for instance, he/she meets the requirements for many positions that require extensive research, analytical, and writing skills. As such, social scientists will find jobs that allow them to be data and market research analysts.
The graduates that possess a master’s degree in social science will obviously have a lot more opportunities than the social scientist with a bachelor’s or an associate degree. This also means that the master’s holder is likely to get jobs that pay better.
A master’s degree further creates opportunities for higher-level research as well as professional roles in wide number of organizations.
Apart from market research analyst positions opening up for holders of a master’s degree in psychology can attract jobs such as a therapist. On the other hand, doctoral degree holders have an opportunity to work in academic positions.
What can you do with a Social Science Degree?
As we said earlier, social science careers include opportunities in psychology, sociology, economics, political science, and history.
The majority of social science careers offer above-average salaries and chances for further progression. Nonetheless, the careers available to social science majors vary by degree, earning certification or licensure can help specialists progress their careers. Let’s start explaining each one of them
Associate Degree in Social Science
Holders of associate degree in social sciences strengthens the critical thinking and most sought after analytical skills, therefore preparing all graduates for entry-level roles in varying roles available in growing industries that are also lucrative.
As mentioned before, once you have an associate degree in social science, you can rest assured that graduate positions you can pursue includes becoming a paralegal, administrative assistants, and social service assistants.
Possible careers vary by the field or choice of focus by the graduate. As an illustration, a holder of an associate degree in human services, should be set for entry-level roles in social and human services organizations, among others.
On the other hand, an associate degree in economics, for instance, can entice job openings that bookkeeping.
- Administrative Assistant
- Social and Human Service Assistant
- Financial Clerk
Bachelor’s Degree in Social Science
As a professionals with a bachelor’s degree in social science can pursue careers as research associates, analysts, and even educators.
Graduates that have specialized in career aspects such as education have the capability to become high school teachers in subjects such as social studies, geography and other social science-related themes.
Even better, many social science majors also preffer to pursue further graduate-level studies to advance their occupations. This is key for anyone considering to launch a career by persuing a social science bachelor’s program, as students gain analytical, communication, and research skills, which will allow you to trail a career in:
- Social and Community Service Manager
- Data Analyst
- Museum Technician
- High School Teacher
- Market Research Analyst
Master’s Degree in Social Science
If you want to open up the world and reduce competition on the job market, you need a master’s degree in social science., Graduates with a Masters can follow particular roles that are not attainable by holders of either a bachelor’s degree or an associate degree. These are career roles such as economist, historian, social and political scientist positions.
In these careers, social science graduates conduct research and examine data. This helps the graduate in presenting conclusions that are taken from well-researched statistics.
Eventually they may publish their conclusions in peer-reviewed journals, create reports, and even write books. It never gets better.
During a graduate program, social science students will gain specialized training, often completing a master’s assessment and/or hypothesis. These are all the things that aid the graduates to demonstrate their proficiency.
Lastly, a master’s degree will allow a graduate to pursue a career in the following fields:
- Political Scientist
Doctoral Degree in Social Science
Earning a Ph.D. in a social science field prepares alumni for high-level jobs as well careers in academic posts, and not forgetting research positions.
Doctoral students gain an expert-level understanding of their specialism, often broadcasting academic work during their graduate program.
Many academic positions require a Ph.D., including tenure-track professors and academic deans in many institutions of higher learning. These will, as well, attract a higher salary.
Ultimately, a doctoral degree in social sciences will be the solid foundation that will allow you to build the following careers.
- Provost or Dean
- Research Scientist
Careers in social science fields, predominantly for management-level positions have experience necessities every so often.
On the other hand, graduate programs frequently require you to have professional experience through things like research, internships, and various projects that may come along from time to time.
In certain fields, such as psychology, scientific experience makes up the measure of a graduate package.
Political science and history majors also score big in social science as they can participate in faculty research projects to further build their knowledge.
Licensure and Certification
Unlike most careers, like the medical field, many social science careers do not require licensure or further certification for you to become qualified.
For social scientist who have an extra certification, it can help you stand out in the job market as a professional in your field.
Because licensure requirements differ by state and field, hence this requires you, as a graduate, to diligently research the requirements in their specific region and industry as a whole.
To earn this certification, practicing psychologists must first hold a license from their state’s certifying board- that’s after you do your broad research.
After that, candidates need a doctoral degree in psychology from a regionally accredited institution.
Then, candidates must also prove clinical experience and pass the clinical examinations. Also, students are expected to complete clinical hours, during which the candidate will be fully supervised.
City Planning Certification
This second certification is offered by the American Institute of Certified Planners. The City Planning Certification recognizes planning specialists who meet education and capability requirements.
To earn this professional certification, candidates must first pass an examination that covers planning knowledge standards.
Furthermore, these planners should maintain their credential by engaging in continuing education.
This is a certification that is offered to social scientist students that mainly specialize in economics.
The Chartered economist certification is provided by the Global Academy of Finance and Management, and it mostly recognizes knowledgeable economics specialists.
To earn this certification, candidates must first complete a master’s degree in economics, which should indicate a minimum 2.5 GPA or you will need to earn at least 18 credits of economics courses through a well-recognized master’s or even doctoral degree, to further increase your chances.