When you think of exciting, exotic careers, sociology might not be the first thing on your list. It’s true that, traditionally, sociologists have run into some challenges when trying to move beyond the academic world and apply their insights to situations “on the job.” That said, sociology majors have their secrets and advantages — just like English majors who, for example, constitute a large percentage of future attorneys and judges.
When it comes to the direction of a sociology major’s career, there’s more than meets the eye. In fact, a life of intellectual exploration can be yours even if you’ve chosen to forgo the relative safety of the university life. If adventure is more your speed, you don’t have to leave all the world travel to the anthropologists. Truth be told, sociology majors have just as much potential for wild and exotic careers as their other social science cohorts.
Here are three of the most exotic careers for sociology majors, frequent travel included:
While law is the most common background for politicians and political science is a common route into “routine” civil service, diplomats frequently benefit from a strong background in sociology. Why? Well, diplomats can’t afford to be too attached to the cultural norms of their home country. They must be able to function as representatives while adapting to the expectations of their host nation.
Whether your ultimate goal is to be the “head of mission” helping shape international policy or any member of an embassy’s support and planning staff, sociology prepares you to apply important critical thinking skills to complex cultural situations. Few others in the liberal arts come prepared with the ability to roll with the punches and appreciate the enculturation process the way sociology majors do.
There’s a lot hidden behind the simple word “consultant.” You might think that the average sociology major would have trouble finding a place in business, but the truth is a little more complex. With the right combination of experience, including research and statistical modeling skills, a sociologist can find his or her way to cutting edge research right in the modern international workplace.
Business consultants are used by firms for a number of purposes. A sociologist might be called upon to help train executives in the norms of another country, observe activities in the workplace to find and minimize areas of social conflict and much more. Quantitative analysis is key in these roles, as they help the sociologist’s clients see the bottom line value of integrating new practices and policies.
3) City Management
The city manager is found where sociological skill meets public service. Especially in times like these, cities aim to implement “results-based” management to handle issues like resource scarcity, economic development and education. Sociology majors offer real results — through qualitative evaluation and bridge-building between a city’s diverse populations — along with the humane basis to make lasting change work for everyone.
Modern city managers benefit highly from being able to interview, survey and observe the public. Empowering cities with the ability to follow through from sociological insight to complete policy means being able to work with both privileged actors and subaltern populations — a true “cross section” of the citizenry sociology majors are uniquely adept at working with. Plus, good city managers are widely sought around the country.
Although many sociology majors might aspire to become professors, their options in public service and the professional sphere are wide open. Those who enjoy travel and helping others are particularly well-positioned to find satisfying and globe-trotting careers with a hint of the exotic.
About the Author
Renee Moss is a social worker and guest author at Best Sociology Programs, a site with guides to the top-rated sociology degree programs online.