Study Sociology: Bachelor's, Associate & Online Degree Info

About this article
What kind of job can you get with an associate's or bachelor's degree in sociology? Find out associate's and bachelor's degree program requirements, online options and information on courses and careers in sociology.
View available schools

Sociology Degrees: Bachelor's and Associate's Degrees at a Glance

Sociology is a social science field dedicated to studying and tracking various social and cultural trends. An emphasis on data collection sets sociology apart from similar social science fields like anthropology. As sociology major in an associate's or bachelor's degree program, you'll typically graduate with a range of skills and knowledge that qualify you to enter careers in fields like childcare, community organizing, nonprofit work and public advocacy.

In 2010, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected that job growth for sociologists would increase by 18% from 2010-2020, which was slightly above average. Childcare jobs were estimated to grow by 20%, while the figure was only 5% for correctional officers. Social and human service assistant jobs were projected to grow by 28%, probation officers and correctional treatment specialists by 18% and market research analysts by 42%, which was considerably above average.

Associate's Bachelor's
Who is this degree for? People interested in entry-level, sociology-related positions in various industries Individuals who want a career in sociology-related positions, like social work, or who want to continue their education in order to become a professional sociologist
Common Career Paths (with approximate mean annual salary) - Childcare worker ($21,000)*
- Correctional officer or jailer ($43,000)*
- Social and human service assistant ($31,000)*)
- Probation officers or correctional treatment specialist ($52,000)*
- Market research analyst or marketing specialist ($67,000)*
- Social worker ($54,000)*
Sociologist (with further education) ($79,000)*
Time to Completion 1-2 years full-time 3-5 years full-time
Common Graduation Requirements - Roughly 60-90 credit hours
- Exams and essays
- Minimum GPA requirement
- Approximately 110-140 credit hours
- Exams and essays
- Fieldwork requirement (in certain cases)
- Foreign language requirement (in some cases)
Prerequisites High school diploma or a GED High school diploma or a GED
Online Availability Yes Yes

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2011 figures).

Associate's in Sociology

Earning an associate's degree in sociology is often a solid way to segue into a bachelor's degree. Perhaps because sociology is typically such a scholarly pursuit, there are many more options in the world of bachelor's degrees. However, an associate's degree can be a solid way to get started and can also give you a lead to get started in certain professions dealing with social analysis and values. If you're seeking a career in social services or childcare, for example, an associate's degree in sociology can give your resume a solid boost.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • It's usually not particularly difficult to enroll in an associate's degree program in sociology
  • An associate's degree in this field can be used to continue your education
  • There are numerous online options to choose from

Cons

  • Many jobs related to sociology require at least a bachelor's degree
  • Many of the jobs you'll be able to apply for with an associate's degree don't necessarily require one
  • If you plan on continuing your education, it can be difficult to transfer credits from certain associate's degree programs to certain bachelor's degree programs

Courses and Requirements

The courses in an associate's degree program in sociology can vary from college to college, depending on the specialization. The following are simple a few courses that you may encounter:

  • Introduction to sociology
  • Ethnicity and race
  • Human development and growth
  • Alcohol and drug abuse
  • Basic psychology
  • Global issues
  • Human geography
  • Community problems
  • Society and gender
  • Anthropology of culture

Online Degree Options

You may currently be employed in a position that relates to sociology or another discipline entirely. Perhaps you can't attend an on-campus program due to other conflicts. Fortunately, there are a number of sociology programs for you to choose from that offer their courses online.

Getting Ahead With This Degree

There are certain measures that you can take in order to get ahead while earning your associate's degree in sociology. For example, gaining entry-level experience in customer service can be a useful way to start building up your resume. Computer literacy and proficiency in software such as Microsoft Office can also be helpful or even required.

Bachelor's in Sociology

Getting into a bachelor's degree program in sociology is typically more difficult than enrolling in an associate's degree program in the field. A few subjects that you can expect to cover are social structures and systems, cultural change, ethnicity, class conflicts, gender and religion. As you study human behavior and society as a whole, some programs will give you the opportunity to complete internships or attend seminars. Certain programs are also set up with the objective of continuing on to graduate school in mind.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • A bachelor's degree can set you up to continue your education and become a professional sociologist
  • With this degree, you can become a professional social worker and help families and individuals
  • As is the case in an associate's degree program, you can continue working while completing an online program in this discipline

Cons

  • Although you can enter a career related to sociology, a bachelor's degree isn't enough to become a sociologist
  • Bachelor's degree programs in sociology can be time consuming and expensive
  • Many positions in this field require years of field experience in addition to a degree

Courses and Requirements

Besides general education classes, the courses that you can expect to take in a bachelor's degree program in sociology depend largely on your and the your chosen program's area of specialization. A few courses that you can expect to take in various programs are:

  • Public health policy
  • Social psychology and change
  • Macroeconomics
  • World religions
  • Child abuse and poverty
  • Addressing social problems
  • Sociological theories
  • Social inequality
  • Sociology research methods
  • Thinking critically
  • Family sociology

Online Degree Options

Because sociology doesn't typically become a research-intensive, hands-on field of study until the master's and doctorate level, there are many online and hybrid programs for you to choose from. When selecting an online bachelor's degree program in sociology, be sure to make sure that the institution you choose is respected and, most importantly, accredited.

Stand Out With This Degree

While earning your bachelor's degree in sociology, there are numerous steps that you can take in order to stand out in the modern job market. A few suggestions for you to consider are:

  • Completing an internship and volunteer work can be a solid boost to your resume and employment history.
  • If you want to seek employment as a social worker, seeking licensure in your specialized area can be helpful or even required. For example, you might want to earn child welfare licensure from your state.
  • Computer literacy is useful in many jobs related to sociology that you might apply for.

Popular Schools

  • Philadelphia, PA

    University of Pennsylvania

  • Chula Vista, CA

    Southwestern College

  • Cincinnati, OH

    Xavier University

  • Woodland, CA

    Woodland Community College

  • Snyder, TX

    Western Texas College

  • Scottsbluff, NE

    Western Nebraska Community College

  • Saratoga, CA

    West Valley College

  • Culver City, CA

    West Los Angeles College

  • Vincennes, IN

    Vincennes University

  • Victorville, CA

    Victor Valley College

Featured Schools

Southwestern College

Xavier University

Woodland Community College

Western Texas College

Western Nebraska Community College

West Valley College

West Los Angeles College