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Careers

Related Skills

Sociology at Illinois State is interdisciplinary. Our program exposes you to a variety of programs throughout the University to address social problems. You'll take courses in social sciences, biology, humanities, and more.

Not only does this offer you an engaging and interesting learning experience, it also prepares you for a variety of career opportunities in a diverse and global workplace. You'll leave our program with the skills employers look for.

Critical Thinking

Your future employer will want you to be innovative and come up with creative solutions. This is where critical thinking comes into play, and we'll help you become a good critical thinker.

Sociology asks tough questions about the world's most important issues, like poverty, crime, and social injustice. You'll use critical thinking all the time to understand these issues and form an opinion.

We'll teach you how to ask the right questions, how to interpret data, and how to seek out information that helps you make smart decisions that move people in a positive direction.

Communication

Good communication is key to a successful career. Sociology at Illinois State helps you master the three main components of communication: listening, writing, and speaking.

The nature of sociology is to help change the world we live in by improving social structures. To better understand these social structures, you'll do a lot of observing and listening. This helps you reflect, ask important questions, and get to the root causes of some of the world's most pressing issues. Being a good listener in any career helps you connect with coworkers and become the kind of problem-solver employers want.

It's also essential you know how to express yourself in writing and speech. Whether you're writing a paper, delivering a presentation, or leading a group of peers on a project, we'll help you articulate your thoughts to various audiences.

Leadership

Sociology is full of students who care about making the world a better place. There are a lot of leadership skills that come naturally with that mindset. We'll help you enhance those skills to make you even more marketable to future employers.

Trying to solve the world's important issues is no easy task and can sometimes be stressful. Sociology teaches you how to handle stress. It also gives you a cultural understanding of human behavior that no other program can. This skillset is essential in the workplace so you can connect, inspire, and engage the people you work with.

Our program is collaborative. You'll work with lots of different people inside and outside the classroom. This gives you experience working with and leading a team, much like you'll have to do in any future career. Our collaborative approach also gives you exposure to designing projects and managing them to the end.

Analysis

Research gives you the kind of hands-on experience that makes your major fun and interesting. It also teaches you a ton of valuable skills for your future, including how to analyze information to make smart decisions.

Sociology at Illinois State includes plenty of opportunities for research and work in a lab. You'll learn how to ask important questions, test your assumptions, and develop solutions.

Technology

Whatever career path you choose, technology will likely be a key component.

Sociology uses a variety of computer programs and technology to examine data and input research. Most are unlike the typical programs you're used to.

Sociology at Illinois State helps you embrace different kinds of technology. This will serve you well in your future career so you can be comfortable around new technology and see first hand how it can make organizations more efficient and profitable.

Being Successful in the Field

Sociology at Illinois State develops your skills so you can succeed in whatever career you choose. Whether you choose to pursue sociology as a professional or go down a different path, here's how you can make the most of your degree.

Get experience early.

We offer lots of ways to get real-world experience before you graduate. All our opportunities help develop your professional skills so you can enter your future career with confidence.

Civic engagement is a top priority in our program. We spend lots of time volunteering our time and skills. You'll have opportunities to work on important projects that make a positive impact.

You can also partner with professors on research. Our faculty are always working on interesting projects and making major contributions to the anthropology field.

Internships are another great way to gain experience. We partner with Illinois State's Career Services to help you find opportunities in any industry.

Consider earning a minor or an additional major.

Many sociology students have a minor or double major in other programs such as anthropology, business, social work, and political science. This can increase your employment opportunities in a variety of fields.

Think about graduate school.

An undergraduate degree helps you get entry-level positions. Graduate school is a good option if you want to advance or work in a competitive market.

Majoring in Sociology is also a good option if you want to get a more advanced degree in a related field, such as:

  • Law
  • Counseling
  • Psychology
  • Social Work
  • Medicine
  • Education
  • College Student Personnel
  • Higher Education Administration

Related Fields

You'll have a lot of opportunities when you earn a sociology degree. Many sociology students at Illinois State go on to have successful careers in a variety of fields.

Some paths require additional or advanced degrees. Our program gives you exposure to many different areas so you can discover your true passion.

Once you figure out what path you want to take, we'll help you reach your goals.

Nonprofit

Sociology majors care a lot about making the world a better place. Finding a career in the nonprofit sector is a natural fit.

This is a large field with lots of opportunities. A few areas in the nonprofit sector that pair well with a sociology degree include:

Organizing: Organizers get communities and people motivated about important issues. They gather volunteers, put on events, and play a major role in helping nonprofit organizations accomplish their mission.

Development: Nonprofits need money to succeed and development is where all the fundraising takes place. In this area, you'll help raise money, create events, and manage donor relationships.

Marketing and Communication: This area includes promotion, brand awareness, campaigns, and more. Marketing and communication professionals are good writers, speakers, and know how to reach a variety of audiences.

Examples of Illinois State Sociology alumni working in nonprofit include:

  • Senior Program Manager at DAI
  • Executive Director at Project Oz
  • Campaign Organizer at CADC-LLC

Human Services

Careers in human services are all about providing help and support to individuals and families. It's another great fit if you're trying to improve the world you live in.

You can find human service positions in lots of organizations like hospitals, religious organizations, nonprofit groups, education, and more.

Some common career paths in human services include:

Counseling: Counselors work with individuals, couples, and families to make positive changes in their lives.

Case Management and Social Work: Case managers and social workers assist people in difficult situations. They offer advice and work with other human service providers to help people get the resources they need.

Examples of Illinois State sociology alumni working in human services include:

  • Program Assistant at the Baby Fold
  • Case Manager Assistant at Carle Foundation Hospital
  • Child Protective Specialist at Illinois Department of Children and Family Services

Business

A degree in sociology gives you the knowledge and skills to thrive in business. We call these transferable skills because they are exactly what business leaders are looking for in employees.

There are many roles you can pursue in business when you have a sociology degree, including:

Human Resources: This aspect of an organization handles all the administrative functions. There are lots of jobs in human resources, including recruiting, hiring, training, strategic planning, and benefits.

Management: The sociology program at Illinois State centers on giving you leadership experience. If you want to lead people and help an organization achieve its goals, management is a good career to consider.

Sales and Marketing: Sales and marketing professionals are on the frontlines of an organization. They sell products, interact with customers, and research new market opportunities.

Public Relations: This area of business builds and maintains a positive image of an organization. They often create news releases for the media and the public, handle social media, and create brand awareness.

Examples of Illinois State sociology alumni working in business include:

  • Senior Business Intelligence Analyst at COUNTRY Financial
  • Financial Representative at Northwestern Mutual
  • Operations Manager at FedEx Ground

Education

Teaching is a great way to live and share your passion for sociology every day. Education offers other paths, too, including:

Research Consultant: The education field uses research all the time to make decisions about curriculum, resource allocation, data management, and more. Research consultants plan, carry out, and review research projects to help schools make smart decisions.

Career Counselor: Help high school or college students make decisions about their future and set goals.

Admissions Counselor: Admissions counselors promote schools. They recruit and interview prospective students and help decide which students get admitted to their school.

Alumni Relations: Lots of schools have alumni associations. This career path will have you interacting with graduates to promote your school.

Examples of Illinois State sociology alumni working in education include:

  • Assistant Director of Enrollment Management at the University of Chicago
  • English Teacher in Taiwan
  • Academic Advisor at Illinois State University

Healthcare

Healthcare needs people with lots of different skill sets. With a sociology degree, you'll have the ability to think critically, solve problems, and communicate with a diverse population of people.

Some paths in healthcare you can pursue with a sociology degree include:

Administration: Healthcare administrators lead and manage the operations of the organization. Lots of jobs fall under this category, including office management, insurance, compliance, and human resources.

Analyst: Analysts look at data to help health organizations improve care, lower cost, and make sure patients have a positive experience.

Community Health: Community health workers increase health knowledge in the public. They do outreach, education, counseling, and offer support so people can lead healthy lives.

Examples of Illinois State sociology alumni working in healthcare include:

  • Data analyst at SEIU Healthcare
  • Recruitment Team Lead at Allied Health at Medix
  • Accreditation Lead and Data Analyst at The Bleeding and Clotting Disorders Institute

Government

Government is one of the most influential social structures in our lives.

Criminal Justice: Criminal justice has many opportunities that use the knowledge and skills of sociology. You can help people turn their life around in corrections, law enforcement, or rehabilitation. There's also a judiciary path where you could pursue a career as a lawyer or work in the court system.

Public Administration: Public administrators research potential consequences of policies and plans that affect the public.

City Planning: City planners help communities thrive. They develop plans that move communities in a positive direction.

Examples of Illinois State sociology alumni working in government include:

  • Municipal Planner at Memphis and Shelby County Division of Planning and Development
  • Community and Economic Development Senior Advisor at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago
  • Correctional Officer at the Illinois Department of Corrections

Graduate School

Some of our alumni continue their education at graduate school. We've sent our students off to well-known sociology programs at:

  • University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • University of California
  • University of Minnesota
  • Syracuse University
  • Washington State University
  • Loyola University
  • University of Memphis
  • University of Iowa

Career Industry Liaison

Name Office Email Phone
Mariaton Tate  208 Bone Student Center  mstate@ilstu.edu  (309) 438-2200 

Internship Coordinator

Name Office Email Phone
Ryan Gray  Schroeder Hall 344  krgray2@ilstu.edu  (309) 438-8669