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Sociology

Sociology Careers vs. Psychology Careers: Similarities and Differences

Sociology careers and psychology careers can be similar, but there are some important differences between the two. Learn about the specific types of roles within each of these fields.

A psychologist sitting with a patient -- one of the many psychology careers out thereWhen deciding on a career, one of the first things to consider is your areas of interest. If you’ve always enjoyed working on or with computers, for instance, you might enjoy computer programming or coding, graphic design, or computer repair.

Or maybe you’ve always had a passion for animals. In this case, working as a veterinarian, zoologist, animal trainer, or animal control officer may be more appealing to you.

But what happens if your interests involve people and how they think, feel, behave, and interact? If this sounds like you, both sociology careers and psychology careers should be on your short list.

Similarities in Sociology and Psychology Careers

It’s not uncommon to have some confusion about sociology and psychology careers, and rightfully so. Both of these fields require a certain level of understanding about what motivates people to act a certain way or factors that cause them to develop specific behaviors or patterns.

Both professions can also be found working in similar, humanitarian-based businesses and organizations. If you walk into a mental health clinic, for instance, you may find both sociology and psychology majors working side by side.

Another similarity between sociology careers and psychology careers is, within each one, you can choose to work directly with people or you can decide to be on the research side of things and study others from afar. So, how are these two career paths different?

Sociology and Psychology Career Differences

The main difference between sociology and psychology is that sociology involves the study and understanding of society (or collective groups of people), whereas psychology focuses more on the individual person. Because of this difference, individuals working within these fields must have education and training in different areas.

For example, sociology majors need to learn more about social theory, social policy, and other aspects of social thoughts and interaction to better understand why people act the way they do when involved in certain groups.

Conversely, individuals working in psychology must develop a greater comprehension of factors that impact an individual’s cognitive and emotional growth and status. This involves studying environmental, biological, chemical, and a variety of other impacts.

Career Options in Each

The great thing about both sociology and psychology is that each one offers a variety of career options. So, regardless of which one you choose, you have a host of career paths you can ultimately take. Let’s start with sociology careers first.

Sociology Career Options

According to the American Sociological Association (ASA), a majority of sociology grads work in the social services or act as counselors. Some are even working as psychologists, which shows just how closely these two career tracks are related.

The ASA adds that many other individuals with degrees in sociology are also employed as teachers and librarians, in sales and marketing positions, or as researchers in the field. Essentially, any position that benefits from a greater understanding of the factors that somehow impact groups of people can be held by a sociology major.

What else can you do with this type of degree? Here are a few titles people are able to hold when choosing a sociology career path:

  • Guidance counselor
  • Social caseworker
  • Policy or program analyst
  • Public relations specialist
  • Market research analyst
  • Health facilities evaluator
  • Public education coordinator
  • Health statistician or planner
  • Social service agency administrator

Psychology Careers to Consider

Again, psychology careers are different in that individuals who follow these types of career paths typically work more one-on-one with others to help identify their own individual issues, providing guidance in how to overcome them so they can live a higher quality of life. Not that sociology majors can’t work one-on-one with others as well, but this is psychology’s primary focus.

So what can you do with a degree in this field? Some psychology careers to consider include:

  • Caseworker
  • Youth worker
  • Special agent
  • Correctional officer
  • Probation or parole officer
  • Childcare worker
  • Art therapist
  • Career counselor
  • Psychologist

Saint Leo University Offers Both Sociology and Psychology Degree Programs

Whether you feel more compelled to work in sociology or psychology is the field that piques your interest most, Saint Leo University offers degree programs in both.

Our Bachelor of Arts in Sociology is a 120-credit hour program that provides students the option of specializing in clinical/applied sociology or diversity and equality, and our Bachelor of Arts in Psychology—which is also 120 credit hours—offers the ability to specialize in clinical/counseling, developmental psychology, or experimental psychology.

If either of these could help you reach your career-related goals, contact Saint Leo University today to learn more.

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