July-August 2008 Issue • Volume 36 • Issue 6

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Sociology: A Rare But
Well-Paying Job?

Forbes.com thinks so . . .

Forbes magazine brings students and other would-be sociologists welcome news in an April 17 online photo feature: It pays to study sociology.

Using U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data from the "Occupational Employment Statistics" survey, Forbes ranks sociology as one of the top-ten highest-paying rare jobs in the United States.

Rare? High-paying? The magazine loosely defines rare as "a relatively small employment total" and considers jobs with annual salaries higher than the national average of $42,535 to be high-paying.

Forbes cites BLS data claiming only 3,440 sociologists with an average annual salary of 68,300.

On a closer examination of BLS classifications, "sociologist" is categorized separately from "sociology teachers, postsecondary" (16,110 employed with average annual salaries of $63,160) and "social sciences teachers, postsecondary, all other" (5,750 employed with average annual salaries at $69,640).

While the Forbes story may not have told readers the complete story, there’s no denying that, as the article claims, "This is the kind of information undergraduates should show their parents, the same parents who might need to be convinced that being a sociologist for a living could actually pay the bills."

See the Forbes feature, learn more about BLS classifications and see ASA’s research on sociology salaries and careers at: www.asanet.org/cs/root/leftnav/execoffice/
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