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Sociologists systematically study and analyze human societies. They use diverse research methods and theories to understand and explain the causes and consequences of social interaction.

Also Known As

Research Scientist, Social Scientist, Professor, Researcher

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used.

Here is how this occupation has been classified over time.

2006 NOC

  • 4169.8: Sociologists

2006 NOC-S

  • E038: Other Professional Occupations in Social Science

2011 NOC

  • 4169: Other professional occupations in social science, n.e.c.

2016 NOC

  • 4169: Other professional occupations in social science, n.e.c.

2021 NOC

  • 41409: Other professional occupations in social science

2023 OaSIS

  • 41409.09: Other social science professionals
Updated Mar 24, 2023

Sociologists use various theories to research important questions about society. Examples include functionalist, feminist, post-modernist, or conflict theories. Their research methods include historical studies, surveys, interviews, experiments, document analyses, quantitative data analyses, and observational studies. They use these to examine:

  • The nature of relationships between individuals and society
  • The attitudes, values, and behaviour of people in groups (for example, families, schools, racial and ethnic communities, workplaces, cities, rural locales, societies, health-care systems, and sports organizations)
  • The development and structure of groups, organizations, and institutions in areas including the law, education, marriage, and religion, among others
  • Behavioural patterns and relationships in areas such as dating, gender roles, prison life, and the workplace
  • The identification and background of social issues, such as crime, immigration, poverty, unemployment, health, aging, environment, social injustice, and population change
  • Social policy and legislation and its effects on society in areas including employment, the environment, same-sex marriage, antiterrorist efforts, and more
  • Aspects of social change in areas such as ethnic cultures, popular culture, urbanization, family lifestyles, globalization, science, and technology
  • Organized efforts to change the direction of social life (for example, the women’s, Indigenous, LGBTQ2S+, antiracism, environmental, peace, and anti-globalization movements)

In general, sociologists conduct studies, write reports and scholarly papers, and give presentations. They explain their field to different audiences to ensure the wider community has access to their research and knowledge. They also:

  • Plan and administer social programs
  • Review and interpret research and demographic data
  • Identify social patterns and trends
  • Plan and design projects
  • Develop and help to implement policies
  • Engage with communities
Working Conditions
Updated Mar 24, 2023
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg

Sociologists spend much of their time in offices, classrooms, libraries, and computer laboratories, as well as locations they are studying. They spend many hours reading, analyzing data, and writing reports. They also may teach or give public presentations relating to their work.

Sociologists often travel to gather information in the field, attend conferences, or collaborate with colleagues on projects. Some may find their skills suited to work in the community. For example, they may train community members or help develop community knowledge.

Sociologists may visit a variety of settings. These may include workplaces, childcare centres, or busy downtown street corners. They also may include sports arenas, low-income housing complexes, ethnic communities, health-care institutions, or penitentiaries. With adequate education and qualifications, they may work in a classroom setting at a university or college.

Interests & Abilities

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.


2006 NOC: 4169.8

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group

Interest in co-ordinating information to devise methods of collecting and analyzing data; and to interpret data and correlate findings with other research in the field of sociology and related fields


Interest in consulting with governments and other organizations to report findings and bring forward recommendations; may teach sociology at advanced educational levels


Interest in organizing data into forms suitable for application by governments and other organizations

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 

It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective, and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes for this NOC group is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn About Interests


Typical ability expectations for this NOC group
Your abilities

To fill in or change the values for your abilities, complete the Abilities Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Mental Abilities

General Learning Ability

Verbal Ability

Numerical Ability

Visual Abilities

Spatial Perception

Form Perception

Clerical Perception

Physical Abilities

Motor Coordination

Finger Dexterity

Manual Dexterity

Understanding Abilities

A Quick Guide

You are born with abilities that help you process certain types of information and turn it into action. These abilities influence which skills you can learn more easily.

The abilities or aptitudes shown for this NOC group come from the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). The GATB measures 9 aptitudes. It groups them into 3 categories: mental, visual, and physical.

The abilities scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being stronger.

Learn About Abilities

Traits & Skills
Updated Mar 24, 2023

Sociologists need:

  • An interest in human interaction and social life
  • Training in sociological research methods, theories, and specific subject areas
  • Self-awareness and knowledge of the potential for bias
  • Communication and organizational skills
  • Curiosity and a willingness to question how society works

They should enjoy organizing and integrating information to solve problems in innovative ways. They should be comfortable consulting with people.

Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 24, 2023
  • Minimum Education 6 years post-secondary

In general, the basic education requirement to work as a sociologist is a master’s or doctoral degree in sociology. The entrance requirement for master’s and doctoral degree programs is above-average standing in the last 2 years of a 4-year bachelor’s degree program, preferably an honours program.

Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 24, 2023
  • Certification Not Regulated

There is currently no provincial legislation regulating this occupation in Alberta.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 24, 2023

Sociologists work for:

  • Correctional services
  • Consulting, marketing, and polling firms
  • Federal, provincial, and municipal governments
  • Health-care and social services organizations
  • Large corporations
  • Non-governmental organizations, such as community and social development groups
  • Universities and colleges

A doctoral degree is most often required to teach and conduct research at the post-secondary level. Some sociologists are self-employed consultants who work on a contract basis for private industry and government departments.

Industry Concentration

This section shows the industries where the majority of people in this occupation work. The data is based on the 2016 Census.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups.

In the 4169: Other professional occupations in social science, n.e.c. occupational group, 80.2% of people work in:

Employment Outlook

Employment outlook is influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Time of year (for seasonal jobs)
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation
  • Trends and events that affect overall employment, especially in the industry or industries from the previous list

In Alberta, the 4169: Other professional occupations in social science, n.e.c. occupational group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 2.5% from 2021 to 2025. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 3 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Source: 2021-2025 Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 24, 2023

Salaries vary widely in this field. Factors include the employer, the responsibilities of the position, and the sociologist’s qualifications.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Other professional occupations in social science, n.e.c.

2016 NOC: 4169
Average Wage
Per Hour
Average Salary
Per Year
Average Hours
Per Week
Average Months on Payroll
Survey Methodology Survey Analysis

2021 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey

NOC 4169 Wage Profile

Unless otherwise noted, the data shown here is for all industries and all regions in Alberta.

All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production), and other forms of compensation.

To see the full survey data for this NOC group, visit the wage profile.

Other wage sources
To make an informed wage and salary decision, research other wage sources [pdf] to supplement this data.

B: Good Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Good Reliability, represents a CV of between 6.01% and 15.00% and/or fewer than 30 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 50% of all estimated employment for the occupation.

Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median

Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $21.00 $42.06 $32.76 $33.00
Overall $23.25 $55.54 $44.68 $43.11
Top $25.00 $80.04 $54.73 $50.69

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

Pay brackets for hourly wages

  • Starting pay: average pay offered for entry-level positions
  • Overall pay: average pay across all employees in this occupation
  • Top pay: average pay offered to top-paid employees

Industry Information

Health Care & Social Assistance
Public Administration

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years
Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties
Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months
Vacancy Rate
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Social Sciences, Law and Religious Studies
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 24, 2023

Canadian Sociological Association (CSA) website:

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 24, 2023. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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