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Sociologists systematically study and analyze human societies. They use distinct sociological perspectives to understand and explain the causes and consequences of social interaction.

  • Avg. Salary $87,546.00
  • Avg. Wage $44.18
  • Minimum Education 6 years post-secondary
  • Outlook N/A
  • Employed < 1500
  • In Demand Lower
Also Known As

Research Scientist, Social Scientist

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: Sociologists (4169.8) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Other Professional Occupations in Social Science (E038) 
  • 2011 NOC: Other professional occupations in social science, n.e.c. (4169) 
Interest Codes
The Sociologist is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).

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

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 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 More

Updated Mar 31, 2016

Sociologists carry out sociological research. They use various theoretical approaches (for example, functionalist, feminist, post-modernist, conflict) and research methods (for example, historical studies, surveys, interviews, experiments, document analyses, quantitative data analysis, observational studies) to examine:

  • the nature of the relationship between the individual 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 organizations, sports venues)
  • the development and structure of groups, organizations and institutions (for example, law, education, marriage, religion)
  • behavioural patterns and relationships (for example, patterns of dating, gender roles, prison life, workplace behaviours)
  • areas of social concern such as crime, immigration, poverty, unemployment, health, aging, environment, social injustice and population change
  • social policy and legislation and its effects on society (for example, environmental policy, employment policy, same-sex marriage legislation, anti-terrorism legislation)
  • aspects of social change (for example, cultural change, urbanization, changes in family lifestyles, globalization, science and technology, trends in popular culture) and organized efforts to change the direction of social life (for example, the women's, Aboriginal, gay/lesbian, anti-racism, environmental, peace and anti-globalization movements).

In general, sociologists:

  • conduct studies, write reports and scholarly papers and give professional presentations
  • plan and administer social programs
  • review and interpret research and demographic data
  • identify social patterns and trends
  • develop and help to implement policies.
Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2016

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

Sociologists sometimes travel to gather information in the field. They may visit a wide variety of settings, such as workplaces, child care centres, busy downtown street corners, sports arenas, low-income housing complexes, ethnic communities, health-care institutions or penitentiaries.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Mar 31, 2016

Sociologists need the following characteristics:

  • an interest in studying human interaction and social life
  • good communication skills
  • good organizational skills
  • a commitment to conducting research in an ethical and unbiased manner
  • a curiosity and willingness to question assumptions about how society works.

They should enjoy organizing and integrating information to find innovative solutions to problems and consulting with people.

Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2016

The basic education requirement to work as a sociologist generally 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.

Athabasca University

Concordia University of Edmonton

Grant MacEwan University

King's University, The

Mount Royal University

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2016

Certification is not required, as there is currently no legislation regulating this occupation.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2016

Sociologists are employed by:

  • health-care and social services organizations
  • correctional services
  • consulting, marketing and polling firms
  • federal, provincial and municipal governments
  • non-governmental organizations such as community and social development organizations
  • universities and colleges
  • large corporations.

A doctoral degree generally is 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.

Sociologists are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 4169: Other professional occupations in social science. In Alberta, 79% of people employed in this classification work in the following industries:

The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

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

Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2016

Salaries vary considerably in this field depending on the employer, the responsibilities of the position and the sociologist's qualifications.

Sociologists are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 4169: Other professional occupations in social science, n.e.c.

According to the 2017 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans in the Other professional occupations in social science, n.e.c. occupational group earned on average from $34.92 to $47.66 an hour. The overall average was $44.18 an hour. For more information, see the Other professional occupations in social science, n.e.c. wage profile.

Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Social Sciences, Law and Religious Studies
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 31, 2016

Canadian Sociological Association (CSA) website:

For more information on career planning, education and jobs call the Alberta Supports Contact Centre toll-free at 1-877-644-9992 or 780-644-9992 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Supports Centre near you.

Updated Mar 24, 2016. 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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