How to Become a Social Scientist

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Social science is a very important field that studies the social life of individuals and groups. The field is compromised of many different disciplines that study specific subjects. Social scientists are essential professionals that study and research the social sciences and provide education to other professionals and the public.


Hey, I'm Joshua T. Osborne

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What does a social scientist do?

Social scientists study all characteristics of society including past events and accomplishments, behavior of humans, and group relationships. They conduct research to provide insight about the variety ways people, groups, and institutions respond to change, exercise power, and make decisions. Social scientists suggest solutions to personal, social, environmental, business, and governmental problems through their research and analyses.

Research is a major component of their work and they use a variety of different approaches to collect facts and develop theories. Social scientists typically begin their research by collecting obtainable information through conducting questionnaires and interviews to gather demographic information and opinions, experimenting with humans or animals in a laboratory, performing field investigations, and living or working among the population they are studying.

What kind of training does a social scientist need?

The education requirements for social scientists are often highest than many occupations because most positions require a master or doctoral degree. Graduates with master degrees in practical specialties are typically qualified for positions in other settings than in colleges and universities. A doctoral degree is often required for positions of higher-level. Graduates with bachelor degrees will have limited opportunities but may be qualified for entry-level jobs.

Mathematics and statistics training and competence in using computers for research are necessary for many social scientists. They must also keep abreast on the latest advances in technology for their specific field. Many social scientists also complete internships or other field experience.

What are the prospects for a career in social science?

Employment of social scientists is projected to grow as fast as average for all professions, increasing 10% from 2006 to 2016 (1).

Since social scientists have a wide range of knowledge and skills they qualify for a broad range of jobs such as statisticians, engineers, psychologists, and market and survey researchers.

Job prospects will be the best for social scientists that have higher education accomplishments. Many opportunities will arise in teaching positions at elementary and secondary schools, colleges, and universities. Some opportunities will also stem from the need to replace former workers who retire or leave the social science field for different reasons.

How much do social scientists make?

As of June 2009, the average annual salary for all social scientists is $69,000 (2).

A career as a social scientist is an excellent choice for individuals who have intellectual creativity and curiosity to consistently obtain new information about people, places, ideas, and things. Candidates must also have great oral and written communication skills to collaborate on research and report research results. Perseverance, logical and methodical thinking, objectivity, systematic work habits, and an open mind are also essential qualities.

Joshua T Osborne

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