Social Science Careers

Comparing Descriptions, Educational Requirements and Salaries

archaeologist
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The social sciences encompass the scientific study of societies and the interactions of individuals within them. Here are several social science careers. Compare and contrast them based on job descriptions, educational requirements, earnings, and job outlook. 

Anthropologist and Archaeologist

Anthropologists study the languages, ways of life, and physical characteristics of people in various parts of the world.

They also examine archaeological remains. To work in this occupation, a master's degree in anthropology is the minimum requirement, but if your goal is to teach at a college or university, you will need a doctorate.

Archaeologists recover and examine evidence including tools, cave paintings, the ruins of buildings, and pottery to learn about earlier civilizations. To get a job in most settings, first earn a master's degree in archaeology. A Ph.D. is needed to join the faculty of a college or university.

Median Annual Salary (2017): $62,280

Number of People Employed (2016): 1,500

Projected Job Growth (2016-2026): 7 percent (slower than the average for all occupations)

Projected Increase in Jobs (2016-2026): 300

Geographer

Geographers study the land, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of a specific region or area of the earth. While a master's degree in geography will suffice for most jobs, a doctorate is mandatory for those who want to be on the faculty of colleges and universities.

Opportunities for individuals with a bachelor's degree are limited to government jobs.

Median Annual Salary (2017): $76,860

Number of People Employed (2016): 1,500

Projected Job Growth (2016-2026): 7 percent (as fast as the average for all occupations)

Projected Increase in Jobs (2016-2026): 100

Psychologist

There are several types of psychologists.

  Clinical and counseling psychologists, for example, diagnose and treat individuals' mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders, while school psychologists address students' education-related issues. Industrial-organizational psychologists deal with work-related problems.

Clinical or counseling psychologists typically need a doctorate in psychology, but in some states, a master's may suffice. To be as a school psychologist, a master's degree, doctorate, educational specialist degree, or professional diploma in school psychology is needed depending on where one works. Industrial-organizational psychologists need at least a master's degree. All states require psychologists who deliver patient care to be licensed. 

Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists

  • Median Annual Salary (2017): $75,090
  • Number of People Employed (2016): 147,500
  • Projected Job Growth (2016-2026): 14 percent (faster than the average for all occupations)
  • Projected Increase in Jobs (2016-2026): 21,000

Industrial-Organizational Psychologists

  • Median Annual Salary (2017): $87,100
  • Number of People Employed (2016): 1,700
  • Projected Job Growth (2016-2026): 8 percent (as fast as the average for all occupations)
  • Projected Increase in Jobs (2016-2026): 100

    Psychologists, all other

    • Median Annual Salary (2017): $97,740
    • Number of People Employed (2016): 17,400
    • Projected Job Growth (2016-2026): 11 percent (faster than the average for all occupations)
    • Projected Increase in Jobs (2016-2026): 1,800

    Survey Researcher

    Survey researchers design or conduct surveys about people and their opinions. If you want to work in this field, earn a master's or doctorate in marketing research, survey methods, statistics, or social sciences. Some entry-level jobs require a bachelor's degree.

    Median Annual Salary (2017): $54,270

    Number of People Employed (2016): 14,600

    Projected Job Growth (2016-2026): 2 percent (slower than the average for all occupations)

    Projected Increase in Jobs (2016-2026): 400

    Urban and Regional Planner

    Urban and regional planners, sometimes called city planners, help communities decide how to best use their land and resources with an eye toward future growth and revitalization.

    Employers usually prefer to hire planners who have a master's degrees in urban or regional planning from a program accredited by the Planning Accreditation Board, but some may be willing to hire a job candidate who has earned a master's degree in a related field like urban design or geography. Certification from the American Institute of Certified Planners can help with career advancement.

    Median Annual Salary (2017): $71,490

    Number of People Employed (2016): 36,000

    Projected Job Growth (2016-2026): 13 percent (faster than the average for all occupations)

    Projected Increase in Jobs (2016-2026): 4,600

    Comparing Social Science Careers
     Minimum EducationLicenseMedian Salary
    Anthropologist and ArchaeologistMaster'snone$62,280

     

    Geographer

    Master'snone$76,860
    Psychologist Master's, PhD or PsyD (varies by state and job title)required to deliver patient care

    $75,090 (clinical, counseling & school)/ $87,100 (industrial-organizational)/
    $97,740 (all other)

    Survey ResearcherMaster's or PhDnone$54,270
    Urban And Regional PlannerMaster'snone$71,490

     

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    Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor,  Occupational Outlook Handbook; Employment and Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor,  O*NET Online