Sociology vs Anthropology: Career ROI

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Updated: February 22, 2024, Reading time: 8 minutes

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Sociology and Anthropology, both under the umbrella of social science, are thought to be similar to one another. Both disciplines study people—who they are and what they do. Both also explore topics in history.

Despite their overlapping topics, Sociology and Anthropology are two distinct majors. Anthropology examines human beings and their associated aspects, while Sociology studies human societies scientifically, examining their development, interactions, structures, and effects over history.

There are other differences you should know about between Sociology and Anthropology. Let’s explore their differences in terms of career ROI, including education required and salaries.

A Quick Look At Their Differences

In a broad sense, anthropologists aim to help understand the difference between present and contemporary times. Sociology, meanwhile, tackles social stratification, mobility, and law issues.

Here’s a closer look at how both disciplines differ:

Average Salaries$98,590$63,940
Job Growth5% from 2022 to 20324 percent from 2022 to 2032
FocusResolve social issues through public policy.Learn about human diversity and cultural differences from ancient history.
Research MethodQualitative and QuantitativeQualitative
License/s requiredMust pass the Certified Applied Sociologist or Certified Clinical Sociologist examNone
Education RequiredDoctorateMaster’s degree

What Does a Sociologist Do?

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The American Sociological Association defines Sociology as the study of social life, social development, and the social factors that influence and are influenced by human behavior. Sociologists are experts in studying people’s behaviors, interactions, and organizational methods.

These professionals also observe what social, religious, political, and institutional groups, organizations, and institutions are up to.

Sociologists are also responsible for chartering the beginnings and development of networks. For instance, they might look into how a new law or policy affects a certain group of people.

They also perform combined quantitative and qualitative research to help other professionals solve social problems and create better public policies.

There are various topics sociologists focus on, including, but not limited to:

Sociology: Education and Career Path

Sociology, first introduced by Conte in 1838, gained popularity in the 19th century with scholars like Spencer and Marx and became a formal academic discipline through the work of Emile Durkheim. 

To begin a Sociology career, you must earn a bachelor’s degree in a social science field. Students pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Sociology are better equipped to excel in many exciting career opportunities.

The standard curriculum gives students an overview of fundamental sociological ideas and crucial guidance on applying those ideas to various interpersonal, societal, and communal contexts. Sociology curricula frequently include courses on:

However, more than a bachelor’s degree is required to become a Certified Applied Sociologist or Certified Clinical Sociologist. One must pursue graduate school and complete a traditional or applied/clinical master’s degree. 

Those interested in academic and research careers should pursue a traditional master’s degree to prepare for a PhD. In contrast, those who want to perform sociological research in a professional setting are referred to an applied/clinical master’s program. 

Licensed sociologists can break into other fields and apply for various positions, such as:

Most sociologists pursue law school to become defenders or prosecutors. This is especially true for those who want higher salaries and want to use their Sociology knowledge to enforce better public policies.

Sociology ROI: Education Cost and Salaries

Depending on where you choose to pursue your education, you can expect to spend an average of $10,124 annually for a bachelor’s degree and $11,958 for a graduate degree in Sociology. While the path to becoming a licensed/certified sociologist is long, it’s often rewarding. 

Sociologists earn $98,590 annually, on average, according to the latest data. The highest-paid sociologists are those who work in scientific research and development services. Moreover, employment for sociologists is projected to grow 5% from 2022 to 2032 and open 300 jobs annually. 

Besides earning more than the average worker, sociologists are also flexible. They can pursue careers where they’ll collaborate with other professionals like economists, psychologists, and survey researchers conducting interdisciplinary research projects. 

A career in Sociology is for you if: 

A career in Sociology is not a great fit if:

What Does an Anthropologist Do?

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Anthropology is a broad subject that studies culture, human biology, and society. Determining what individuals are, where they came from in the evolutionary process, and how they differ from each other is the primary objective of this field of study. 

Anthropologists are keen qualitative researchers who seek to understand the human condition and gain insights into the essential elements of human existence. Their research spans from using policy-making, development, healthcare, and education applications.

Their methods are used to assist in the advancement of intercultural understanding and the resolution of social problems. 

There are seven main types of anthropologists: 

Anthropology: Education and Career Path

The core curriculum of Anthropology programs is to provide students with a broad understanding of the discipline. This is done by providing courses on foundational concepts and methods and the history of ideas. Due to its broad field and various subfields, the specific training in Anthropology programs may differ.

A bachelor’s degree in Anthropology or other closely related majors, such as Indigenous Studies and BioAnthropology, is the first step to an Anthropology career. You should also apply for a master’s degree and practical experience to level up your expertise and cement your foundational knowledge.

A master’s degree is essential to be able to pursue a career specialization in any of the seven mentioned Anthropology types above. After a master’s degree, many find work as research assistants or archaeologists. For a career in research or academia, a Ph.D. in Anthropology is necessary, allowing deeper research practices. 

In addition to becoming an anthropologist with a specialty, you can also pursue careers like: 

Anthropology ROI: Education Cost and Salaries

The average cost of an Anthropology degree at the undergraduate level is $10,652 and $12,394 at the graduate level annually. The good news about pursuing an Anthropology career is that you don’t need to seek a doctorate unless you’re eyeing a career in academia. In most cases, master’s degree graduates can pursue research positions in Anthropology associations. 

You also don’t need any certification or licensure to practice Anthropology. 

However, a career in Anthropology pays less than a career in Sociology. According to the US BLS, anthropologists have an average median annual pay of $63,940; the highest earners earn $100,560 on average. The expected growth rate of Anthropology careers is 4 percent from 2022 to 2032.

To increase earnings, some anthropologists pursue careers in the business sector, where they participate in understanding consumer demands.

A career in Anthropology is for you if: 

A career in Anthropology is not a great fit if: 

Sociology vs Anthropology - fact

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