A social science major lets students explore a variety of academic disciplines such as anthropology, history, psychology and political science. Can a social science degree lead to a thriving career? Yes! In fact, some of today’s leading occupations stem from social science fields. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has projected that life, physical and social science occupations will grow by 10 percent between 2016 and 2026, a rate that outstrips the national average of 7 percent for all occupations.

Top Social Science Jobs

1. Urban and Regional Planners

Description: Expanding at a rate of 13 percent between 2016 and 2026, urban and regional planning offers one of the fastest growing and most lucrative social science jobs. Most urban and regional planners work for local governments where they help create or revitalize communities to accommodate growing populations while minimizing negative environmental impact.

Duties: Urban and regional planners help governments, land developers and the public use land and buildings to develop communities and arrest neighborhood decline. They may create solutions for homelessness, help design parks in low-income neighborhoods or make communities more attractive to business investment.

Median Salary: $71,490

2. Geographers

Description: By 2026, the number of geographers will have increased by 7 percent, according to the BLS. The American Association of Geographers identified three reasons for the field’s renaissance: globalization, increasing interest in the world and the social effect of natural systems. Geographers study the earth’s natural landscape and the political and cultural factors that affect it. Physical geographers examine the aspects of a region and how they relate to humans while human geographers explore relationship of human activity to the physical environment.

Duties: Most geographers work for the federal government or in architectural or engineering firms. They use tools such as focus groups, maps, field observations, photographs, satellite imagery and censuses to create, analyze and modify maps and other geographic tools.

Median Salary: $76,860

3. Psychologists

Description: Growing at twice the average rate of all occupations, psychology draws professionals who study, interpret and record human behavior in order to help individuals, organizations and collectives improve processes and actions. Psychologists work in healthcare, education, industry and private practice. The field includes clinical psychologists, counseling psychologists, industrial psychologists and other specialists.

Duties: Psychologists are scientists who study human behavior through qualitative research. They identify issues for their clients, diagnose disorders, discuss treatments, predict future behaviors and share findings through speeches and publications.

Median Salary: $77,030

4. Economist

Description: Economists use qualitative and quantitative research methods to predict the production, flow and distribution of goods, resources and services. These professionals serve governments and businesses across an array of industries. Experts at the BLS expect economist jobs to grow 6 percent over a 10-year period, consistent with the national average for all occupations.

Duties: Economists collaborate with other economists and statisticians to collect and analyze data on economic issues using statistical techniques, mathematical models and analytical software. By tracing historical trends and other information, economists create forecasts that help governments and corporations plan for various future scenarios.

Median Salary: $102,490

5. Political Scientist

Description: Though their profession is projected to grow at a modest rate of 3 percent between 2016 and 2026, political scientists enjoy one of the highest paid professions in the social sciences. The public’s increasing focus on politics may expand opportunities in the field faster than expected. Political scientists conduct research in order to develop, test and refine political theories. About 50 percent of them work for the federal government with many of the rest serving in lobbying firms, labor unions and political action organizations.

Duties: Political scientists research topics related to public policy, politics and foreign affairs. They collect and manage data, develop and test theories, evaluate the effects of public policies, and forecast trends in politics and economics.  Using skills in critical thinking, analysis, creativity, and communication, political scientists form and present their findings to decision-makers and the public.

Median Salary: $115,110

Earn a Top Social Science Job

Earning a bachelor’s degree is the first step to a job in one of these fast-growing and most lucrative fields, social science. The only program of its kind in the region, the hybrid online bachelor’s degree in social science program at Bethel University is designed for working professionals. Our unique format combines the convenience of an online classroom with the practicality of hands-on learning. Most courses are offered digitally, allowing you to attend class at a time that works around your schedule. With six start dates to choose from, you can complete our program in as little as two years.

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