Sociology vs Social Work: Which One is Better?

Sociology and social work are two related fields and both deals with the relationships of human beings to their social environments. However, the two career paths involve very different work environments, practices and educations.

Career-wise, we can sum the two discipline into four words by easily saying that: Sociology is research-based, while Social Work focuses on problem-solving. However, to clearly distinguish between sociology and social work, you need to understand their core definitions.


What is Sociology?

Sociology is a theory-driven social science specialty that studies human behaviour and it’s interactions among people, groups and societies. In doing so, it involves the study of community or societal issues also known as social problems.

Sociologists study human society and social behaviour through research and examination of groups, cultures, institutions and more. They engage in detailed research projects, often using statistical and other methods from the social sciences including interviews, surveys and observations in the field.

Sociologists observe, interview, examine, and conduct surveys to determine how the above elements in society shape human lives. Researchers in this field require writing and communication skills, critical thinking, analytical skills, and creativity.

What is Social Work?

Social work deals with many of the same factors as sociology that affect human behaviour. It is an advocacy-driven field designed to connect individuals or groups of people with the resources they need to solve or address problems in their lives.

Social work is basically a profession which is concerned and deals with helping and supporting people of various gender, groups and community who have different challenges and problems.

Social workers focus on empowering the vulnerable, oppressed, and impoverished, helping them cope with issues that affect their overall quality of life – from substance abuse to mental health issues. In this sense, the primary objective of social work is to improve a person’s well-being by helping them to meet their basic needs.

Career Opportunities for Sociology Graduates

As a sociology graduate, you can apply for different types of jobs. However, which one do you think is more suited for you?

  • Lawyer: lawyers also study sociology in their career paths because they deal with humans and on how to defend them at court. Before one can be a practising lawyer or judge, you will have to understand the human mind and how to interact with them and so sociology becomes very important in this field.
  • Counselling and therapy: sociologists can also work as counsellors either in schools, hospitals, or private practice. Counsellors study the human mind and on how to relate with people of different needs thereby creating how to solve individual problems.
  • Education: sociologists can also be in the educational sector to impart knowledge on people of different grades. They can work in universities, colleges and various institutes of learning.
  • Community work: some community workers are also sociologists because of the deal with people and help to solve their social problems. They also help to render services the aged, children and other underprivileged persons of the society.
  • Public service: sociologists can work in public offices or services such as the police, soldiers and other enforcement officers. They can also work on various parts of the states where justice needs to be served in different situations.

Career Opportunities for Social Work Graduates

As a social work graduate, you can apply for different types of jobs. However, which one do you think is more suited for you?

  • Clinical social workers: they help individuals who have mental, behavioural and emotional disorders and are hospitalized. They help to assess the individuals’ mental health, diagnose mental disorders, develop treatment plans and assist in taking care of these disorders. Clinical social workers work mainly in mental hospitals, community mental health centers, private practices, etc.
  • Child welfare social worker: these workers help to care and manage children who suffer from child abuse or neglect. These child welfare social workers investigate to determine if a child can remain in the home where he or she is been abused or to take the child to a safer place either temporarily or permanently. A child welfare social worker may also get involved in child adoptions and follow up with the aftermaths of the adoption processes.
  • Medical or Public Health Social Worker: works in facilities such as hospitals, wellness centers, emergency rooms, nursing homes, rehabilitation facilities, home care agencies, assisted-living facilities and hospices. These health social workers help to ensure the patients are cared for properly and they liase with medical personnel.
  • Education: Some professional social workers go to teach the profession in colleges and universities, most social workers work in clinics, schools, hospitals and government agencies, as well as private practices and different organizations.
  • Public service: some social workers work in public services to render help to those who need them like the aged, prisoners, the abused, drug addicts, and so on. These social workers help these groups of people to find their lives back and help them to live normal and healthy lives. They help them to also embrace society and to find love and happiness as their former lives.

Sociology Vs. Social Work Which is Better?

While sociology degree focuses on understanding human life and it’s interaction with the environment, social work, on the other hand, deals with discovering, understanding of social factors that can influence human behaviour and help people overcome their social problems.

We can’t categorically say one is better than the other because they are both important and uniques in their various ways. This so because man is always faced with social problems on a daily basis and you need concerted efforts of both a sociologist and a social worker to solve these problems.

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