Careers in Medical Sociology


Medical sociology is a sub-field of sociology that observes elements of society within the areas of mental and physical health care, which includes the structure or regulation of the health care system or physician-patient relationships. Careers are often with health care services or facilities that include hospitals, social services industries or nursing homes. Careers in this field generally require a bachelor's or graduate degree. Earnings range from $38,370 to $100,680 annually depending upon position.

Medical Social Worker

  • Medical social workers help families and individuals deal with acute, chronic or permanent illnesses. They counsel and assist patients with hospital discharge and offer recommendations to family caregivers. They may specialize in working with the elderly. Other responsibilities include monitoring transportation and long-term care or housing of the patient. This position typically requires a bachelor's degree or master's degree in social work, medical sociology or a related field. Average income ranges from $38,370 to $51,470 depending on work industry.

Health Psychologist

  • Health psychologists study social, biological and psychological issues relating to mental illness and health. They counsel patients or clients in disease intervention, well-being and the lifestyle effects of their illnesses. Psychologists must possess a doctoral degree in their specified field, in this case health psychology, in order to practice independently. Those who work for mental health institutions or physician offices may do so with only a master's degree. Health psychologists are part of the clinical psychologist sub-field. Clinical psychologists who work in outpatient mental-health care centers earn approximately $66,200 annually, and those who work in physician offices earn about $81,620 a year.

Medical Sociologist

  • Medical sociologists study social behavior and society by observing medical groups, organizations and institutions. This differs from health psychologists, as they study and counsel individuals, as opposed to groups. Medical sociologists study health trends, historical or comparative analysis, and medical group interactions. Through this research, they form theories that could benefit physicians or health educators within the medical field. An entry-level position requires a bachelor's degree in medical or general sociology. For administrative research positions, a master's degree is required and for independent research, a Ph.D is needed. Individuals earn anywhere from $60,720 a year to $100,680 a year.

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