Medicine & USMLE

Achieved Status & Class System

Status and Social Stratification
  1. Ascribed Status & Caste System
  2. Achieved Status & Class System
  3. Master Status


Achieved statuses are social positions earned in part on the basis of merit and personal accomplishments. Achieved status plays a role in the class system of social stratification, which describes flexible social classes and social mobility based on ability. 

Key Points

  • Achieved Status
    • Voluntary, changeable social position earned by merit
    • Associated with Class System
      • People occupy social tiers called classes that are partially achieved through merit
      • Flexible/Fluid social groupings with higher social mobility


An example of an achieved status is becoming a doctor: it reflects years of schooling and hard work.
An example of the class system at work is the “American Dream”, in which people can advance their social position and class through hard work and achievements. Anyone can move up or down in social status depending on their capability.