Economics Degree Guide – Everything You Need to Know
If we were to explain the concept of economics as simply as possible, we’d say it’s the study of how humans, like you and I, make decisions in the face of scarcity. This concept applies to individuals, families, businesses, and countries.
The major issue that economics studies address is that there aren’t enough resources for people’s wants and needs. Resources like manpower, equipment, land, raw materials and time are essential to produce the goods and services we need. Although they’re available resources, they’re also very limited. Economists dive in to understand the concept of finite resources and how they can be used for maximum productivity.
The reason you may find a bachelor’s degree in economics appealing is that it’s a versatile major that prepares you for many roles within different industries and positions in governments, businesses, and areas of technology and finance. As the world focuses on economic issues, money, and finance, the study of economics becomes more crucial.
What Careers Can You Pursue With a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics?
So if you’re asking which areas could you pursue your career in if you study economics, the answer is studying economics will prepare you to take part in a wide breadth of careers. For a bachelor of economics, potential employers include governments, banks, insurance companies, multinational corporations, accountancy firms, financial consultancies, and local authorities.
Here are some of the potential careers for an economics major.
Economic Consultant – Economic consultants use analytical skills and research to analyze trends and bring clarity to complex economic issues. Economic consultants can work for organizations in a variety of industries such as businesses, governments, health care institutions, and educational institutions. They can also be part of consultancy firm or work individually, after some years of experience.
Mainly what economic analysts do is they carry out a considerable amount of research and process information that’s used to produce forecasts of economic trends and assess feasibility. Based on their findings, economic analysts then give recommendations to organizations to improve and develop their existing status.
Actuarial Analyst – Actuaries use advanced statistical formulas and mathematical skills to assess and analyze the likelihood of major risks such as fires, deaths, illnesses, and business failures. They’re usually hired by insurance companies, consultancy firms, and governments.
Specialist software and spreadsheets are used by actuarial analysts to help in their analysis, so apart from their analytical and critical thinking skills, actuarial analysts also utilize IT in their careers.
Financial Analyst – Every business needs a financial analyst to identify areas of potential risks and opportunities that it faces. Financial analysts use quantitative information to give predictions about future events and trends that are of influence on the organization.
For instance, a financial analyst assesses the performance of stocks and bonds to help businesses and individuals make better investment decisions. They can be part of one organization or work with multiple clients.
Chartered Public Finance Accountant – Economics majors are highly valued in the public sector. Chartered public finance accountants are responsible for finance activities within public organizations.
Mainly, they’re responsible for financial reporting and control. Public finance accountants can work for governments, publicly funded organizations, the police, and the military.
Stockbroker – Stockbrokers buy and sell stocks and securities for clients in return for a fee or commission.
Discretionary brokers manage their clients’ investments and take decisions on their behalf. Executive brokers, on the other hand, engage in investment activities upon the request of their client. Advisory stockbrokers don’t directly make decisions on behalf of the client, but rather give advice on the appropriate investments.
Professor – Of course, there’s always the option to work as a professor, teaching and researching economic topics at a college or university. Usually, professor positions require a Ph.D. while some universities hire candidates with a master’s degree.
How Much Do Economics Majors Make Out of College?
One can’t ignore salaries when it comes to choosing a career path. Fortunately, economics majors have a wide range of appealing opportunities in the work field. Salaries vary from one area of specialty to the other for economics majors.
For instance, financial analysts with no previous experience make around $84K while the average pay for certified public finance accountants is slightly over $64K.Those with an economics degree can actually start their career at $49K and can reach a little over $110K as they gain more experience.
Bear in mind that these are estimates and the average pay for economist majors may vary from one place to the other. Additionally, it’s important to realize that the salary earned isn’t everything and following your passion is essential if you want to excel in your career. Thankfully though, the field of economics provides jobs with decent salaries.
The field of economics is always growing and that’s because holders of an economics degree always have a place in so many different industries. Take the internet sector for example, as technology advances, more analytics are used by economists. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the expected growth rate of occupations for economists from 2016 to 2026 is 6%, which is as fast as the average growth rate for all occupations.
Different Levels of Economics Degrees
Many valuable undergraduates and graduate courses exist for future economists. Of course, different courses vary in depth. Some courses offer a general idea about economics for beginners while other courses prepare candidates for a professional career. A number of certifications can be attained right after high-school and on the other hand, some courses require prerequisites.
Certificate in Economics
Many schools offer certificates in economics for students who have just completed their high-school degree, undergraduate students, and college graduates. This type of certificate is great if you’d like to explore the area of economics without completely committing to the field through college.
These courses first and foremost touch on the differences between macroeconomics and microeconomics. Subjects tackled in the courses may vary, however, most of them explore areas of business, basic principles of economics, intermediate macroeconomics, microeconomic analysis, and principles of managerial economics.
Associate’s Degree in Economics
Although employment in the field of economics requires at least a bachelor’s degree, it’s a good idea to start off with an associate degree and build up from there. Courses in an associate degree usually include principles of macroeconomics, elementary statistics, financial accounting, calculus, budget planning, accounting, and econometrics.
Students enrolled are required to complete 60-semester credits to graduate or 90 quarter hours. Associate degrees are usually completed in two years for full-time students and around three to five years for part-time students.
Various options are available such as on-campus and online attendance, as well as full-time and part-time enrollment. An associate’s degree is beneficial for those starting out and those making career shifts.
Bachelor’s Degree in Economics
A bachelor’s degree in economics is the minimum requirement for a successful career path in the field. Economics degrees are usually taught as a mixture of lectures and seminars.
Economic degrees can be a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science in Economics. An economics B.S. highlights more mathematics, statistical theory, and techniques while an economics B.A. involves more qualitative modules.
Some of the core subjects tackled include microeconomics, macroeconomics, econometrics, and economic thought. Along with the core subjects, a bachelor’s degree usually pairs subjects like computer science, engineering, history, law, sociology, management, mathematics, modern languages, and politics.
To apply for a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics, you must be a high school graduate or have completed your GED. Usually, the degree is completed in four years and requires the completion of 120 credit hours.
Master’s Degree in Economics
A Master’s Degree in Economics equips students with the advanced knowledge and quantitative skills required to excel in the work field. It’s a stepping stone to a Ph.D. and it’s usually considered by those who wish to pursue a professional career. It’s usually completed in one or two years. An M.A. in Economics offers courses with a higher level of mathematical sophistication than undergraduate degrees.
Programs require acquiring a bachelor’s degree and some programs may require that applicants pass an entry-level exam such as the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) or the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).
Doctoral Degree in Economics
A Doctor of Philosophy in Economics is the most advanced program of all postgraduate studies. It’s a research-based degree that focuses on microeconomics, macroeconomics, econometrics, and quantitative analysis. Economists that pursue a teaching career often obtain a doctoral degree. Typically, the program takes from four to six years to complete.
Different Types of Bachelor Economics Degrees
As we mentioned earlier, the study of economics is very wide and intersects with many other fields like business, finance, and politics. For that reason, schools offer different programs with each program specializing in a unique area.
To choose the best program for you, you must first focus on your goals and career options and pick the program that suits you accordingly.
Bachelor of Science in Economics
The Bachelor of Science in Economics is focused on mathematical analysis and theories. It builds strong analytical abilities for students who wish to specialize in economics.
Subjects that are focused on in this program include, but are not limited to advanced mathematics, calculus and algebra, statistics, microeconomics/macroeconomics, economic theory, financial institutions/financial markets, computer science, and accounting.
Those who complete the Bachelor of Science in Economics have the opportunity to work as budget analysts, industry analysts, field marketing associates, and financial consultants.
Bachelor of Arts in Economics
The Bachelor of Arts in Economics focuses on qualitative rather than mathematical analysis. This degree acquaints candidates with current thinking on matters like inflation, unemployment, the national debt, taxation policy, labor force analysis, and international trade policy.
Holders of this degree can find jobs as lawyers, managers, policy researchers, analysts and consultants, and statisticians.
Bachelor in Financial Economics
Finance is a matter that’s studied in the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science, however, in this case, finance is focused on even more. This program is designed to prepare candidates to work as analysts, traders, investors or bankers.
This degree is especially beneficial to those who wish to pursue their career as financial analysts. The program includes the study of the different economic theories and models, in addition to credit, debt, and other factors that impact buying and selling in general.
Bachelor in International Economics
For the past years, global businesses have been on the rise and that created the need for economists who specialize in international affairs. The Bachelor in International Economics prepares future economists to make critical decisions and acquire the set of skills they need to keep track of the dynamic economic changes.
This program focuses on strong technical training and explores topics such as international trade, international finance, and international development. Those who complete the program should be able to think critically and analyze issues in international affairs and economics.
Graduates can seek jobs in many different industries in global organizations, NGOs, and public sectors.
Bachelor in Economics And Law
This bachelor program is for those interested to find out how economics and law intersect. It teaches how to question, analyze, and predict behavior, as well as the study of policies and values of law. Throughout this program, students learn how the law and institutional rules affect economic outcomes.
Some of the subjects include microeconomics, introduction to law, political science, macroeconomics, and business taxation laws.
Possible career options for this degree include legal advisors within governmental institutions, lawyers in corporations, and consultants.
Bachelor in Business Economics
This degree provides students with a broad foundation on how economic principles and theories apply to business entities. In a way, this program intersects with a Bachelor in Financial Economics because they both study financial markets, banking, and investment.
In this program, students will learn the concept of supply and demand as well as production and how they affect businesses and governments. Also, they’ll get a deep understanding of how economic trends affect firms.
Economics Degree Requirements and Prerequisites
Requirements and prerequisites for a Bachelor in Economics may vary from one school to the other. Most degrees in economics, however, require that candidates have a high-school degree or GED equivalent as a minimum. Also, some universities require background knowledge on the subject of economics and some applications require that students take the SAT or the ACT test.
For international students, it’s required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) tests.
Typical Economics Program Coursework
The coursework for the bachelor’s degree may vary from one university or college to the other. Undergraduate courses take four years of full-time study to complete while an associate’s degree takes only two years of full-time study.
An undergraduate degree will give you a broad and general idea of economics. Throughout the program, you’ll learn in-depth about the two major elements of economics; microeconomics and macroeconomics.
Macroeconomics includes learning about topics such as national income, GDP, public policy, inflation, debt, pricing, output, and employment. This course prepares graduates to work as market research analysts or economists.
Microeconomics studies narrower scopes like decision making of individuals and firms. Other common courses include introductory statistical methods, econometrics, and the history of economics.
Students can also choose different concentrations. Developmental economics, for instance, is a concentration for those interested in working with NGOs or non-profit organizations. Another concentration is business economics which prepares students to work as economists and market research analysts.
What does it mean to have an accredited economics degree?
When searching for a school to obtain your degree, it’s essential to look for programs that are accredited. Candidates with accredited degrees are favored by employers because an accreditation means that the program meets with the national standards of education quality.
The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) is the main accreditation organization for economics and business-related subjects. An AACSB accreditation means that the program has earned a stamp on academic quality.
How long does it take to get an economics degree?
The time needed to complete a degree depends on the type of degree you are seeking and whether or not you’ll be studying full time. A Bachelor in Economics takes four years to complete for full-time students while an Associate of Economics takes two years for full-time students and three to five years for part-time students.
Should I get my economics degree online?
Several factors affect the choice of whether to take the degree online or on-campus. First and foremost, personal preference is an important factor to consider. Some people prefer the flexibility of online courses while others like traditional classroom settings.
Another factor is time constraints. People who are shifting careers or are generally busy may find that online courses are more suitable as they can study at their own pace.
Finally, the cost of the program is another point to consider. Some online courses are cheaper than on-campus courses and yet provide the same level of training.
What economics degree jobs are available to graduates?
An economics degree will equip you with the needed set of skills to enter the workforce. Bear in mind that usually, the minimum requirement for jobs in the field is the bachelor’s degree.
Once you obtain your degree, you can work in areas directly related to the field such as an actuarial analyst, a chartered accountant, a chartered public finance accountant, a data analyst, a financial risk analyst, a statistician, or a stockbroker.
Other areas that aren’t directly related to the field are also an option. These include positions like business development managers, quantity surveyors, data scientists, or local government officers.