How useful is an economics degree? Very very useful. Whether you pursue a specialization in analytical economics, microeconomics, or macroeconomics, there is a job waiting for you!

Understanding economic theory and knowing how to perform economic analysis can give you a leg up in a multitude of career opportunities.

Studying economics is not just for those who want to become economists, it is for anyone that wishes to understand more about how the actions of individuals affect business and economies. 

Economic programs in universities help their students learn about economic principles, quantitative methods, and multiple economic theories. This is all knowledge that you can learn to apply to a wide range of jobs. 

The abundance of transferable skills that students gain while majoring in economics, makes an undergraduate or master's degree in economics very much in demand. 

What Can You Do With an Economics Degree?

Since economics is the science of money and we all use money, it is no surprise that those who study economics can go into a wide range of careers.
science of money - economics
Economics is the science of money. (Photo by Pepi Stojanovski on Unsplash)
There are some obvious career choices linked to an economics degree such as becoming an economics teacher or tutor, or as an economist for the government.
Right here on Superprof, we have economic tutors that focus on helping students get through all of their economics requirements for their degrees.
But studying economics doesn’t mean you the only path would be solely economics-based. Having knowledge in economics can actually help build a solid foundation for a great number of careers.
Majoring in economics can help you build a foundation for careers in the following sectors:
  • banking
  • business
  • private enterprise
  • government
  • education
  • public policy
Demonstrating knowledge in economics can be highly sought out by employers. This is because studying this science not only teaches you the basic economic theories but it also allowed for the student to gain experience in:
  • Problem-solving
  • Understanding of current events
  • Analyzation and interpretation skills for data
All of the above are transferable skills that can be applied to a world of jobs and opportunities.
Completing a further specialization in your economics knowledge through a master's or doctoral degree can help you land a job in a more specific field.
Just because you majored in economics during your undergrad, it doesn’t mean you can't switch it up for grad school. Although undergraduate economics is not very heavy on math, graduate economics is, this is why a lot of economics majors jump into masters in social sciences, journalism, business, and even law. Through this method, they are able to have a foundation in economics but also an opportunity to focus on other subject matter.

How Much Money Do You Make After Studying Economics?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has stated that business and financial occupations are expected to grow by 10% over the coming 10 years. This stat is higher than the average for other industries, making it a very prosperous field to go into.
Careers for those that have studied economics are on a steady growth pattern and can be extremely lucrative.
The following is a list of the average salary in a couple of the careers available to econ majors.
  • Budget Analyst: $75,240
  • Financial Analyst: $84,300
  • Personal Finance Advisor: $90,640
  • Actuary: $101,560
Master's degree in economics
Earning a Master's Degree in Economics can boost your salary by $10K a year. (Photo by MD Duran on Unsplash)
If you choose to further your studies and receive a master's or Ph.D. in economic studies, your pay will correlate to your level of degree. With higher levels of education in economics, you can apply for more specialized jobs in the economics field and therefore be paid a higher wage.
The different types of roles and jobs that an economics major can take up after graduation vary a lot and so does the pay for each of these jobs. As you saw above, the range for post-grad jobs varies from mid-70s to low 100s. The salary for each of these jobs also varies depending on the city they are based in.
Here are the median salaries for city employees in the field of economics in different cities across the US:
  • Chicago: $61,947
  • Los Angeles: $71,312
  • Washington, DC: $67,071
  • San Francisco: $84,301
  • New York: $73,011
Cities with higher standards of living tend to equate their salaries to how much it costs to live in the city. If you are thinking of moving to a city that will pay a bit more for a job, you must also keep in mind that rent, food, and transportations must also be accounted for.
The above salaries are for individuals that have completed only an undergraduate degree. If you have gone a step further and earned a Master's of Arts or a Masters of Science in Economics, you will most likely be making an average of $10,000 more on your salary.
There are several universities that offer both undergraduate and graduate degrees in economics.

Are Economic Degrees in Demand?

YES! Employers are constantly looking for economics majors. No matter the career you will eventually like to have, obtaining skills such as analyzation and problem-solving will be a great foundation for any kind of specialization or other paths.
Problem solving in economics
Skills such as problem-solving can be learned through an economics degree and are highly appreciated by employers. (Photo by Olav Ahrens Røtne on Unsplash)
Many of the skills that you will receive from an undergraduate degree in economics can be easily applied to other careers.
  • Manipulating data, statistics, and finding relationships - being able to make sense of lists of numbers and data can be useful in so many different situations. The ability to identify patterns and relationships through a set of data can be a very desirable skill for a multitude of businesses.
  • Understanding of new products, industries, and business models - understanding economics can lead you into the world of business, either your own or working for a corporation and helping them understand the demands and factors that can lead to higher sales.

With a degree in economics, you are not only limited to work in the States. Economics is everywhere making it easy for you to take your degree abroad. There are plenty of job opportunities in the global market for students of international economics.

Do keep in mind that economic policy is different in all parts of the world so it is important to keep your mind open to different schools of economic thought.

Becoming an Economist

Although studying economics can open the doors to a wide variety of job opportunities, you can also simply choose to become an economist.
An economist focuses more on the study of the subject rather than the application of theories. Economist "study the production and distribution of resources, goods, and services by collecting and analyzing data, researching trends, and evaluating economic issues".
The main role of an economist is to analyze and collect data on their findings and observations.
data collected by an economists
Economic research involves the collection of data from multiple sources. (Photo by Carlos Muza on Unsplash)
An economist will frequently do some of the following:
  • Write academic articles or papers for scientific journals
  • Conduct surveys and collect data
  • Decipher market trends and calculate future market trends
  • Analyze economic data though software, mathematical models, and interpretation of statistics
  • Presentation of research findings as possible solutions
Most economists dive deep into research. As an economist, you will learn to use both qualitative and quantitative data for analysis on a wide range of economic topics. Depending on who you work for, your data collection and analysis can be about employment levels, business cycles, exchange rates, or interest rates. You will be studying all of these factors in different fields such as healthcare, education, development, just to name a few.
There are also plenty of opportunities for a trained economist to work for the government at either local, state, or federal levels. Through working with the government, an economist can have a great impact on their communities.
Economists work with policymakers on how the writing of new laws and policies will impact the constituents. They may analyze how employment, prices, productivity, and wages might change alongside the effects of the new policy.
Being an economist is also not limited to national work, a lot of economists can choose to work for organizations that analyze data on a more international scale. If you work at an international organization, research firms, and think tanks.
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