Economics is the study of Currency and financial institutions and how they affect consumers, households, businesses, cities, states, and countries. Get a college degree in this field. You might be able to work as an accountant, a financial manager or advisor, a banker, a corporate executive, or a professor at a university. Prospective economists can learn more about the finer points of the job by signing up for open courses at colleges and universities that are free of charge.
Most economics classes for people in their first year of college focus on the basics of personal and business finances, known as microeconomics and macroeconomics, respectively. Economics majors in graduate school often choose their specializations based on what role they want to play in the financial market after they graduate and start working. Some will work for private or public companies, while others will be at the top of their field as independent economists or academic researchers. For a career in economics to be successful, you need to know how and why money affects society and each person.
Most economics programs for first-year college students will have full course sequences for both micro-and macro-economics. Starting with introductory courses, these sequences will talk about Game Theory, industrial organization, supply chain management, and other complex ideas that can be used in almost any business or organization. Economics majors in graduate school often look at case studies, study different (and often contradictory) economic theories, and look at how the economy works in certain countries or parts of the world.
There are different ways that colleges and universities specialize in economics. Some schools offer economics as a specialization in finance, business management, or a minor. Other schools will offer fields in economics like international trade and business, mathematics, accounting, or statistical analysis. Students who want to specialize in economics should carefully look into their college options to ensure that at least one of them offers this type of concentration.
In addition to choosing a specialty, people who want to become economists must decide which degree(s) they wish to get to compete for jobs. Here is a list of the four most common economics degrees:
There may be one or two lower-level economics classes in an associate degree, but this degree focuses more on general education than on specialized study. This degree track will teach students about important economic ideas and help them decide if this is the right field. However, most professional jobs will require a higher degree.
Bachelor’s degree programs in economics focus on the basics of the field and don’t allow students to specialize. Even though a bachelor’s degree is enough for some entry-level finance or accounting jobs (especially with the U.S. government), most students use their undergraduate degree as a stepping stone to a master’s and doctoral degree in economics.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) says that most jobs in economics require either a master’s degree or a Ph.D. In a master’s program, students will learn more about the big ideas they were first introduced to in their undergraduate studies. They will also be able to apply what they have learned to markets and organizations in the real world.
This credential is usually needed for people who want to teach economics in college or university and for people who want to work in advanced economic theory. Ph.D. programs typically require a long research project, and many of them also need the student to do an internship at a local business, nonprofit, or financial institution.
Some professionals will need to take more classes in addition to the degrees listed above to be considered for work. For example, accountants need to pass the CPA Exam to get state certification.
Ideal Candidates for Economics
Economics is a field with a lot of numbers and statistics. If you want to get a degree and work in this field, you should be comfortable working with different data sets and understand different types of math. Since many people find it hard to understand economics, professional economists should also have good presentation skills and be able to explain complicated ideas and theories in a way that is easy to understand.
Pathways to a Career
The BLS says that the field of economics will grow by 14% between 2012 and 2022, which is about the same as the average rate of growth for all jobs. About 16,900 economists are working in the United States right now. In 2012, the average salary for someone with a Master’s in Economics was $91,860 per year.
The BLS says that economists’ chances of getting a job depend on which industry they work in. Many private businesses and organizations have started to hire more economists to help them analyze money trends and improve their financial performance. However, the competition for the best jobs is still fierce. On the other hand, the federal government has always been the largest employer of professional economists. However, the number of people who get jobs with the government will likely decrease in the coming years.
Students interested in economics should look for student groups and clubs at their college or university that focus on finance, business management, and other related fields. Through these groups, students can connect with other economists, go to conferences, and find out about job openings. Aspiring economists can also learn from professional groups and economics-focused magazines, such as Forbes and Fortune.