Economics Majors: Salary and Career Facts

Find out about the types of jobs you could pursue with a degree in economics. Read on to learn more about career options along with career outlooks and salary information. Schools offering Economics degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Can I Do With an Economics Degree?

An economics degree can provide you with skills and knowledge that are widely needed in areas such as education, government, and business. You may become a high school economics teacher, an economist, or a market research analyst. High school economics teachers teach students who are in the 9th-12th grades. Economists research economic issues and collect data to make policies to solve economic problems. Market research analysts study marketing trends and prepare reports to help companies make marketing decisions.

The table below provides information on some of these career options.

High School Economics TeacherEconomistMarket Research Analyst
Degree Required Bachelor's degree Master's degree Bachelor's degree
Licensure/Certification State license and/or certification required None Voluntary certification available
Key Responsibilities Educate students in economic concepts, communicate with parents, assess student progress Review data, conduct surveys, report findings Predict market trends, compile data on consumers, analyze survey information
Job Growth (2014-2024) 6% (for all high school teachers)* 6%* 19%*
Mean Salary (2015) $60,440 (for all high school teachers)* $109,230* $70,030*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Economics majors have a number of employment opportunities in various industries. You might choose to work in government, research, education, consulting, business or the nonprofit sector. Candidates with bachelor's degrees generally qualify for entry-level positions in business and research.

The government is a large employer of economists. You could work for such agencies as the Department of Labor, Department of Treasury and the Federal Reserve Bank. Bachelor's degree candidates generally need solid backgrounds in mathematics, statistics and computer science in addition to economics to qualify for government research assistant positions.

If you'd like to work in education, you can teach economics at the high school level after meeting state teacher licensing requirements. Businesses and firms often hire economists to fill sales, insurance, marketing and finance positions. These types of positions can include financial analyst, purchasing manager, investment counselor, financial researcher, cost analyst, collection agent, statistician and market research analyst.

What Would My Job Duties Be?

Many economists spend much of their time gathering and analyzing data, administering surveys, creating graphs and writing reports. For example, if you work for the government, you might be in charge of collecting and analyzing data on prices, wages, employment levels and productivity in the United States. Economists working for international firms and corporations may monitor international markets and exchange rates.

If you work for a business, consulting firm or the government, your job duties could involve monitoring economic trends and making forecasts of future trends that would impact market and investment decisions, such as inflation, taxes or interest rates. You may also be expected to give presentations about your findings and write reports for financial publications. However, your specific job duties and the economic issues you concentrate on will depend on the industry in which you work.

What Could I Expect to Earn?

Like many occupations, economists are generally paid according to education level and work experience. Earnings can also vary by industry. Bachelor's degree candidates can increase their earnings potential by gaining experience or earning an advanced degree. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the mean salary of economists in 2015 was $109,230 (www.bls.gov). Those working for the federal government earned an annual salary of $114,600, while those who worked for state governments averaged $67,950.

What Is the Career Outlook?

According to the BLS, the employment of economists will grow as fast as average at 6% from 2014 to 2024. The loss of jobs in the government sector will be tempered slightly by growth of employment in the private sector. Those with graduate degrees in economics are likely to have an advantage in the job market over those with only an undergraduate education.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

With a bachelor's or master's degree, you may also consider pursuing a career as an operations research analyst, budget analyst or statistician. As a statistician, you'd collect data and prepare reports to help solve problems in fields such as healthcare, business, government and marketing. Operations research analysts resolve issues by collecting and evaluating performance data for organizations. Budget analysts are responsible for developing and monitoring budgets for institutions, as well as giving advice on finance organization.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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