What Careers Does an Economics Graduate Degree Prepare You For?

Graduate degree programs in economics typically prepare students for work in research and teaching positions in academic settings. Some colleges and universities have economics graduate degree programs with an emphasis on working in industry. Read this article to learn about careers you can prepare for by earning a graduate degree in economics. Schools offering Economics degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Field Overview

Economics job-seekers with graduate degrees have the best prospects in the job market compared with their counterparts who only hold undergraduate degrees. Economists and other mainline professionals in their field generally need a graduate degree. These professionals also include consultants, economic researchers, financial analysts, and professors.

Important Facts About Career Options for Economics Graduate Degree Holders

Economists Economics Professors Financial Analysts
Professional Certification Voluntary through the National Association for Business Economics (NABE) No certification available Preferred by employers; available through the CFA Institute
Key Skills Analytical and critical thinking; clear communication; attention to detail; solid math foundation Ingenuity; critical thinking; social nuance; clear speaking and writing ability Computer competency; analytical thinking; good judgment and decision making; attention to detail
Work Environment Federal, state, and local government; management, scientific, and technical consulting services; finance and insurance companies Colleges, universities, and professional schools; junior colleges Securities, commodity contracts, and other financial investments and related activities; management of companies and enterprises; credit intermediation and related activities
Similar Occupations Actuaries; budget analysts; market research analysts Career and technical education teachers; postsecondary education administrators; sociologists Financial managers; insurance underwriters; personal finance advisors;


Economists examine the way people, groups, and societies use the resources they have to produce goods and services. They research particular topics, gather data, analyze the information, and make future predictions. Economists usually specialize in an area of expertise, such as financial economics, labor economics, industrial economics, or microeconomics.


Clients hire economic consultants when they need advice on economic conditions that might affect business. Consultants perform research and develop models. They present research findings to the clients who might be corporations, governments, or other financial institutions. Clients use this information to address recessions, interest rate fluctuations, and market conditions.


Economics professors work in colleges and universities teaching graduate and undergraduate students in a variety of economic topics and sub-topics. They conduct research and consult with organizations, businesses, or governments. Economics professors keep up to date with the current economic trends and research findings through colleagues, trade publications, and conferences.

Financial Analyst

Financial analysts, also known as investment and securities analysts, evaluate the performance of companies and entire industries for their employers who wish to make financial investments. Their employers include a variety of financial institutions, such as banks, securities firms, mutual funds, and business media. Financial analysts perform research, evaluate market information, and make recommendations on financial and investment decisions.

Economic Researcher

Economic researchers monitor and predict trends in different areas of the economy. Areas may include international trade, market competitiveness, and business cycles. Economic researchers typically work for economic research firms. The work itself is often similar to that of economists.

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), employment in occupations relating to the economic field is very positive: the Bureau anticipates that during the 2016-2026 decade, the employment of economists will grow by 6%; that of economics postsecondary teachers by 11%; and of financial analysts, by 11%. Median annual salaries earned in each of the positions were reported by the BLS in May 2018 as follows: economists, $104,340; economics professors, $101,480; and financial analysts, $85,660.

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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