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Should I Earn an Economics Degree?

Economics Degree Overview

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What Is an Economics Degree?

An economics degree is an academic degree awarded to students who have completed a college, university, or business school program with a focus on economics.

Types of Economics Degrees

There are four basic types of economic degrees that can be earned from an academic program. They include: If you would like to work as an economist, an economics degree is a must. A bachelor's degree is the required minimum for most entry-level positions. However, grads with a master's or Ph.D. degree have the best employment options. For advanced positions, an advanced degree is almost always required.

Economists who would like to work for the Federal Government need at least a bachelor's degree with a minimum of 21 semester hours of economics and an additional 3 hours of statistics, accounting, or calculus. If you would like to teach economics, you should earn a Ph.D. degree. A master's degree may be acceptable for teaching positions in high schools and community colleges.

Choosing an Economics Degree Program

An economics degree can be obtained from many different college, university, or business school programs. In fact, the economics major is one of the most popular majors at top business schools around the country. But it is important not to choose just any program--you must find an economics degree program that fits your academic needs and career goals.

When choosing an economics degree program, you should look at the types of courses that are offered. Some economics degree programs allow you to specialize in a specific area of economics, such as microeconomics or macroeconomics. Other popular specialization options include econometrics, international economics, and labor economics. If you are interested in specializing, the program should have the appropriate courses.

Other things to consider when choosing an economics degree program include class sizes, faculty qualifications, internship opportunities, networking opportunities, completion rates, career placement statistics, available financial aid, and tuition costs. Finally, be sure to check into accreditation. It is important to earn an economics degree from an accredited institution or program.

Other Economics Education Options

An economics degree program is the most common education option for students who are interested in becoming economists or working in the economics field. But a formal degree program isn't the only education option. If you have already earned an economics degree (or even if you haven't), you may be able to continue your education with a free online business course. Economics education programs--both free and fee-based--are also available through various associations and organizations. In addition, courses, seminars, certificate programs, and other education options may be offered online or through a college or university in your area. These programs may not result in a formal degree, but they can enhance your resume and increase your knowledge of economics.

What Can I Do with an Economics Degree?

Many people who earn an economics degree go on to work as an economist. Employment opportunities are available in private industry, government, academia, and business. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, federal, state, and local governments employ more than half of all economists in the United States. Other economists work for private industry, particularly in areas of scientific research and technical consulting. Experienced economists may choose to work as teachers, instructors, and professors.

Many economists specialize in a specific area of economics. They may work as industrial economists, organizational economists, monetary economists, financial economists, international economists, labor economists, or econometricians. Regardless of specialization, knowledge of general economics is a must.

In addition to working as an economist, economics degree holders can also work in closely related fields, including business, finance, or insurance. Common job titles include: See more jobs for economy majors.

Learn More about Earning an Economics Degree

Click on the links below to learn more about earning an economics degree:
  • About Economics - This About.com site offers information about the economics field, notable economists, and much more. If you have any economics related questions, you can start a discussion in the site's forum.
  • American Economic Association - The AEA provides information about economics careers, including employment opportunities, salary statistics, and links to additional resources.
  • National Association for Business Economics - The NABE, a professional association for business economists, offers information about economics education, careers, and more.

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