Studying the production and distribution of wealth, both theoretically and practically, is what an economics major does. There are two primary levels to economics: macroeconomics and microeconomics. Macroeconomics looks at a broader picture, monitoring economic activity across entire markets or countries. Microeconomics hones in on individuals and industries. Economics is offered at associate, baccalaureate, master, and doctorate levels, with most jobs that directly relate to economics requiring graduate degrees.
Associate’s in economics cover the basics in what’s traditionally a 2-year program attending full-time. Courses usually include macro- and microeconomics, as well as statistics, calculous, and accounting.
While most higher-level jobs will require a bachelor’s degree, there are a few opportunities for those with an associate’s, including: Insurance Sales Agent, Administrative Assistant, Bookkeeping Clerk, Marketing Agent. Median annual salary is around $39,000.
A baccalaureate in economics will delve deeper into the relationship between sales and cost while developing a more defined understanding of the technical and mathematical tools. Baccalaureates in economy are offered with two different degree options, as a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science. A BA in economics will stress more qualitative reasoning, while a BS has more quantitative reasoning at its core.
Both provide strong foundations in the area of study and can lead to careers as a Business Analyst, Research Associate, Labor Economist, Budget Analyst, Accountant.
There are a number of options for economics students interested in continuing their education. A Master’s in Business Administration is a popular one, but if the dedication is solely to economy, the Master of Arts in Economy or a Master of Science in Economy. An MA in this area of study focuses on theory, while an MS analyzes the mathematics underlying economics. Curriculum will include economic theory, econometrics, and applied economics.
Both the MA and MS can be treated as terminal degrees or a bridge to a PhD. With a Master’s, graduates can obtain careers as a Financial Manager, Economist, or Policy Analyst and median salary ranges anywhere between $47,000 to $103,000.
Doctorate degrees in economics are difficult but highly coveted. Programs are typically 3 to 5 years and require a dissertation documenting original research. Many graduates remain in academia, but others become survey researchers or economic consultants. Salaries at this level are also widely varied and range anywhere between $71,000 and $143,000.
There are a variety of certifications in the economic field depending on career. There are credentials required to become a Credit Analyst, Finance/Loan Officer, Financial Advisor, and Investment Banker, for starters.