Careers in Economics

Majoring in economics prepares you for a wide variety of job opportunities in business, banking, government, and education, as well as in other fields like law, organized labor, politics, and journalism. Although many of these jobs will require graduate training for advancement, entry-level positions are available for those holding a bachelor's degree in economics.

  • In business and banking, economists are hired to prepare forecasts of the general economic climate and to analyze market conditions specific to individual companies. The Federal Reserve System, our nation's central bank, also hires economics majors as research analysts. The insurance industry employs economists to project the financial effects of illness, retirement, death, and other events on benefit plans.
  • In government at the federal, state, and municipal levels, economists work for agencies in the fields of agriculture, business, finance, transportation, public utilities, urban policy, and international trade.
  • Combined with courses in education, a major in economics can prepare you for a career as a high school teacher, and with graduate training, for a career as a college teacher.

The value of an economics degree goes beyond getting a job. The salaries of economists tend to be higher than those in many other fields. Here are some salaries for bachelor's degree students as reported by Outside LinkForbes.com in 2008.

 

Rank
Major
Years of Work Experience
   
0-5
5-10
10-20
1
Computer Engineering $60,500 $80,800 $104,000
2
Economics $48,100 $71,800 $96,200
3
Electrical Engineering $59,900 $78,400 $96,100
4
Computer Science $54,200 $75,000 $94,000
5
Mechanical Engineering $56,900 $73,000 $88,100
6
Finance $46,900 $64,300 $84,400
7
Mathematics $43,500 $64,700 $82,200
8
Civil Engineering $52,600 $67,100 $81,700
9
Political Science $39,400 $55,000 $74,400
10
Marketing $39,400 $54,000 $72,300
11
Accounting $44,600 $57,900 $71,500
12
History $37,600 $52,100 $56,000
13
Business Management $40,900 $51,700 $64,900
14
Communications $36,400 $50,300 $64,300
15
English $36,700 $47,000 $62,300
16
Biology $37,900 $52,600 $60,000
17
Sociology $35,700 $46,900 $55,900
18
Graphic Design $34,700 $45,300 $54,700
19
Psychology $34,700 $45,400 $54,000
20
Criminal Justice $34,200 $44,400 $53,400

Source: PayScale.com; as reported in Forbes.com, June 18, 2008.

Page last updated: Sep. 25, 2008