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Economics Major

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Economics

40,352 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
4,391 Master's Degrees Annually
#14 in Popularity
$115,590 Median Salary

Types of Degrees Economics Majors Are Getting

The following table lists how many economics graduations there were in 2018-2019 for each degree level.

Education Level Number of Grads
Bachelor’s Degree 40,355
Master’s Degree 4,391
Associate’s Degree 2,228
Doctor’s Degree 1,225
Graduate Certificate 83
Basic Certificate 12
Undergraduate Certificate 3

What Economics Majors Need to Know

People with careers related to economics were asked what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important for their jobs. They weighted these areas on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the highest.

Knowledge Areas for Economics Majors

According to O*NET survey takers, a major in economics should prepare you for careers in which you will need to be knowledgeable in the following areas:

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  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • Economics and Accounting - Knowledge of economic and accounting principles and practices, the financial markets, banking and the analysis and reporting of financial data.
  • Administration and Management - Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
  • Law and Government - Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.

Skills for Economics Majors

A major in economics prepares you for careers in which the following skill-sets are crucial:

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  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Abilities for Economics Majors

Economics majors often go into careers where the following abilities are vital:

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  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.

What Can You Do With a Economics Major?

Below is a list of occupations associated with economics:

Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary
Compliance Managers 8.0% $107,480
Economics Professors 10.9% $101,480
Economists 6.1% $104,340
Environmental Economists 6.1% $104,340
Investment Fund Managers 8.0% $107,480
Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists 23.2% $63,120
Regulatory Affairs Managers 8.0% $107,480
Supply Chain Managers 8.0% $107,480
Survey Researchers 2.1% $57,700
Wind Energy Project Managers 8.0% $107,480

Who Is Getting a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics?

40,355 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
34% Percent Women
30% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities*
This is one of the most frequently chosen undergraduate majors. It is the 14th most popular in the country with 40,352 students graduating with a bachelor’s in economics in 2019. This major tends to be male dominated. About 66% of recent graduates are men.

Racial-Ethnic Diversity

At the countrywide level, the racial-ethnic distribution of economics majors is as follows:

Racial-Ethnic Diversity of Economics Students with Bachelor's Degrees
Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 5,071
Black or African American 1,675
Hispanic or Latino 3,937
White 19,128
International Students 7,919
Other Races/Ethnicities 2,625

Geographic Diversity

Americans aren’t the only ones with an interest in Economics. About 19.6% of those with this major are international students. The most popular countries for students from outside the country are:

  • China
  • South Korea
  • India
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Vietnam

How Much Do Economics Majors Make?

Bachelor’s Degree Starting Salary

The median early-career salary of economics students with a bachelor’s degree is $44,300 a year according to 2017-2018 data from the U.S. Department of Education. During this timeframe, most salaries fell between $39,100 (25th percentile) and $50,200 (75th percentile).

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It is possible that some of these people may have taken positions that were not related to economics.

Salaries According to BLS

Economics majors often go into careers where salaries can range from $70,960 to $116,020 (25th to 75th percentile). This range includes all degree levels, so the salary for a person with just a bachelor’s degree may be a little less and the one for a person with an advanced degree may be a little more.

To put that into context, according to BLS data from the first quarter of 2020, the typical high school graduate makes between $30,000 and $57,900 a year (25th through 75th percentile). The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $45,600 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,600 and $125,400.

Median Salary for an Economics Major  ( 70960 to 116020 )
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250K
Median Salary for a High School Graduate  ( 30000 to 57900 )
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250K
Median Salary for a Bachelor's Degree Holder  ( 45600 to 99000 )
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250K
Median Salary for an Advanced Degree Holder  ( 55600 to 125400 )
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250K

Some degrees associated with economics may require an advanced degree, while others may not even require a bachelor’s in the field. In general, the more advanced your degree the more career options will open up to you. However, there is significant time and money that needs to be invested into your education so weigh the pros and cons.

How much schooling do you really need to compete in today’s job market? People currently working in careers related to economics have obtained the following education levels.

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Education Level Percentage of Workers
High School Diploma - or the equivalent (for example, GED) 0.9%
Post-Secondary Certificate - awarded for training completed after high school (for example, in agriculture or natural resources, computer services, personal or culinary services, engineering technologies, healthcare, construction trades, mechanic and repair technologies, or precision production) 0.7%
Some College Courses 0.1%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 2.6%
Bachelor’s Degree 35.0%
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Baccalaureate degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees carrying the title of Master. 1.4%
Master’s Degree 23.3%
Post-Master’s Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Master’s degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees at the doctoral level. 3.0%
First Professional Degree - awarded for completion of a program that: requires at least 2 years of college work before entrance into the program, includes a total of at least 6 academic years of work to complete, and provides all remaining academic requirements to begin practice in a profession. 1.1%
Doctoral Degree 22.0%
Post-Doctoral Training 0.8%

Online Economics Programs

In the 2018-2019 academic year, 920 schools offered some type of economics program. The following table lists the number of programs by degree level, along with how many schools offered online courses in the field.

Degree Level Colleges Offering Programs Colleges Offering Online Classes
Certificate (Less Than 1 Year) 18 0
Certificate (1-2 years) 2 0
Certificate (2-4 Years) 2 0
Associate’s Degree 122 27
Bachelor’s Degree 33 5
Post-Baccalaureate 18 0
Master’s Degree 344 19
Post-Master’s 16 0
Doctor’s Degree (Research) 179 1
Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice) 1 0
Doctor’s Degree (Other) 0 0

Is a Degree in Economics Worth It?

The median salary for a economics grad is $115,590 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 190% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $1,513,800 after 20 years!

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You may also be interested in one of the following majors related to economics.

Major Number of Grads
Political Science & Government 47,035
Sociology 37,611
General Social Sciences 19,694
International Relations & National Security 15,207
Anthropology 11,703
Criminology 9,783
Geography & Cartography 8,673
Other Social Sciences 2,729
Urban Studies 1,647
Sociology & Anthropology 543
Archeology 364
Demography & Population Studies 77
Rural Sociology 36

References

*The racial-ethnic minorities count is calculated by taking the total number of students and subtracting white students, international students, and students whose race/ethnicity was unknown. This number is then divided by the total number of students at the school to obtain the racial-ethnic minorities percentage.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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