Careers in Economics
Who employs economists?
Just about any federal agency you can think of employs economists. You can start here at usajobs.com, or look at the following departments.
- Department of Labor
- Department of Commerce
- (including the Census)
- Federal Reserve
- Housing and Urban Development
- Health and Social Services
Many federal regulatory agencies employ economist:
Even the CIA employs economists.
Many students are not sure what to do with an Economics major. Here are some things to consider if you're a major (or thinking about becoming one) and wonder what types of opportunities are available to you when you graduate.
Economics is a great preparation for a job in just about any field. Any liberal arts degree prepares you for a job by giving you broad-based skills and Economics adds to that by giving you a set of tools and analytic techniques to analyze a variety of problems. So a firm looking for a good liberal arts graduate will also be looking for an Economics major. That includes government, marketing, sales, finance, and research.
If you are interested in a job that specifically relies on economics, there are several areas to think about. One is economic or management consulting firms, which are usually located in big cities. With a BA, you'll probably be working with someone with a higher degree and more experience. You could be doing anti-trust work, macroeconomic or market analysis and projections, demographic analysis, or litigation support, to name a few.
Another area for applying your degree in Economics is the government. Most state and local governments have jobs for economists in the areas of tax policy, planning, energy and telecommunications regulation, and others. But the federal government may be your best option.
Economics provides a very good background for many different types of graduate programs, including the following:
The average LSAT score for Economics majors was the highest of any academic discipline. That's probably because economics teaches you how to systematically analyze a problem. Law and Economics is also a growing field--not that you'll necessarily focus on that if you go to law school, but Law and Economics is very closely related. You can take a course in Law and Economics (EC 135) in the Economics Department at UVM. Read more information on pre-law at UVM.
Public Policy Programs
You can get a Masters in Public Policy at many different schools. It's usually a 2-year program and economics is a strong component of any MPP program. Students in these programs can focus on a wide variety of problems and issues, both domestic and international. These programs provide you with the training to be able to work for a variety of government or non-profit organizations. Consider viewing this non-exhaustive list of public policy and public administration programs.
Some Economics majors go to graduate programs to obtain a Masters Degree in Business Administration. There are also two-year programs that provide you with training to work in a business environment. There are a wide variety of such programs all over the country with a variety of areas of concentration, including finance, marketing, advertising, accounting, organizational behavior, and information. Many top-ranked MBA programs prefer to accept students who have a few years of business experience. Read a list of MBA programs and other resources.
There are many masters and doctoral programs in economics and agricultural economics throughout the country. With a 2-year Masters Degree, you can work in a variety of settings, including government, non-profit, and business. A Ph.D. program takes on average 5 to 7 years to complete and requires a strong mathematics background as well as Economics. Graduates teach at the college or university level or work for government, business, or non-profits. For those considering a graduate degree in Economics, you may want to prepare by taking a number of additional math courses, beyond Math 19, or getting a minor in mathematics. SUNY Albany maintains a list of Ph.D. programs in Economics in the U.S. and Canada. Many other countries, of course, have excellent programs.
Here are some other resources and places to look for information about jobs:
Job Openings for Economists (JOE) is an extensive listing of jobs for economists. Most of the jobs are for Ph.D. economists, but scroll down to the bottom of the list for jobs that are available for people with a B.A. or M.A. degrees.
Consider these other sites that have general information about career options for economists:
Last modified January 23 2013 03:31 PM