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What Can You Do With a Master's Degree in Economics?

A Master's in Economics can be the gateway to hundreds of job opportunities in dozens of fields. Graduating with a master's can also help job candidates stand out from the crowd when looking for employment in positions that might otherwise attract candidates with a bachelor’s degree. Of course, a master’s degree is also the stepping stone to a Ph.D. in Economics, which is often a requirement for anyone interested in teaching economics at a distinguished university or becoming a respected researcher.

Why a Master's in Economics?

Economists work as consultants, public policy analysts, financial managers, health insurance analysts and much more. One thing most of these career paths have in common, however, is the need for a master's degree to get your foot in the door and/or work your way through the ranks. Types of careers in economics that typically either require or benefit from a master’s degree include:

  • Economist
  • Consultant
  • Professor
  • Policy Analyst
  • Budget Analyst
  • Market Researcher
  • Data Scientist
  • Statistician

Work as a Government Economist

According to the most recent statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 36 percent of economists work for the government at the local, state and federal levels. Government economists serve in a wide variety of positions involving policy research and analysis. Economists play an important role at each level of the government as policymakers use their insights when drafting, reviewing and implementing policies and programs. Working in the public sector, while not always the highest-paying option for master's degree holders, provides an opportunity to work on important societal problems, potentially improving the lives of others. Public sector jobs can also offer more security than some private sector jobs.

Work as a Private Sector Economist

Jobs in the private sector often require a Master's in Economics in order to gain even entry-level employment. For those who wish to enter the private sector, the knowledge and skills obtained in pursuit of a master’s degree will be valuable for a wide range of careers. Economic consultants, for example, provide expert insight into complex financial and economic situations and offer expert testimony in major litigation cases. Consultants also apply economic analysis to help businesses evaluate and implement strategic decisions. Master’s programs that specialize in applied economics are particularly beneficial for students who wish to enter the private sector, as this discipline focuses on the application of economic principles in the real world.

Other Opportunities with a Master’s in Economics

There are many other career paths and job opportunities for students of economics. For instance, you may want to assume a consulting or research role at one of the many economic “think tanks” in the country that help shape public policy decisions. Or if you have an interest in international development, a Master’s in Economics can give you the skills to help solve global problems and prop up economically under-developed regions to the benefit of the people living there. Of course, there’s also the academic route for economists. A Master’s Degree in Economics is often the minimum requirement to teach economics at most two-year colleges; the Doctor of Philosophy degree is necessary for a faculty position in economics at most four-year colleges and universities. One of the best ways to set yourself up for a successful career in economics is to complete a master's degree.

American University’s online MA in Economics with a specialization in applied economics will provide you with the analytical skills needed to solve real-world challenges.

To learn more about American University’s online Master of Arts Economics, Applied Economics specialization, request more information or call us toll free at 855-725-7614.