Career Opportunities in Economics

A Master’s Degree in Economics Opens Doors

In an era of Big Data, job opportunities are on the rise and the employment of economists is predicted to grow six percent from 2014-2024. Organizations across many industries are increasingly relying on economic analysis and quantitative methods to understand and forecast performance.*

An Advanced Economics Degree is Prerequisite for Your Future

In the past, economist candidates with a bachelor’s degree could expect to find entry-level positions, but that is changing. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics*, a master's degree is the typical entry-level education required for most economists jobs.

Expand Your Earning Potential

For careers in economics, salary levels increase with your level of education. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics*, the median annual economist salary in 2016 was $101,050, and a 2016 survey by the National Association of Business Economists (NABE)** found professional economics with a Master’s degree make on average 31% more than those with a Bachelor’s degree.

What Industries Hire Economists?

Taking these advanced courses in economics prepare you with the necessary credentials to help obtain a leadership position within the following types of organizations:

  • Economic Consulting/Private Industry: A wide variety of private consulting firms, banks, and other private firms hire analysts or economists to help maximize profits.
  • Government Agencies: Almost all federal government agencies, and many local governments, staff economists. Leading employers include: Department of Treasury, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Census Bureau, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
  • Not-for-Profits/International Agencies: Credentialed economists help improve the economic conditions of others as well as manage the financial affairs of these organizations.

American University Grads Become Active Economists

American University graduates have a high rate of employment. Nearly all (96 percent) of American University’s alumni with an MA in economics are actively working, pursuing an advanced degree or doing both at the same time. Of those students:

  • 59% are working in government roles
  • 23% are working at for-profit firms
  • 18% are working at nonprofit organizations
  • 12% are attending graduate school
  • 16% are working and attending graduate school simultaneously

Where Do American University Economics Graduates Work?

Employers include:

  • U.S. Department of Justice
  • AARP
  • Deloitte
  • Federal Reserve
  • JP Morgan Chase
  • Office of the Comptroller of the Currency
  • U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
  • The Corporate Executive Board

Realize Your Career Goals

Find out why AU's online programs are particularly effective at preparing you for the real-world job market.



JEFFREY RUTENBECK: AU undoubtedly is a place to help people get to their next level. It's kind of a combination of inspiring and scary, how intense some people can be about where they want to go. And they've shopped around and looked at dozens of programs. And they've found, this is the one that's going to get them where they want to go. And when that match is made, it's a beautiful thing.

JUSTIN SMITH: One of the nice things about the program is that it allowed me to apply directly, the lessons I was learning to the work that I was doing at the time. So that's kind of the advantage of going to school at the same time as working in the same profession that you want to continue in. Is that I was able to immediately apply the lessons and I was learning from the University into my work.

VICKY WILKINS: I think we also do pay attention to what the skills are the students need, and what employers are telling us is critical in the labor market to make sure we do shape an experience that prepares students to go out and work.

JEFFREY RUTENBECK: And this is one of the important things I tell people about going to graduate school, go to a graduate school where you are surrounded by people who have the same level of intensity and interest and passion as you do, because that will be one of the most important networks you will have going forward in your life.

KATIE KRESPAN: I think that I make a difference on an everyday level, but some days I wonder if I could be doing more. So coming back to American really gave me the opportunity, I think, to obtain the skills and the knowledge that I need to make a bigger difference.


Additional Resources on Careers in Economics

Careers in Economics
Careers in Economics Webinar with Dr. Kara Reynolds
A Career as an Economist

*Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Economists, on the Internet at
** National Association of Business Economists (NABE) 2016 Salary Survey, on the Internet at

Quantify your career potential with the online MA in Economics: Call us at 855-725-7614 or request more information here.