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.

AMIN MOHSENI-CHERAGLOU: Hello. My name is Amin Mohseni-Cheraglou. I'm an Assistant Professor of Economics at the Department of Economics here at American University. I hold a BS degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Maryland, an MA degree from American University in International Development.

My research interest is development macroeconomics, with a focus on poverty, inequality, and growth from the perspective of macro policies, and also social economics. What excites me about this course is that this course is foundational for the MA program, for all other courses, and also any other graduate courses in Economics. What you're going to be learning in this class is going to be used over and over and over again in your research, and in your other courses. And if you decide to tap into other literature from other fields of inquiry, you can also find this material to be useful because, simply, they are tools that are used by everybody in all fields of science.

We are expecting for the students enrolling in this program to have a solid and working understanding of college level algebra II pre-calculus material. That's a minimum. And we'll be teaching them the calculus that they need to be able to succeed in this class. Like any other college courses, graduate college courses, we would expect the students to put about 15 hours a week learning the material, reading the book and the papers, and also doing the problem sets in order to be successful in this class.

This course is foundational for your future courses in this program, such as macroeconomic analysis and macroeconomic analysis and econometrics. Therefore, mastering the material in this course is going to help you to do well in your future courses as well. By taking this course, when you take the macroeconomic analysis, you'll be able to go through constraint optimization problems very easily.

In your macroeconomics course, comparative statics is the main concept that you will be using. And this course is going to provide you with the mathematical grounding to be able to go through those materials. In econometrics, the concept of matrix algebra is going to be used over and over again. And hopefully by the end of this course, you will have a solid understanding of how to manipulate matrices and how to talk with them.

Teaching a mathematically-oriented course in an online setting is not easy. In a traditional in-person setting, the professor would go on board, write the equations on the board, solve them, walk through them, and answer any questions that you students might have. In this class, we will also try to emulate that experience as much as possible.

In addition to being an assistant professor here at American University, I also do consulting work for the World Bank in Washington, DC. Therefore, I can bring my real world experiences from the World Bank and mix that with the material that I'm teaching in this class. Therefore, the material will not be only theoretical, but I will also mix in applied and pragmatic policy relevant issues into the course objectives.

When I'm not teaching, I'm not doing research, I like to spend time with my two little girls, one seven-year-old and one 15 months old. And in addition to that, I like reading about philosophy and world history. And I also like to hike and bike.

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 http://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/economists.htm.
** National Association of Business Economists (NABE) 2016 Salary Survey, on the Internet at http://nabe.com/NABE/NABE/Surveys/Surveys%20Members%20Only.aspx#/salary

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