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Studying Economics: Is it the Degree You're Really After?

Often students express the desire to obtain a degree in business, but what they really are interested in is economics. The two can be frequently confused.

Economics consists of conducting research, preparing reports and formulating plans to aid in finding solutions to economic problems arising from production and distribution of goods and services.

Ideal Students

Economics students usually possess a deep level of curiosity, keen attention to detail and a cognitive ability to interpret data. It appeals to the student that is looking for the perfect mixture of numbers, words, problems, essays, calculations and interpretations. Studying economics is ideal for the student that is seeking to employ and develop both their analytical and evaluative skills.

What Will You Study?

Economics majors study economic models and fundamental theories to analyze how business activities can be complicated by factors such as taxes, interest rates, inflation, labor disagreements, and even the weather. Economics majors learn about economic theory, economic systems such as capitalism, and mathematical methods.

What Types of Degrees are Available?

Colleges and universities, such as the University of Alabama’s Collat School of Business, have Economics departments that typically offer a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and/or Bachelor of Science in Economics.

The Bachelor of Arts appeals to students who are interested in the way economics explains social trends and how economic problems may impact people. Mathematics is a required component of the course, but it’s usually combined with qualitative topics like sociology and psychology. In contrast, the Bachelor of Science utilizes a more mathematical and scientific approach to the area of economics.

What Will You Do With Your Degree?

Many students may use the degree as a launching pad into studying law, public affairs, or business administration. Graduates will typically pursue careers that are incredibly diverse in either business or government.

You may be prepared for several types of careers in a multitude of different areas. The list could include, but not be limited to, Analyst, Project Manager, Budget Analyst, Economist, Financial Assistant, Loan Officer, Project Administrator or Statistician.

Seeking out specific examples in the business sector you may seek to be a Business Economist, these individuals are prepared to help firms understand and adapt to a rapidly changing economic environment. Often, they will be called upon to interpret and forecast the general economic climate, analyze conditions specific to their firm.  

However, if you seek out a path in the government sector you may run into the fact that jobs in this sector can be as broad as government itself. Economists may work for any number of different agencies within the fields of agriculture, finance, labor, transportation, utilities and international trade.

Don’t let these handful of ideas limit you. You can think in broader terms by considering business intelligence, market research, politics, public relations, social research or taxation.  

There is always the option to become an entrepreneur and starting your own company!

Salary Expectations

Checking with the Department of Labor in your area is highly recommended as well as the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor and Statistics.

There is a wide range available based on your type of degree, experience and the averages in your area. For instance a Budget Analyst with a Bachelor of Science in Economics may be able to expect an annual salary around $69, 280.

C. A.  Newberry

About C. A. Newberry

C.A. Newberry is fascinated by and believes in the power of continued learning. When not at her computer, you can find her at the ballpark with her family.

C. A. Newberry

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