Economist jobs usually require graduate study, except for some entry-level government positions. However, a bachelor's degree in economics can be your ticket to a rewarding career in business, consulting or finance. Both Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees are available, but the science degree requires more math. The starting salary for an economics major is similar to that of a business graduate.
Average Starting Salary
The National Association of Colleges and Employers, which surveys the starting salaries of each year's college class, puts economics graduates in the category for majors related to business. As of September 2013, the average starting pay for that year's economics graduates was $56,300. By way of comparison, accounting majors received average wages of $53,500 annually, while business administration and management majors averaged $56,000 per year.
The NACE also reports entry-level pay for college graduates by occupation and industry. The top-paid 2013 econ grads received $71,600 annually on average working as financial managers for federal, state or local government agencies. The second highest-paying position was marketing or sales manager for scientific and technical services, where starting salaries for economic majors averaged $62,400 annually. The lowest-paid 2013 economics graduates in the survey received an average of $34,200 annually working as post-secondary teachers.
Workers classified as economists averaged $101,450 per year as of May 2013, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Those in the lowest 10 percent of earners, where many starting salaries might land, earned $49,940 a year or less.
- National Association of Colleges and Employers -- Salary Survey, September 2013
- University of Washington: Department of Economics -- B.A. or B.S. -- How to Choose?
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook -- Economists
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2013 -- Economists
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