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How to Turn an Economics Degree into a Career You Love

Profit potential. Professional diversity. Market crossover. These are the qualities of a degree worth pursuing–and the very qualities that economics majors are known for. This degree is much more than simple math. It’s a unique fusion of science, finance, business, and high technology in a single, relevant curriculum.

Not only is the content applicable, but you’ll find the job prospects are booming. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that employment of economists is expected to grow seven percent from 2006 to 2016. That’s about as fast as the national average for all occupations. Private industry should provide the bulk of the opportunity, although your talents and experience should be in demand virtually every market segment.

The ‘Just Right’ Liberal-Arts Major
So just what is it about economics that gives it such significance to industry sectors? David Colander, chair of the economics department at Middlebury College, believes enrollment in the field is increasing because of economics’ “intellectual rigor, broad appeal, and importance to understanding the world.”

Statistics from a study Colander conducted of more than a thousand economics majors may impress upon you the diversity of the curriculum:

��� Why They Chose. 19 percent said that the job-training aspect had been “very important” to their choice of major
��� Where They’re Heading. Only 36 percent said they were planning to work in business
��� How They’re Challenged. 33 percent viewed economics as “hard”

Forbes and Payscale Love Economy Majors
Forbes Magazine’s 2008 Most Lucrative College Majors report places Economics at second on the list. It describes the major as an integration of math, science, and real-world professionalism. Also, salaries for economics-based jobs have the potential to multiply with increased experience and professional certification.

Payscale’s 2008 College Salary Report features economics in its list of Best Undergrad College Degrees by Salary. You’ll find economics at fifth on the list, behind a small collection of engineering niches. Economics majors in certain areas look forward to a starting salary of $50,000 and can top out at almost $100,000, depending on industry and experience.

Entrepreneurial Opportunities for Economics Majors
If you have plans to be your own boss, an economics degree makes sense–and dollars. An entire range of financial consulting, freelance writing and industry strategist jobs exist for you should you choose to develop this aspect of your education. These positions pay by-the-hour or by-the-project–the choice is yours.

And so it is with an economics degree. The career you build is entirely your choice. Just know that you’ll have a powerful base of knowledge that you can use to market yourself to a wide range of potential employers.

Publish date: July 16, 2009