Associate in Economics Program Guide

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By Doug Wintemute

Published on April 15, 2021

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An associate degree in economics can provide graduates with access to many promising professional opportunities. These programs can lead to entry-level careers in various social sciences and business and financial occupations. These degrees may also pave the way to further training in economics or a related discipline.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects jobs for economists to grow 14% between 2019 and 2029, more than three times the average rate for all occupations. This increased demand stems from a push from organizations to better understand and apply market data and trends.

On this page, we examine associate degrees in economics in more detail, including common courses and careers.

Should I Get an Associate in Economics?

This route also allows learners to experience the discipline before committing to four or more years of study.

Graduates with an associate degree in economics possess skills they can use in many careers and industries. They can access various business and financial careers, for example, a sector in which the BLS projects the addition of more than 476,000 jobs between 2019 and 2029.

With a two-year degree in economics, graduates may not qualify for most economist positions, but they can use the training to access more advanced programs. After developing basic skills, learners can proceed into a bachelor's program in economics or take an interdisciplinary approach in a related discipline.

Even students aiming for a bachelor's degree or beyond can find value in an associate degree in economics. These programs typically cost less than bachelor's degrees, so the transfer pathway can save students money in the long run. This route also allows learners to experience the discipline before committing to four or more years of study.

For aspiring economists, an associate degree in economics is the first of several steps. Many professionals in this field hold a master's or Ph.D. Tackling the education in stages can keep degree-seekers motivated while also allowing for some flexibility.

Check out the Best Online Associate in Economics Programs

What Will I Learn in an Economics Associate Program?

Most associate degrees combine general education coursework with major coursework. Economics courses at this level typically focus on helping students build a foundation, understand the principles, and learn how organizations and governments apply economics. Learners also delve into general business and finance.

Most associate degrees in economics award an associate of arts (AA) degree to graduates, but some schools provide associate of science (AS) degrees. Though the differences between these degree types appear minor, AS degrees often focus on the field's analytical aspects, while AA degrees usually take more of a theoretical and interdisciplinary approach.

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What Can I Do With an Associate in Economics?

Economics graduates possess skills that many employers and industries value. Entry-level business and financial and social sciences occupations provide some of the most realistic and rewarding options. Learners can strengthen their employment chances in these fields or expand their possibilities even further by focusing their courses and internships in one direction.

Most economics professions require study beyond an associate degree. In addition to qualifying for a bachelor's degree in economics, associate degree-holders can move into other disciplines, including business, political science, and sociology.

Popular Career Paths

Popular Continued Economics Paths

How Much Money Can I Make With an Associate in Economics?

The salaries available to graduates with an associate degree in economics depend on their field, position, and employer. According to the BLS, economists earned a median annual salary of $108,350 in 2020. This career can be a long-term goal for associate degree-holders.

Graduates can pursue several business and financial occupations, which paid a median annual salary of $72,250 in 2020.

Frequently Asked Questions About Associate in Economics Programs

Are economics majors in demand?

Many employers and industries seek out economics majors because of their interdisciplinary and practical training. As a result, the BLS projects 14% job growth for these professionals between 2019 and 2029, 10% faster than the average rate for all occupations. During the same period, the BLS projects 5% job growth for business and financial occupations.

What kind of jobs can I get with an associate in economics?

Though many students aim for careers as economists, an associate degree in economics also prepares learners for various business, social science, financial, and management careers. Graduates can pursue entry-level jobs as budget analysts, cost estimators, and market research analysts.

How much does it cost to get an associate in economics?

The price of tuition for an associate degree in economics varies depending on the school and location. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average annual tuition cost for an associate degree in 2019 was approximately $3,310 for in-state learners. Out-of-state students paid an average of $7,920.

Is an associate in economics worth it?

Many learners find great value in an associate degree in economics, which provides a solid foundation for further training. Graduates can choose from several professions and industries. For example, they can apply the skills acquired in this program to business, finance, and government careers.

How long does it take to get an associate in economics?

In general, associate degrees take two years to complete. However, some programs offer different timelines. For instance, an online associate degree in economics may offer seven-week courses year-round, allowing students to graduate sooner. Conversely, part-time schedules allow working professionals to keep their jobs while studying.

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BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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