One of the most popular liberal arts degrees featured in colleges and universities, economics studies allocation of resources and theorizes how individuals, firms, and organizations make choices and interact with each other. An economics associate degree provides a basic overview of various economics topics, such as the determination of prices and quantities, the effects of taxes, subsidies, regulations, the determination of aggregate economic activity, inflation, monetary policy, income distribution, and international trade and finance. In addition to their economics courses, students are expected to take a myriad of liberal arts courses. Economists commonly work with math, critical-thinking, analysis, and reasoning.

Why an Associate Degree?

With an economics degree, students have access to a number of astute careers, working as economists, financial analysts, purchasing managers, auditors, insurance underwriters, and more. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), economists who have obtained at least a master’s degree in economics have more promising job opportunities than those with an associate degree or bachelor’s degree. However, the BLS also reports that those who have an associate degree or bachelor’s degree in economics often find jobs as research assistants, financial analysts, market analysts, and more. For those who want to work as an economist, a formal degree is a must. For more advanced positions in economics, more advanced degrees are almost always required.

Getting Into an Associate Degree Program

Applying to an associate degree program is simple. Entering students need merely to submit the following for consideration into the school of their choice:

  • High school diploma or its equivalent
  • Desired SAT or ACT scores

Inside an Associate Degree Program

On average, associate degree programs take about two years to complete. During the first year of their program, associate degree students enroll in a combination of liberal arts courses to establish an academic foundation. Upon completion of core work, students move forward and enroll in their major economics classes. Associate degree courses in economics cover concepts such as business, communication, microeconomics, macroeconomics, and more. In these classes, students learn the underlying theories of economics. All assignments, exams, and projects featured in an associate degree are designed to arm students with the knowledge they’ll need to enter the economics workforce.

An online economics degree takes a slightly different approach than degrees offered by brick-and-mortar schools. Many distance-learning programs are self-paced. Students who work full-time or have numerous personal commitments often choose online degrees for this reason. Moreover, materials for online classes are presented through a compilation of slideshows, podcasts, YouTube videos, and PDF files.

What’s Next for Economics Degree Holders?

Those who graduate with an economics associate degree will be qualified for a handful of entry-level economics professions. However, most economics careers require at least a bachelor’s degree. In fact, the BLS recommends that students obtain at least a bachelor’s degree, if not a graduate or doctorate degree, to find the best job options in their field.

After obtaining a higher-level degree, such as a bachelor’s degree in economics, master’s degree in economics, or PhD in economics, students will be qualified to works as research analysts, economists, economics consultants, forensics economists, project economists, and more. According to the BLS, employment of economists is projected to grow 6% from 2010 to 2020.