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Online Bachelor's Degree Programs in Economics

Finding the Right Economics Program & Exploring Careers

Updated on: 12/12/2018
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The constantly changing economy is important to businesses and consumers. The economic state impacts decisions regarding healthcare, investments, and insurance. A bachelor's degree in economics prepares students to navigate the economic landscape and to help others make sound financial decisions.

The study of economics answers important questions about the availability of resources. Students research economic institutions, learn how to apply mathematical concepts to complex problems, and explore government policy. Economics graduates can work in a variety of areas, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 6% increase in employment for economists from 20016-2026. This guide includes information for students considering bachelor's in economics programs.

How Much Can You Make in an Economics Career?

These programs prepare students to apply knowledge of the economy and its functions in various professional roles. Many graduates work as analysts, who research market trends, or as advisers, who help businesses make major investment decisions. A bachelor's degree in economics does not guarantee a specific salary, but the degree can qualify candidates for high-paying positions. The table below highlights common career paths and salaries for graduates with an online economics degree. Many students enter the workforce after earning their bachelor's degree, while others pursue further education.

JOB GROWTH 2016-2026: 23%
Job Description

Market research analysts focus on the marketing aspects of economics. They predict economic trends by researching people's spending habits. To gather data, research analysts conduct surveys, questionnaires, polls, and other tests that require consumer input. These professionals simplify the data for business owners and consumers. Analysts also use statistical software to create tables and graphs.

JOB GROWTH 2016-2026: 6%
Job Description

Economists track the production and distribution of resources such as oil and crops. Economists Operations research analysts help companies solve problems regarding logistics, healthcare, or general business practices.synthesize the data they collect through surveys and research on trends and then create reports to present their findings. Economists also forecast market trends and publish in journals, magazines, and newspapers.

JOB GROWTH 2016-2026: 27%
Job Description

Operations research analysts help companies solve problems regarding logistics, healthcare, and general business practices. They conduct statistical research and often collaborate with other employees to solve these problems. Research analysts may design models or simulations to help employees develop a plan of action.

JOB GROWTH 2016-2026: 11%
Job Description

Financial analysts use economic knowledge to help businesses and individuals make investment decisions. Analysts study business trends, curate an investment portfolio for each client, and monitor its success. They also prepare reports detailing data. Analysts work with company officials to write and review financial reports.

JOB GROWTH 2016-2026: 22%
Job Description

Actuaries estimate and predict the likeliness of unexpected occurrences, such as death or car accidents. Using these estimations and statistical data, they calculate the economic costs of these events. This information benefits insurance companies and corporations that make high-risk financial decisions. Actuaries help these companies craft insurance policies and pension plans and make investments and other business decisions.

Sources: BLS 2018

The list below includes salaries and job growth rates for professionals in the economics, training, and library workers industry. Although salaries vary based on each professional's experience, education level, and location, job growth data helps students determine whether a career field has high earning potential and an abundance of open positions. According to the BLS, economists in New York, the District of Columbia, and Virginia earn the highest salaries in the country.

What Courses Can be Taken for an Online Economics Degree?

Courses required for a bachelor's degree in economics vary by school. However, most curricula emphasize similar learning objectives and outcomes. Students gain a basic understanding of the economy, along with tools and techniques to evaluate economic trends. The list below includes courses common to many economics programs, but students should contact prospective schools for specific course and degree requirements.

Principles of Microeconomics

Microeconomics explores the behavior of consumers and businesses making use of limited resources. Students learn theories, principles, and models related to microeconomics.

Principles of Macroeconomics

Students examine economic phenomena such as inflation, unemployment, and employment. Learners evaluate public policy and its effect on the economy while improving their analytical and research skills.

History of Economic Institutions and Thought

This course examines the origins of economic institutions, such as capitalism, and how these institutions have influenced modern development. Coursework may cover schools of economic thought and how they mirror each society's values.

Introduction to Econometrics

In this course, students explore mathematical theories such as the classical linear progression model and statistical analysis. Learners work with specialized software to develop models using economic data.

Legal and Ethical Issues in Business

Students learn how the legal system impacts modern business practices. The course covers topics including government-imposed business regulations and the impact of business on everyday life.

How to Choose the Best Online Economics Program

When ranking programs, we consider several universally important factors. However, each student should evaluate his/her specific needs and capabilities before selecting a program. For example, students considering online programs should ensure they learn well independently. Also, location may affect a student's access to certain economics programs, even online programs. Learners should assess each prospective school's faculty, reputation, and course options before making a final decision.

Will I need to apply for an internship while pursuing an economics bachelor's degree online?

Undergraduate programs rarely require internships, but they are encouraged. Schools' career centers can help students find internship placements, which provide practical experience and academic credit. Online students can discuss internship options with academic advisers.

Do I need to find a special curriculum focus?

Each school creates a unique curriculum that emphasizes certain objectives. Because economics is a broad field, many schools offer concentrations or specializations. These focus areas require elective courses that help students develop specialized knowledge within the industry. Common economics concentrations include agriculture and global and environmental sustainability.

How should I select my courses for an online bachelor's degree in economics?

When choosing classes, students should consider degree requirements. Students usually take general core courses, such as English and history, during their first two years and major courses during their last two years. Online courses may be synchronous or asynchronous; synchronous courses require students to log on at specific times. Students should consider their lifestyle when choosing between synchronous and asynchronous classes.

Will I need to have an advanced understanding of math to obtain an economics bachelor's degree online?

Economics curricula cover topics that require students to apply mathematical theories and concepts. Learners need a basic understanding of mathematical concepts including addition, subtraction, multiplication, decimals, and fractions. Economics students take courses such as calculus and statistics to improve their mathematical skills.

Is the credit system the same for online and on-campus courses?

In most bachelor's in economics programs, credits earned online and on campus hold the same weight. That means a student taking a microeconomics course online receives the same number of academic credits as a student taking the class on campus. Typically, the same faculty members lead online classes as the on-campus counterparts. Courses are generally worth 1-3 credits each.

Scholarships & Financial Aid for Economics Programs

Students should explore all options when applying for financial aid. Students can access federal aid by creating the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The government uses income information from the FAFSA to determine which loans, scholarships, and grants the student can receive. Students can also apply for private, merit- or need-based scholarships through organizations and associations.

Appraisal Institute Education and Relief Foundation College Undergraduate Scholarships

The Appraisal Institute Education and Relief Foundation sponsors scholarships for undergraduate and graduate students. The institute is a professional organization for real estate appraisers and has more than 18,000 members worldwide. Students majoring in land economics can apply for this scholarship after entering their sophomore or junior year of college. Applicants must submit a personal statement, a resume, college transcripts, and two letters of recommendation. Winners receive $1,000.

Enid Hall Griswold Memorial Scholarship

The Daughters of the American Revolution offers several $5,000 scholarships to college students majoring in history, politics, government, or economics. Applicants must be in their junior or senior year of college at an accredited college or university. Applicants submit a statement of career objectives, transcripts, letters of recommendation, a list of extracurricular activities and scholastic achievements, and proof of U.S. citizenship.

Kay Durden Memorial Scholarship

Founded in 1924, the Phi Chi Theta fraternity supports professionals in the business and economics industries. The fraternity maintains a scholarship fund for members who are currently enrolled in an approved college or university and have completed one or more semesters. In addition to the application, students submit a resume and transcripts. Members receive awards at the organization's national and regional meetings.

Minorities in Government Finance Scholarship

The Government Finance Officers Association represents federal, state, and local financial officials. The organization awards scholarships to students who plan to work in government finance and budgeting. Applicants must be citizens or permanent residents of the United States or Canada and must submit letters of recommendation, transcripts, and a list of current coursework. Applicant should be juniors or seniors studying full or part time. Successful scholarship applicants receive $10,000.

Paul S. Mills Scholarship

The Foundation for Financial Services awards scholarships to up to 10 students pursuing business-related degrees. Applicants must be undergraduate students enrolled at an accredited college or university and must submit a 500-word essay about their interest in the financial services field. The foundation also requires each applicant's completed FAFSA to determine financial need.