Beyond the Numbers: How You Can Pursue a Career in Economics

For most high schoolers, the field of economics is a bit of a mystery. To some, it may come as a surprise to learn that the discipline is extremely diverse, leading professionals with a wide variety of interests to exciting, stable, well-paying careers. Especially for more socially-minded individuals, a career in economics goes far beyond spreadsheets and number-crunching. Wherever your interests lie, there’s a good chance you can use an economics degree in a career that you’re passionate about.

Why Should You Go into Economics? 

You may be excellently suited to study economics and not even know it. Yes, it’s important to be good with numbers, but an interest in politics and culture comes into play here as well. These skills are all key to understanding the structures and policies that shape our economy. You should find these structures interesting too—because you’re bound to get involved in some research along the way. If you make a habit of keeping up with the news and staying savvy on current politics and policies, you’re already on the right track. 

It’s important to note that many entry-level positions in the economics field require a master’s degree, so keep in mind that going to graduate school might be a wise move. For most who follow this track, however, their efforts pay off. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, available positions for economists are steadily increasing, and they typically offer a good salary. 

clark atlanta classroom

Clark Atlanta University

Given the breadth of the field, there is naturally a variety of careers an economics major can pursue. This is good news; if some aspects of the discipline interest you more than others, your career can reflect that. You could become an economist and provide advisory services as part of an organization, consulting agency, or as a government employee. If you’re interested in becoming a financial analyst or manager, pursuing a graduate degree may be especially beneficial since these positions are as competitive as they are lucrative.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the employment of market research analysts to grow 20 percent by 2028, which is much faster than the average rate of job growth. If you would prefer to have more interpersonal elements to your work, however, you may find your niche in something so different as economic journalism.

Whatever your interest, students who plan to pursue careers in this field will need to enroll in a bachelor’s degree program in economics. These programs include a wide range of related course subjects, such as:

  • Economic development
  • Economic institutions
  • Economic theory
  • Economics
  • Government and industry
  • International economics
  • Labor economics
  • Money and banking
  • Public finance
  • Regional economics
  • Statistics

Careers in Economics

Graduates in this field may pursue careers in a wide variety of capacities. Some of these include:

  • Financial analyst
  • Accountant
  • Actuary
  • Market research analyst
  • Statistician
  • Management consultant
  • Policy analyst
  • Data scientist

Want to learn more about this possible career path and college major? Have questions about which UNCF colleges and universities offer degrees in economics? Looking for help with financing this degree?

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Preparing for Success

If you’re thinking of pursuing this path, there are steps you can take to set yourself up for success. In high school, focus your efforts toward studying advanced math and history by taking classes such as calculus, world history and U.S. history. If you can, take AP microeconomics or AP macroeconomics. Like many other professions, knowing a foreign language is increasingly valued in this industry.

spelman students studying

Spelman College

As you explore the economics programs at different colleges, keep some questions in mind: Does the school offer a bachelor of arts (BA), a bachelor of science (BS), or both? Does the degree offered focus on the parts of the discipline that interest you? Can you specialize in your particular area of interest? Where have students interned in the past? Will the department support you in getting an internship? Does the department offer opportunities outside of class?

3 tougaloo college girls smiling

Tougaloo College

UNCF Schools to Consider

To enter this field, students must at minimum earn a bachelor’s degree. Plenty of great UNCF-affiliated HBCUs offer degree programs in economics.

Professional Organizations

There are also many economics organizations that can provide more insight into some of the specializations in this discipline. A sample list includes:

Scholarships Available

There’s no better way to start out your path toward a successful career in economics than with a solid financial foundation. Fortunately, many scholarships are available through UNCF, including some specifically for economics majors. Keep an eye on the UNCF website for current scholarship opportunities and announcements.

UNCF Koch Scholars Program students

UNCF Koch Scholars

Search for specific scholarships and view those that are currently accepting applications here! Students should also check with each college or university to see if there are additional scholarships available to study economics.

As you explore your options, be sure to use our guide to applying for scholarships and grants. You can also receive guidance by submitting a major interest form if you are interested in a career in economics. Submit the form on our website to get started. And follow us on UNCF social media channels to receive notifications about our scholarships and member HBCUs. Reach out today!