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Salary of an Economics Major: How Much Do Graduates Earn?

Salaries earned by economics majors can vary depending upon a number of factors, including degree level, job title, city and employer. The type of education one gets can make a difference in salary as well. Keep reading to learn more about salaries for graduates with economics degrees.

Salaries of Economics Majors: Overview

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), general economists held 16,900 jobs in 2012. Nearly half of them worked for the government. Economists generally need to earn master's degrees or PhDs to work in the field. Some jobs, such as those in the government, are available for graduates of bachelor's degree programs. The BLS reports that economists earned, on average, $101,450 in May of 2013. In the same year, economists working for the federal government earned $111,370 on average (www.bls.gov).

However, 'economist' is not the only job title for economics majors. Other titles include financial analyst, securities trader, sales director, bank branch manager, statistician, financial advisor and regional sales manager. The salaries earned by these individuals are dependent upon a number of things, including their level of education and the city in which they work.

Salaries of Graduates with Bachelor's Degrees in Economics

While graduates holding bachelor's degrees tend to be at the lower end of the salary scale, the type of bachelor's degree held can make a difference in salary. For example, according to PayScale.com in August 2014, financial analysts with Bachelor of Arts in Economics degrees earned between $41,398 and $76,351. Financial analysts with Bachelor of Science degrees earned $39,531-$74,918.

As reported by PayScale.com in August 2014, the salary ranges for Bachelor of Arts holders working in specific careers included:

  • Research analyst: $37,709-$85,113
  • Business analyst: $39,166-$72,533
  • Data analyst: $36,552-$76,243

Typical salary ranges for Bachelor of Science holders in specific careers were:

  • Economist: $36,450-$79,480
  • Senior financial analyst: $57,207-$86,162
  • Research analyst: $32,966-$59,608

Salary Differences by City for Bachelor's Degree Holders

For most careers, the city an employee resides in can make a difference in salary. Below is a list of some popular cities for graduates with bachelor's degrees in economics and corresponding median salaries, based on PayScale.com's August 2014 data.

Bachelor of Arts:

  • New York: $68,693
  • Chicago: $62,288
  • Washington, D.C.: $62,347
  • Los Angeles: $66,799
  • San Francisco: $71,214

Bachelor of Science:

  • New York: $73,808
  • Houston: $56,676
  • Chicago: $61,369
  • San Francisco: $74,461
  • Washington, D.C.: $62,219

Salaries of Graduates with Master's Degrees in Economics

Students who earn master's degrees in economics can find careers such as as economists, analytics consultants, senior data analysts, financial analysts and research analysts. Master of Science degree holders working as economists earned between $50,644 and $126,796, while financial analysts earned between $45,781 and $65,547 annually as of August 2014, according to data reports from PayScale.com. These salary ranges were based on small pools of respondents, though.

Salary Differences by City for Master's Degree Holders

Similar to bachelor's degree holders, salaries also vary for these professionals based on location. Some sample cities and corresponding median salaries are listed below and are taken from August 2014 data from PayScale.com.

  • Chicago: $73,000
  • New York: $72,617
  • San Francisco: $83,500
  • Washington, D.C.: $90,000

Salaries of Graduates with Doctoral Degrees in Economics

Graduates holding doctoral degrees in this field generally pursue careers as economists or in academia. PayScale.com reported that economists with PhDs earned between $64,564 and $157,542, assistant economics professors earned $58,723-$111,320, and professors of economics earned $58,213-$200,636 annually, as of August 2014.

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