Economics PhD Pros & Cons

Oct 18, 2018

If you want to work in economics research and trends or academia, a PhD in economics may be for you. In this article, we'll take a look at some of the pros and cons to earning your Doctor of Philosophy.

Economics PhD programs will focus on the research skills and theories behind economics. If you want to become an economist or a professor, you may find that this program works well for you. If you want to see other reasons why this may work for you or reasons it may not, check out the article below.

Pros of Earning an Economics PhD

When continuing your business education, you may consider entering into a PhD program for economics. This type of program can offer you better pay than the master's counterpart, as well as some other good perks.

Join Academia

One of the benefits of earning a PhD is that you will have the knowledge and skills to teach at the postsecondary level. With a PhD in economics, you'll be able to teach many business and finance courses at universities. Though your doctoral specialty will be economics, you'll still have a good knowledge of accounting, finance, management, and business from your prior degree programs as well. Along with the opportunity to teach a new generation of economists, you'll also have opportunities to research and write on your own economic theories.

Additional Specializations

Once you reach the doctoral level of studies, you'll find that there are several specializations you can dive into deeper. Essentially, when you complete your program, you'll be an expert in your field and topic. Some possible economics PHD concentrations can include business economics, urban and regional economics, econometrics and economic statistics, environmental economics, applied microeconomics, and economics of education, among others.

Good Job Outlook

A PhD program specializing in economics can put you on track for several careers, all which have good outlooks. Some career options are growing at an average speed, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The outlook for economics professors, for instance, is growing faster than the national average of 7% with an increase of about 11%. Economists are looking at an average growth of 6% between 2016 and 2026.

Good Pay

The yearly earnings for economics professors and economists is promising. Economic professors earned an average of $114,820 per year in 2017, according to the BLS, while economists earned an average salary of $112,650. For those looking to work in another area, holding a higher degree typically allows you to earn a higher salary there as well.

Cons of Earning an Economics PhD

PhD candidates find that there are some negatives associated with earning the degree. A PhD in economics can set you back by adding time, stress, and money. Let's take a look at some ways that a PhD in economics may not benefit you.

Hard Work

It's no secret that no matter the education, there will be a lot of work. For those interested in getting a doctorate, the work is magnified. For the economics PhD, you'll spend hours and hours researching and writing hundreds of pages for a dissertation. Many students cannot handle this kind of pressure, and it can affect day-to-day activities. So, be sure you are ready for the work - and pressures - that lie ahead.

Student Loans

Many students that continue their education use student loans and grants to pay for their tuition and other college-related expenses. Since federal loans do not need repaid while you are still in school, it is very easy to just continue filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) papers. When you get your award letters, you'll likely be thrilled to see that another year is covered, and the only thing that will cost you are your books. While this does make for a smooth educational process, these loans quickly add up. Also, while you are in school, the interest is already tallying on to those student loans. In general, continuing for your doctorate can cost you a lot of money.

When deciding if the PhD in economics is right for you, consider the positives and negatives of earning a post-graduate degree. If you want to avoid more student loans or the pressures of the hard work, you may want to think twice about this degree program. If you'd like to earn good money and get into academia, this may be for you.

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