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How Much Can Economics Graduates Earn?

Higher Education Articles November 1, 2012

How much salary can a college graduate earn depends on several factors that includes the company, location, job title, and degree level. The field of study can influence the amount you earn. For instance, the wage levels of a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and a Bachelor of Science are likely to be different.

In 2008, there were 14,600 economists employed in the United States with over fifty percent working in governmental jobs. The average annual salary drawn by economist graduates in May 2012 was $96,320. In March 2012, the average annual salary drawn by economists working in federal government jobs were in the region of $108,810 (source: www.bls.org).

An economics major can build a career as a regional sales manager, financial advisor, statistician, bank manager, sales director, securities trader, or financial analyst. The wage level of these professionals is influenced primarily by the education level and location.

How Much Can You Earn with a Bachelor Degree in Economics

While a bachelor degree will likely attract a relatively lower salary, income levels differ depending on your college degrees. For instance, in 2012, an individual with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics could earn between $34,800 and $137,000 per annum, on average. Compare these figures with the wages earned by those with a Bachelor of Science degree, the earnings average are around $42,566 to $80,984.

Bachelor of Arts degree holders earned differently depending on the position they occupied. For instance, while a financial controller with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics earned $86,800, a financial analyst with the same degree took home $54,300, a credit analyst with the same qualifications earned $45,200, and a bank manager earned $58,100.

Compare the above figures with those who received a Bachelor of Science degree and you would see a slight decline in earnings. A financial controller with a Bachelor of Science in Economics earned $80,984, a financial analyst with the same degree took home $51,057, a credit analyst with the same qualifications earned $42,566, and a bank manager earned $45,198.

Salary Differs by Location for Bachelor Degree Holders

According to PayScale.com, the location of an employee will make a difference on their salary. Below are a list of most popular cities and salaries earned for graduates with an economics degree based on PayScale.com’s 2012 data.

Location influences the salary earned. For instance, in 2012 a Bachelor of Arts economist in Chicago took home $60,746, economist in Washington, D.C. earned $61,085, and economist in Boston earned $61,342. The respective figures for Bachelor of Arts degree holders in Los Angeles, Seattle, New York and San Francisco were $64,494, $67,830, $68,210 and $79,499.

Similarly, a Bachelor of Science in economics will earn $54,239, $55,495, $58,838, $60,521, $60,689, $61,269 or $64,123, depending on whether they were in Houston, Dallas, Chicago, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, or New York, respectively.

A master degree holder in economics are usually employed as a corporate economist or a general economist. In 2012, a general economist earned an average annual salary of $52,072 while the average annual salary for a corporate economist was $55,000.

As in the case of bachelor degree holders, master degree holders’ salaries tend to vary according to the location. The annual median wage figures for Boston, Dallas, Washington, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco in 2012 were $64,199, $69,500, $72,644, $76,125, $78,108, $80,000 and $82,266 respectively.

In 2012, an individual holding a doctorate degree in economics earned an average annual salary between $71,216 and $116,288. The average annual salary varied according to occupation. Those employed as an assistant professor earned $71,216 while associate professors took home $73,000; economists earned $92,636 while corporate economists drew $97,684; statisticians earned $105,000 while professors took home $116,288.

As in the case of bachelor and master degree holders, salaries of doctorate degree holders tend to vary according to the location. The annual median wage figures for doctorate degree holders in Los Angeles, Boston, Houston, San Francisco, New York, Washington, and Chicago in 2012 were $69,400, $78,108, $80,131, $93,191, $99,157, $111,649 and $125,000 respectively.

(Statistics source: PayScale.com)

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