Applied Economics Career

Career in Applied Economics

Applied economics implements economic theories into everyday business. Professionals with expertise in applied economics are needed in just about every sector from private industry to government to academia. Many universities offer bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs in applied economics with the option to focus on a specific concentration.

Applied Economics Career Information

Applied economics draws on economic principles to provide practical solutions for an array of industries including agriculture, aviation, finance, government, international and domestic banking, consulting, nonprofit and academia. A strong background in applied economics enables practitioners to make educated predictions about financial trends and consumer habits. For those working in government, this can affect policy making decisions as well.

Possible Careers in Applied Economics

Those with experience and education in applied economics may serve in the following positions :

  • Agricultural manager
  • Budget analyst
  • Economics professor
  • Financial manager
  • Mathematician
  • Program analyst
  • Purchasing manager
  • Research analyst and director
  • Statistician
  • Transportation manager
  • Skills and Training Needed

Although applied economics pertains to multiple positions, there are certain skills shared by those who put applied economics into practice. Strong talent in mathematics and statistics are essential as well as econometrics, which is the ability to apply statistical theories to economic and financial data. An economist analyzes and interprets information to develop solutions for problems. Thorough knowledge of microeconomic and macroeconomic theories as well as organization and effective communication is also important.

Applied Economics Career Salary

Depending on the specific field selected to practice applied economics and the level of education and experience earned, earnings can fluctuate. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics ( BLS ), the mean annual salary for general economists in 2009 was $96,320 ( www.bls.gov ). The average annual salary for economists working for the federal government in 2009 was $108,010. The BLS also indicates that the 2009 national mean for financial managers was $113,730, while budget analysts earned a mean of $69,240 and economics professors’ mean salary was $89,320.

Education Requirements for Applied Economics Career

Degrees in applied economics typically offer students many options for specialization. Bachelor’s degree programs include courses in macroeconomics and microeconomics, finance, advanced calculus, linear algebra, business statistics, econometrics, environmental economics, agricultural policy, international trade and finance, price analysis and business regulation. Additional courses in physical and life sciences as well as communications may be required.

Master’s degrees ( M.S. or M.A. ) require courses in economic theory. Advanced degrees will delve deeper into the field and offer concentrations in environmental economics, international trade, public health, and transportation. Many schools offer the choice between a traditional thesis and research project.

Doctoral degrees in applied economics prepare students for careers in academia and public policy programs. Ph.D. candidates take advanced courses in economic theory and policy, conduct their own field research and write a dissertation.