Why study economics? A guide for community college students

This website is for community college students considering a major in economics. It provides information on:

For additional information consult the American Economic Association's website for an overview of the different skill sets acquired by students of economics and a list of list of colleges that offer four year degrees.

Economics grads explain what they do on the job

Videos prepared by Richard Croxdale, Austin Community College (TX)

Kevan describes her job forecasting economic development and her plans for law school

Rishi works at a tech start-up

Steven will teach high school economics
Matt works as an economist at General Motors

Ashley discusses her career in marketing and graduate school plans

Majoring in economics at a community college

Why earn an AA?

There are two reasons why students should earn the AA degree in economics.

  • Studies have shown that students that complete the AA degree complete the four year degree at a higher rate than those that don't
  • Those students who are unable to complete a bachelors degree due to either financial or personal reasons earn higher wages than those without an AA.

For evidence see this study

A typical core curriculum

In most community colleges, the introductory sequence--Microeconomics and Macroeconomics is the most important and perhaps the only courses you can take. (They are offered in different order at different colleges: micro then macro, macro then micro)

  • Mathematics is a skill that is required for the study and practice of economics. Calculus at some level is a requirement. Each college has different standards. If the discipline is located in the business school, sometimes Calculus for Business Students is required. Sometimes both Differential and Integral Calculus is required.
  • A Statistics class is also a useful course to take at the Community College level. Statistics will aid the understanding of Econometrics. It is essential to be aware of the requirement of the four year college into which you intend to transfer and take that specific sequence to avoid having to backtrack and take a different set of courses.
  • Beyond those specific courses, the standard core curriculum can be taken at the community college level. English, history, government, languages, and the sciences are required at all four year colleges. All are not only part of the core curriculum but useful in the comprehension of economics.

It is recommended that you investigate the degree plan of the four-year college to which you intend to transfer.

Here is a sample degree plan at the community college level.

What can I do with an economics major?

Careers in economics

Economic consulting

Corporate World

Masters of Business Adminstration

Government and non-profits

Economics and the Legal Profession

Earnings with an economics major

Payscale.com reports its survey of people with Baccalaureate degrees (and no more) who are employed full time, showing starting salaries (typically with two-years of experience) and mid-career annual earnings.

Here are selected occupations for the 2012-13 report.

Earnings by Major
College MajorStarting SalaryMid-career Salary
Chemical Engineering$67,500$111,000
Applied Mathematics$50,800$102,000
Political Science$40,300$74,700

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(last updated 2018-08-30 14:33:16)

Source: http://www.payscale.com/college-salary-report-2013/majors-that-pay-you-back