Students holding degrees in economics are employable in many different fields, including education, manufacturing and information technology. Some students don't have the time or the resources to allow them to commit themselves to full time on-campus study, however, and this is where distance learning, or online study, becomes an attractive option. Online educational institutions offer degrees in economics at all levels and it is possible to complete a full economics degree program, from associates through doctorate, online.
Online Associate Degrees in Economics
The typical associate degree takes two years to complete and covers a wide range of subjects. Undergraduate degrees at this level aim to give a student a general education in their field of choice and serve as an introduction to possible further areas of specialization. BA or BS programs are available from top universities.
Associate in Arts in Economics (aka Associate of Applied Business in Economics): Strayer University
This degree involves 90 credit hours of course work and combines both arts and science courses. A student wishing to register for this degree must already have either a high school diploma or a GED (General Equivalency Diploma). The courses offered as part of this degree consist mainly of general economic principles and policies and this qualification serves to prepare a student to take one of the many bachelor's degrees that are available in the economics field. Further information regarding this course can be obtained directly from Strayer University at P O Box 1310, Newington, VA 22122 (tel: 1-888-378-7293) or on their website
Online Bachelor's Degrees in Economics
The average bachelor's degree will take four years to complete if a student studies on campus. If, however, a student studies at home through the medium of web-based learning, it is possible to complete a degree such as a bachelor's in economics in much less time. The subjects offered at this level will also be far more specific than those that a student was taught at an associate level as a student is now starting to specialize in his or her area of choice. Like the associate degree, A bachelor's degree is an undergraduate degree and the following is only a small sampling of the bachelor's degrees in economics that are available online today.
Bachelor of Science in Economic Crime Investigation: Utica College
This is an unusual degree that combines elements of economics with elements of criminal justice administration, law and computer science. A total of 126 credit hours is required to complete this degree, which includes courses in such areas as:
- Cybercrime law and investigations;
- Principles of microeconomics;
- Computer organization and programming; and
- Forensic accounting and fraud auditing.
A student should contact Utica College directly if he or she is interested in obtaining further information regarding this degree. The college can be contacted at its home office at 1600 Burrstone Road, Utica, NY 13502 (tel: 315-792-3111).
Bachelor of Science in Business - Economics Specialization: Liberty University
This degree is a basic bachelor of science with a concentration of economics courses. This degree's curriculum is divided up into those courses relating to general education requirements (foundational and investigative studies), those relating to the majors and those specific to economics. Representative courses include:
- Money and the financial system;
- Modern political and economic ideas;
- Political economy and public policy; and
- Strategic planning and business policy.
Math 110 is a prerequisite for this degree and further details can be obtained from the university itself, which is situated at 1971 University Boulevard, Lynchburg, VA 24502 (tel: 800-424-9595), or on their website.
Bachelor of Arts in Business Economics: Ashford University
This degree focuses on modern economic theory and prepares students for further study aimed at qualifying them for careers in banking, market research and investment analysis. A student must have a high school diploma to be eligible for this course and must also be at least 22 years old. Both introductory and major courses are taught as part of this degree and these include:
- Personal dimensions of education (introductory course);
- Principles of macroeconomics (major course);
- Financial institutions and markets (major course); and
- Statistics for managers (major course).
Those students who would like to obtain further information concerning this course can contact Ashford University either through their website or directly at 400 North Bluff Boulevard, Clinton, Iowa 52732 (tel: 1-866-711-1700).
Online Master's Degrees in Economics
A master's is a graduate level degree that can usually only be obtained if a student is already qualified at the associate and the bachelor's level. Master's degrees normally take two years to complete but this can be shortened considerably if a student studies online and from home. There are several master's degrees in economics available online and each will show a greater degree of course specificity than an economics degree on either the associate or bachelor's level. The following list of online master's degrees in economics is by no means meant to be exhaustive.
Executive Master of Science in Economic Crime Management: Utica College
This degree picks up where Utica's economic crime management bachelor's degree left off and is thought to be the only graduate level program of its kind available in the country. Its objective is to increase a student's understanding of economic crime on a global level by offering courses that specialize in fraud and risk management strategies as well as topical economic crime challenges. Individual courses that are found in this degree's curriculum include:
- The manager in a global environment (part of the degree's management course requirement of 6 credit hours);
- Legal concepts of criminal fraud and corporate liability (part of the degree's economic crime course requirement of 9 credit hours);
- Information and communication security (part of the degree's technology course requirement of 9 credit hours);
- Research and analytical methods in fraud management (part of the degree's analytical skills course requirement of 6 credit hours).
A student also has to complete a professional project or a thesis as part of the cumulative experience course requirement. Further details can be requested from the university (see above for specific details).
Career Opportunities and Salary Scale
If a student has a qualification in economics, it will show prospective employers that that student has a thorough grounding in such skills as analytical research, strategic thinking and problem solving. Careers to which those with economics qualifications are attracted usually include positions in the banking industry, the finance industry, economic journalism and data analysis. A degree in economics can also qualify students to work in management, marketing or government service. The different career paths will, of course, result in different salary scales and, in terms of the Summer 2008 Salary Survey as sponsored by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, an average starting salary for an economics graduate is $51,062. The US Department of Labor's study into median annual salaries of professionals working in the economic sector has shown that average annual salaries for the various professions are as follows:
- Accountant: $50,770
- Data analyst: $56,140
- Stock broker: $69,200
- Economist: $72,780
As there are many career opportunities available both in the field of economics and in its related areas, those with a passion for the subject but limited resources should realize that distance learning is a viable option.