How to Become an Economist

If economics has always been your favorite subject and you have an ardent desire to examine inner workings of the economy, you may consider becoming an economist.

An economist is a professional master in the discipline of economics. His primary job is to observe, record and predict what can happen to the economy through analyzing and interpreting economic trends and data. He may study and develop theories and concepts from economics and write about economic policy.


The job duties of an economist may cover any aspect of economic and social policy and include various tasks such as:

  • Procurement of data
  • Analysis and interpretation of data
  • Understanding of the techniques used to conduct various surveys
  • Making forecasts in the economic trends and evaluating past and present economic trends
  • Test the effectiveness of current economic policies
  • Planning alternative courses of action and allocating scarce resources
  • Advising stakeholders on economic matters
  • Report writing
  • Conducting various seminars and presentations


As per, the median expected annual pay for a typical Economist (Corporate) in the United States is $118,206.

Educational requirements

To become an economist, you need to possess a degree in economics. It is also possible to enter the profession with joint degrees such as:

  • Economics and/with management studies;
  • Economics and/with law;
  • Economics and/with politics;
  • Economics and/with finance;
  • Economics and/with mathematics;
  • International economics.

For those who hold joint degrees it is vital that majority of their degree modules are in economics and that they have studied both micro as well as macro economics. It might be possible to seek admissions to postgraduate degrees with an honors degree in another subject but excellent grades.

To gain entry into the job, you need a relevant master’s degree in Economics. You may pursue Masters in Business Economics or in Business Administration (MBA). Some employers may seek PH.D in Economics.


To move up the career graph you may consider attending seminar and short courses delivered in-house or by external agencies. It is useful to pursue post graduate degrees such as an MA, M.SC, MBA, M. Phil or PH.D in Economics.

You may consider joining various student industrial societies and organizations such as the Royal Economic Society for professional networking. 

Skills and interests

To become an economist, you need to possess the following:

  • Proficiency in working with computers
  • Deep interest in Economics
  • Ability to make sound judgments
  • Good with statistical data
  • Be able to work under pressure and meet deadlines
  • Enjoy working in a team
  • Impeccable communication, both oral as well as written, skills
  • Self motivational skills
  • Research and analytical skills
  • Time management skills
  • Good organizational skills

Career prospects

Economists may choose to work with Government or private agencies. By gaining significant experience and moving between areas and roles, the entry level assistant economists may get promoted to the role of an economic adviser or an economic consultant. There are other roles offered as well such as those of economic research officers or analysts.

One should enter this profession only if one is sincerely interested in studying economics. The fancy pay packages should never be the driving force when it comes to being an Economist.