Associate Degree in Economics

By Brandon Mario D`Souza

Updated March 16, 2024

Brandon Mario D’Souza

Brandon is a registered social worker with Social Work England. He obtained his master’s in social work (personnel management & industrial relations) and used it in fields such as water treatment, construction, software, and education. Then he transitioned to the health and social care sector with an M.Sc. in health psychology. Brandon loves to write, cook, and play musical instruments (piano, guitar, melodica, ukulele, and kazoo) and enjoys the calmness and serenity of nature.


Master of Social Work, Master of Health Psychology

Areas of Expertise & Credentials

None to disclose in particular; the basics are covered in the short bio.

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The study of economics focuses on how people create, exchange, and use goods and services. The associate degree in economics is a stepping-stone meant to get students ready for further research in the domain. The associate program places a strong emphasis on foundational business and mathematics courses. Students who have an associates degree in economics can pursue an undergraduate degree in the subject or work in the fields of business economics and forecasting, management consulting, urban real estate & regional planning, industrial regulation, market analysis, banking, and financial services. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment of economists is projected to grow by 13% between 2020 & 2030. This guide provides in-depth information on the online associates in economics program, its curriculum, specializations, career options, top schools, and more.


Best Associate Degree in Economics
including Online

When looking for the top schools for an associate degree in economics, one must always factor in a school’s infrastructure, quality and experience of the faculty, possibility of easy transfers, availability of student support services, and more. Based on these and other critical components that make for a good school, FBD teams have prepared the following list of the best online associates degree in economics: *

Blinn College, established in 1884, is a public junior college in Brenham, Texas. Blinn has the highest transfer rate in Texas, sending students to Texas A&M University and others. The college offers programs in various disciplines to more than 18,500 students.
Univ Address
Blinn College 902 College Ave, Brenham, Texas 77833

Universities and programs are ranked by various factors, such as affordability, curriculum and coursework, reputation and availability, program length, statistics, the potential of employment, and return on investment for the students. For a more in-depth analysis, please read about our rankings methodology page

What to Expect from the Associate
Degree in Economics Programs

Economics examines how society distributes finite resources (land, labor, and capital) to satiate wants. Macroeconomics and Microeconomics are the two main divisions of economics. While the overall functioning of the economy is the focus of macroeconomics, the effectiveness & shortcomings of a market system with a focus on the role of specific decision-makers, such as consumers and businesses, is what microeconomics examines.

Students of an online associates degree in economics can pursue their program earlier on-campus, online, or through the hybrid model that combines both. With calculus, statistics and accounting primarily emphasized, the curriculum consists of core courses, electives, and general education courses. Some programs may also require students to complete a project at the end of their programs. In all, the online economics associate degree is about 60 to 65 credits and usually allows students to transfer these credits to a 4-year bachelor’s program. Some schools offer the degree as a transfer degree program, while others offer it as a general one. Here are some of the courses students can expect in an associate degree in economics:

Principles of Microeconomics

This course focuses on the decisions made by private individuals in the context of supply and demand in the economy. Scarcity, marginality, equilibrium, specialization, elasticity, trade, factor markets, and externalities are among the topics covered, along with comparative economic systems. Strategies for a particular firm’s profit maximization and loss minimization are examined.

Principles of Macroeconomics

This course introduces the American macroeconomic system and its impacts on the social, cultural, and political environments. Students use mechanisms for allocating scarce resources and supply and demand analysis tools to do so. The course also evaluates broad economic activity measures like GDP, labor participation rates, unemployment, and price indices.

Managerial Accounting

This course explains how managers use accounting information, where it comes from, and how it is applied when making plans, directing operations, managing costs, and making decisions. Cost concepts and cost behavior, cost-volume-profit analysis, costing systems, capital budgeting, profit planning, and standard costs are some of the topics covered.

Financial Accounting

This course introduces the basic accounting principles, including how to record business transactions, create financial statements, and use accounting data following International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). The course offers both theoretical and practical problem-solving learning experiences.

Some examples of other online economics associate degree courses include:

  • Political Economy
  • Global Economy
  • Survey of International Business
  • Calculus
  • Elementary Statistics
  • Quantitative Reasoning
  • Intermediate Algebra
  • Business Calculus
  • Environmental Economics
  • Money & Banking
  • Introduction to Labor Economics
  • Globalization and World Economy

General education courses in the associate degree in economics typical include:

  • College Critical Reading & Critical Thinking
  • Interpersonal Communication
  • Public Speaking
  • Literacy & Critical Inquiry
  • Natural Sciences
  • Humanities, Fine Arts & Design
  • The Social Environment

Degree Types offered in Associate Degree
in Economics Programs

The two typical and most common associate degrees in economics are the Associate of Arts in Economics or AA Economics and the Associate of Science in Economics or AS Economics.

Associate of Arts in Economics

The Associate of Arts in Economics or AA in Economics is a multidisciplinary approach to economics through various subjects such as the liberal arts, social sciences, and humanities. The AA economics is more theoretical and is best suited for those who may want to transfer to a BA in economics program.

Associate of Science in Economics

The Associate of Science in Economics or AS in Economics is a scientific approach to economics through the subjects of mathematics, statistics, and the sciences. The AS economics is more technical and is best suited for those who may want to transfer to a BS in economics program.

Areas of Specialization in Associate Degree
in Economics Programs

Opting for specializations in economics can provide in-depth knowledge of one specific area within the subject. Specializing leads to better career prospects, makes one employable in niche sectors, and leads to better pay. The availability of concentrations may be limited in associate-level economics programs, but some schools are likely to give their students a few options, such as:

Area of Specialization Description Career Options
Economic HistoryThis specialization investigates changes in economic well-being over time and how economic institutions have evolved to provide context for current economic issues.Entry-level roles in educational settings, art & history galleries, and law.
Applied EconomicsThe application of economic theory and econometrics to various contexts is this concentration’s primary focus.Entry-level roles in insurance, international business, and governmental agencies.
Labor EconomicsThis concentration investigates the dynamics of wage labor markets, such as how wages are determined, the role of minimum wage laws, and the nature of worker incentives, unions, pension plans, and training programs.Entry-level roles in industries & factories, human resources, law, and governmental agencies.
Environmental EconomicsThis specialization examines how environmental issues, such as government environmental policies, and global climate change, affect the economy.Entry-level roles in environmental organizations and governmental and non-governmental organizations.
Financial EconomicsThis concentration provides an academic foundation in financial markets and financial decision-making. It teaches students how to combine economic theory and econometric methods to analyze economic phenomena in general.Entry-level roles in financial institutions, insurance, business, trade, and industry.
Economic PolicyThis specialization uses general theoretical models to explain how individuals and organizations respond to circumstantial changes to predict the qualitative effects of existing and proposed government programs and empirical evidence on the quantitative magnitudes of these effects.Entry-level roles in governmental and non-governmental agencies.
Industrial OrganizationThis specialization focuses on a firm’s use of market power and strategic interactions with other firms. Students use theoretical and empirical analysis to investigate various issues concerning market functioning and related public policies.Entry-level roles in industries & factories, human resources, law, and governmental agencies.
International EconomicsThis concentration focuses on global economic policy. Students develop basic literacy in empirical techniques and study international economic theory in international trade & macroeconomics.Entry-level roles in financial institutions, insurance, business, trade, and industry.

Some of the other specializations students can consider include but are not limited to:

  • Health Economics
  • Energy Economics
  • Managerial Economics
  • Petroleum Economics
  • Experimental Economics
  • Econometrics
  • Macroeconomics
  • Microeconomics
  • Development Economics
  • Public Economics
  • Regional & Urban Economics

Why should I get an Associate Degree
in Economics?

To begin with, the Guide to Associate Programs. Sheds light on the advantages of an associate degree. An economics associate degree is a two-year program (typical) in which students learn the fundamentals of economics. It will give students the necessary knowledge and skills to transfer to a four-year college or enter the workforce in entry-level positions in business corporations, insurance, financial entities, marketing agencies, and more.

Pursuing an associate degree in economics is a sensible choice for many students because it provides them with job skills and teaches them the same economics courses taught in the first two years of a bachelor’s degree program. Not only will students be able to transfer to a bachelor’s degree program at a university or enter the workforce upon earning this degree, but they will also be better prepared for the BS degree program in economics or related fields as a result of their associate’s degree.

Apart from the academic knowledge the associates in economics will provide, students of this program would have acquired a host of skills upon graduating, such as the ability to:

  • specify the constraints placed on economic models;
  • offer suggestions for ways to enhance economic results;
  • understand the role that prices play in a market economy, as well as the roles that trade, economic growth, competition, and market failures play;
  • assess choices in a variety of situations by using marginal analysis;
  • analyze and interpret data on the national and international economy;
  • interpret and forecast economic outcomes and relationships using models;
  • use economic logic and reasoning to understand the world and guide decisions; and
  • convey economic concepts and justifications to a variety of audiences.

Free Courses for Associate Degree in
Economics Students

When pursuing their studies, students frequently seek additional material that can give them more knowledge or deeper insights into a specific topic. Although free online associate degrees in economics courses are available, it is important to note that they are usually not accredited and do not always lead to certification. Here are some free economics associate courses to explore:

Course Description Provided by
Topics on EconomicsedX has over 100 courses in economics, many of which are free and suitable for the associates-level student. Topics include Principles of Economics, Foundations of Finance, Behavioral Economics in Action, etc.edX
Topics on EconomicsOpen Culture claims to have a collection of over 1,700 free online courses from top universities. Their free economics courses online in audio and video formats can be downloaded for later use.Open Culture
Topics on EconomicsCoursera offers over 300 courses on economics-related topics, most of which are suited for associate-level studies and are free. Tops universities such as Yale University, Stanford University, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign provide content.Coursera

How to get into the Associate Degree in
Economics Programs?

Students in high school who want to enroll in an associate degree program in economics must usually submit all official high school, General Educational Development (GED), or homeschool transcripts or certificates for admission into a program. It is also common for students to be required to submit their ACT or SAT scores to each community college they are considering. Furthermore, demonstrating proficiency and readiness in English and Math (at least a ‘c’) will be advantageous. The following are some typical online associates degree in economics requirements:

  • Admission or Application Form with its prescribed fee.
  • Official Academic Transcripts.
  • Grade Point Average (GPA) of 2.0 or more (higher grades in English and Math preferred).
  • SAT or ACT Score (required by some schools)
  • Personal Statement or Statement of Purpose (required by some schools)
  • Proof of English Proficiency (if the native tongue is or education was not in English)

Note: For admission to any college program, on-campus and online applicants must submit the same documentation. Admission requirements differ depending on the school and program. It is always best for students to check with the admissions office at their preferred school for specific requirements.

How Long does it take to complete
Associate Degree in Economics

In most cases, the online associates in economics require at least 60 to 65 credits. While full-time students typically require about 2 years to complete their programs, employed adult learners may be able to complete a flexible program in about three years. Ultimately, the length of an online associate degree in economics will vary depending on the community college, degree type, courses, and electives chosen. To summarize, the following are the typical timelines for earning an associate’s degree in economics:

  • Time to complete a full-time associate degree in economics program: about 2 Years.
  • Time to complete a part-time associate degree in economics program: between 2 and 3 years.

Accelerated Associate Degree in
Economics Porgrams

Most colleges allow students to enroll part-time for an online associate’s degree in economics, but very few will enable them to complete the program in less than two years. Depending on their specialty, coursework, and institution, students may be able to complete their studies only a few months earlier than expected. Nevertheless, some colleges, such as the Lorain Country Community College (LCCC), offer 15-month accelerated associates degrees in economics and other disciplines. It is also possible for students at some colleges to complete their associate’s program and then transfer most or all of their credits into a bachelor’s program, reducing the overall duration of their bachelor’s degree.

Accreditations for Associate Degree
in Economics Programs

Accreditation provides strong evidence of the quality of a program and the school’s commitment to a student-centric teaching and learning approach. A school’s accreditation shows that it identifies and meets the needs of students and potential employers through continuous improvement of academic quality. Colleges can be nationally or regionally accredited by independent agencies recognized by the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) and/or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Regionally accreditation is the most common form of accreditation in the U.S. and is awarded by six bodies:

  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC)
  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)

Economics programs may also be programmatically accredited or accredited by agencies other than regional ones. The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) and the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) are two of the most prominent accrediting bodies for economics schools and programs. To understand more about accreditation, read the Guide to College Accreditation.

How to Pay for Associate Degree in
Economics Programs?

A community college associate degree in economics is usually less expensive than a bachelor’s degree. Nonetheless, some students may find tuition and other educational costs to be prohibitively expensive. Fortunately, such students can seek funding from outside sources, some of which are listed below:


Scholarships are a popular choice among students because they are relatively easy to find and do not require repayment. They are awarded to deserving and meritorious students, with academic achievement as the primary selection criterion.


Grants, like scholarships, do not have to be paid back. Unlike scholarships, which are often awarded based on academic achievement, grants are frequently awarded based on the applicant’s financial need and can pay for tuition or other education-related expenses.

Student Loans

A student loan is another viable option for students seeking external funding. Many banks, financial institutions, and the federal government provide educational loans. Because loans incur interest, students should be aware that the overall cost of their education will be higher than usual. Read about Donors for Student Loans and Grants for Student Loans to understand how one can apply for loan forgiveness to avoid repaying student loans.


The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, is a federal financial aid application that all prospective and current college students must complete to determine their eligibility for aid and receive the best financial aid package possible. The FAFSA Student Aid guide explains more.

Read about what financial aid is and find out everything there is to know about college funding in the How to Pay for College guide.

FAQs Related to Associate Degree in
Economics Programs

What is an associate degree in economics?

The associate degree in economics program is a two-year program in which students must earn about 60 to 65 credits in four semesters. The program provides foundational knowledge that will help students understand economics and allow them to either study further or pursue entry-level jobs in various settings.

What type of associate degree in economics are there?

What can you do with an associate’s degree in economics?

Where can you get an associates degree in economics?

Is an associates degree in economics worth anything?

Is an economics certificate equivalent to associates degree in economics?

Is economics hard to study?

Career Opportunities and Salaries after Associate
Degree in Economics

A major in economics is excellent preparation for students interested in politics, law, government service, or teaching. Although graduate degrees are required for those who want to teach in a college or university setting or work in senior roles in other sections, an associate degree in economics can open doors to entry-level jobs in banking, securities analysis, finance, international finance, and international trade, among others. Some of the common associates degree in economics jobs (at entry-level positions) include but are not limited to:

  • Budget Analysts
  • Finance Specialists
  • Economists
  • Market Research Analysts
  • Marketing Specialists
  • Urban & Regional Planners
  • Business Analysts

As for job growth, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that careers for economists are likely to grow 13% between 2020 and 2030, faster than the average for all occupations. Here are some examples of an associates degree in economics salary, job growth, and roles as reported by the BLS (do note that the salaries mentioned are typically applicable for bachelor’s or master’s degree holders; associate degree holders would earn substantially less):

Occupation Job DescriptionSkills RequiredMedian Annual SalaryJob Growth (up to 2030)
EconomistsEconomists analyze and study the production and distribution of resources, goods, and services through data collection and analysis, trend research, and evaluation of economic issues. They utilize software, statistical methods, and mathematical models to analyze data and suggest remedies for economic issues.Critical thinking skills, analytical skills, speaking skills, writing skills$105,63013% (faster than average)
Budget AnalystsBudget analysts support the financial planning of both public and private organizations. They create budget reports and keep an eye on company spending.Math skills, analytical skills, communication skills, writing skills, detail-oriented$79,9405% (slower than average)
ActuariesActuaries examine the monetary costs associated with risk and uncertainty. They assess the risk of potential events using mathematics, statistics, and financial theory and assist clients and businesses in creating policies that reduce the cost of that risk.Interpersonal skills, communication skills, analytical skills, math skills, computer skills, problem-solving skills$105,90024% (much faster than average)
Urban & Regional PlannersUrban and regional planners create land use plans and policies that support the development of communities, population expansion, and facility revitalization in towns, cities, counties, and metropolitan areas.Decision-making skills, leadership skills, analytical skills, communication skills$78,5007% (as fast as average)
Market Research AnalystsMarket research analysts examine market conditions to assess the potential sales of a good or service. They aid businesses in figuring out what goods consumers want, who will buy them, and how much they will cost.Critical-thinking skills, analytical skills, communication skills, detail-oriented$63,92022% (much faster than average)

Certifications and Licensing for Associate Degree in
Economics Students

Certifications are an excellent option for those wanting to improve their career prospects and earn higher salaries. They are a seal of recognition that the certified candidate has the knowledge, skill, and expertise in a specific area within economics. Unfortunately for the associate degree in economics students, most certifications in economics may not be available to them because they require at least a bachelor’s degree to qualify. However, those who have adequate experience (in many cases over at least 4 years) should be able to consider the following certification options:

Economic Development Finance Professional (EDFP) Certification Program

The Economic Development Finance Professional (EDFP) Certification Program explores the skills essential for successful economic development in areas such as loan packaging procedures, business credit & real estate finance analysis techniques, negotiating & problem-solving skills, and deal structuring techniques.

Chartered Economist (Ch.E) Certification

The Chartered Economist Certification (Ch.E) is awarded by the American Academy of Financial Management (AAFM), the world’s highest and most accepted designation in economics. The Ch.E is considered the gold standard of financial economics certification and standards.

As for licensure, associate-level economists do not require any licensure to work in almost any setting.

Additional Resources for Associate Degree
in Economics Students

With economics applicable to almost all areas of life, it becomes critical for students and working professionals to stay up to date with emerging trends, policy changes, preferences, wants, and demands and network with others to increase knowledge and expertise across the economics field. Here are a few resources to tap into that could prove to be of immense value:

The National Association for Business Economics (NABE)

The National Association for Business Economics (NABE) is an organization for business economists and others who use economics in the workplace. NABE conducts surveys & events, offers publications, and offers certifications to its members.

American Economic Association (AEA)

The American Economic Association (AEA), a non-profit, non-partisan, scholarly association, supports over 20,000 established and prospective economists with several career-enhancing programs & services, such as journals, publications, career support, meetings, and more.

National Economic Association (NEA)

The National Economic Association (NEA) promotes the professional lives of minorities within the economics profession. The organization creates and disseminates knowledge about economic issues of particular interest to native and immigrant African Americans, Latinos, and other people of color to promote economic growth.

Econometric Society (ES)

The Econometric Society (ES) defines itself as “an International Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory in its Relation to Statistics and Mathematics”. The organization provides publications and journals, conducts research, and organizes scientific meetings worldwide.

American Institute for Economic Research (AIER)

The American Institute for Economic Research (AIER) is a well-known nonpartisan economic research and advocacy organization. AIER is dedicated to developing and promoting pure freedom and private governance through advanced economic research, accessible media outreach, and educational programming.

Author Bio:

Brandon Mario D’Souza

Brandon is a registered social worker with Social Work England. He obtained his master’s in social work (personnel management & industrial relations) and used it in fields such as water treatment, construction, software, and education. Then he transitioned to the health and social care sector with an M.Sc. in health psychology. Brandon loves to write, cook, and play musical instruments (piano, guitar, melodica, ukulele, and kazoo) and enjoys the calmness and serenity of nature.


Master of Social Work, Master of Health Psychology

Areas of Expertise & Credentials

None to disclose in particular; the basics are covered in the short bio.


The average tuition (based on degree type for in-state students), average graduation rates, and rankings are based on data from various sources, including the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), and are variable over time. All rankings and statistics are subject to change. The rankings are solely the opinion of Find Best Degrees (FBD) and are based on our proprietary methodology. They do not represent the views of the institutions or organizations mentioned, nor do they represent any official government census or survey. Furthermore, any views or opinions expressed on this page are of FBD’s researchers and teams. Unless otherwise specified, they do not represent the thoughts and opinions of the individuals, institutions, or organizations mentioned. This page’s content is provided solely for informational purposes, with data drawn from various sources, including IPEDS. FBD and its employees make no guarantees regarding the accuracy or completeness of any information found on this page or by following any link. FBD will not be held liable for any errors or omissions in this material nor any losses, injuries, or damages resulting from the exposure or use of this information. Although the information on this page is/was correct at the time of publication, readers should exercise caution because some or all of the provided information may have changed over time, potentially resulting in inaccuracies. For more information, please read our Terms of Service. Trademarks and logos are the property of their registered owners.