Published on June 6, 2024
Edited by Evelyn Keener
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University Headquarters (HQ) is an industry-leading, independent educational organization that provides independent college rankings using a proprietary formula to create first class unbiased rankings. The team at University HQ strives to provide accurate and trustworthy rankings that highlights the best programs for economics in California.

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What is Economics?

California, known for its varied industries and thriving economy, holds an influential spot within the United States when it comes to economics. From agriculture to technology, California boasts numerous career options available to those interested in this field. Economics plays an integral part in shaping California's policies and decision-making processes, offering immense growth potential to various industries. California boasts an economy replete with agriculture, technology, entertainment, tourism, and manufacturing as major sectors.

California is home to some of the world's leading tech companies - such as Apple, Google, and Facebook - which contribute significantly to the state's economic strength. It also holds a prominent position in the entertainment industry, with Hollywood being the heart of the American film and television industry. California also boasts an expansive agricultural industry, producing fruits, vegetables, dairy products, and nuts of various kinds. California's excellent climate and fertile soil make it the ideal location for agricultural activities.

As per the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates, as of May 2020, California had approximately 14,580 economists employed across various sectors such as government agencies, corporations, research institutions, and consulting firms. They apply economic principles to analyze market trends, consumer behavior patterns, and economic policies - thereby providing useful insights.

Students interested in completing a degree from economics colleges can find plenty of options all over the state. These options may include Stanford University, the University of California Los Angeles, University of California Berkeley, Santa Clara University, Claremont Mckenna College, Southern California University, Pomona College, University of California Santa Barbara, Sonoma State University, Harvey Mudd College, and many more.


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Online Economics Education in California

An economist is an individual who studies and analyzes the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. They utilize various economic theories, models, and statistical techniques to understand and predict economic behavior and trends.
Economists play an essential role in shaping public policies, making informed business decisions, and providing valuable insight into economic issues. Economists can find work across settings such as government agencies, research institutions, consulting firms, and financial institutions.

For an economist to be successful, they usually need an extensive educational foundation in economics. This usually means obtaining at least a bachelor's degree in this or related fields; some individuals also choose advanced degrees such as master's and PhD degrees to specialize in certain areas to broaden their career opportunities.

Economists employ a wide range of methods to conduct their research and analysis. They rely on mathematical and statistical tools to analyze data and test economic theories. Additionally, economists often use economic models to simulate and predict the impact of different economic policies or events on the overall economy.

Economics encompasses various subdisciplines such as microeconomics, macroeconomics, econometrics, international economics, and labor economics. Microeconomics focuses on individual economic agents, like households and firms and their decision-making processes, while macroeconomics analyzes the overall economy such as economic growth, inflation, and unemployment rates. Finally, Econometrics uses economic theory combined with statistical methods to analyze economic data and test hypotheses.

Online Associate Degree in Economics (AS)

An associate degree in economics in California provides an excellent starting point to enhance career prospects and engage in further studies. By becoming specialized in economics, you can gain foundational knowledge that could enable you to secure entry-level roles or pursue advanced degrees.

An associate degree in economics opens doors to various employment possibilities, from entry-level roles in financial institutions and government agencies to roles at non-profit organizations or government bodies. Graduates gain foundational knowledge in economic principles and policies, which enables them to contribute significantly toward decision-making processes at both local and national levels. Notably, an associate degree in economics provides a solid basis for further studies or specialization in areas related to economics or public policy or international business. With demand for skilled economists continuing to rise globally, an associate degree can serve as an invaluable asset for individuals hoping to make an impactful difference within the economic system.

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Online Bachelors Degree in Economics (BS)

Earning a bachelor's degree in economics equips students with a thorough knowledge of how economies function, giving them the skills needed to analyze and interpret complex financial data. Curricula often cover microeconomics, macroeconomics, econometrics, and economic development - providing quantitative skills and critical thinking abilities, as well as quantitative theories and analytical methods that enable graduates to pursue diverse career opportunities such as finance, consulting, public policy, or academia.

Acquiring a bachelor's degree in economics opens many doors for career advancement and personal growth. Students can gain insight into global economic trends while being equipped to navigate unpredictable business and finance environments. Furthermore, these degrees provide an excellent steppingstone toward further academic pursuits at graduate levels or professional certification programs - ultimately giving individuals an edge to make meaningful contributions to society through informed decision-making and creative problem-solving within their fields.

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Online Masters Degree in Economics (MS)

An economics master's degree represents a critical step for those looking to increase their knowledge and expertise in this area. California offers excellent programs at this level of study that open doors to careers in finance, government, consulting, academia, as well as finance industry related careers, such as consulting. Students enrolled can explore complex theories while applying them in practical situations to address global issues using specialized coursework and research opportunities available through this level.

Earning a master of economics degree equips graduates with valuable quantitative and qualitative tools that employers demand. These program's emphasis on data analysis and critical thinking can help students adapt to today's constantly evolving economic landscape while creating innovative solutions to address today's socio-economic challenges. Furthermore, networking opportunities within the program provide access to esteemed faculty members and industry professionals, enriching your overall learning experience while expanding your career prospects post graduation.

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Online PhD Degree in Economics (PhD)

Embarking on a PhD in economics is akin to a journey through uncharted economic territories, offering an unparalleled opportunity for deep intellectual exploration and scholarly inquiry. Unlike undergraduate and master’s programs, a PhD in economics goes beyond the traditional classroom setting, requiring students to immerse themselves in rigorous research and advanced quantitative analysis. As aspiring economists delve into intricate economic theories and empirical methods, they are challenged to contribute original insights that can reshape our understanding of complex economic phenomena.

Moreover, pursuing a PhD in economics grants individuals the chance to work closely with esteemed faculty members and engage in collaborative research initiatives at the forefront of economic scholarship. These programs equip students with the critical thinking skills necessary to not only interpret global economic trends but also propose innovative solutions to pressing socio-economic issues. Ultimately, a PhD in this field empowers graduates to wield their expertise as influential thought leaders who shape policy decisions and drive meaningful change within both academic circles and real-world economies.

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Online Economics Certifications

As economics is an ever-evolving discipline, aspiring economists may want to pursue professional certifications to expand their knowledge and skill set. One such certification is the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation, which equips professionals with in-depth expertise in investment management and financial analysis; this certification not only offers an in-depth knowledge of economic principles but can open doors to lucrative career opportunities within finance industry.

Certified Economic Development (CEcD) certification offers another useful credential to economists. Designed specifically to promote economic development within communities, CEcD certification explores strategies such as job creation, infrastructure improvement, and business expansion that drive local and regional prosperity - this designation can play a pivotal role in shaping resilient and sustainable economies.

Earning economics certifications can give job candidates an edge in today's highly-competitive job market by building expertise beyond academic qualifications. Not only are such credentials proof of commitment to lifelong learning but they can also demonstrate your capacity for solving complex economic issues with practical solutions - making you invaluable assets in driving global prosperity forward.

Become an Economist in California

If you have a passion for economics and want to pursue a career in the field, California offers numerous opportunities for aspiring economists. Whether you dream of working in academia, government, or the private sector, here are the steps you can take to become an economist in California.

  • Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree

    First step to becoming an economist is earning a bachelor's degree in economics or related field from one of California's renowned universities offering strong economics programs like Stanford, UC Berkeley, or USC; each boasts its own microeconomics, macroeconomics, econometrics, and statistics courses that can prepare you to become an economist.

  • Step 2: Gain Work Experience

    Although a bachelor's degree is usually sufficient to enter an entry-level job as an economist, gaining practical work experience is key to standing out in the job market. Look for internships, part-time jobs, or research assistant positions within economic research organizations, consulting firms, or government agencies so you can apply academic knowledge directly to real-life issues and develop essential skills.

  • Step 3: Pursue a Master's or Ph.D. in Economics

    Though not necessary, pursuing either a master's or PhD in economics can significantly boost your career as an economist. These advanced degrees offer advanced training in economic theory, research methodology, and data analysis. California offers several top graduate programs for economics.

  • Step 4: Develop Strong Analytical and Quantitative Skills

    As an economist, success requires mastery of both analytical and quantitative skills. This involves being proficient with statistical software, such as Stata or R, and being able to manipulate large datasets. Furthermore, developing critical thinking and problem-solving abilities will allow you to comprehend complex economic systems while creating evidence-based policy recommendations.

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What Can I Do with a Bachelor's in Economics?

Bachelors in economics degrees offer nearly endless career possibilities. Graduates may pursue paths in finance, consulting, market research, policy analysis, and data analysis. Furthermore, with demand growing for professionals able to understand complex economic systems and trends, graduates could find fulfilling roles in both the public and private sectors.

California offers ample opportunities for graduates with bachelor's degrees in economics to find satisfying employment across various industries thriving within its borders, from Silicon Valley tech giants to Hollywood entertainment companies. A bachelor's degree can open doors into these vibrant sectors by providing specialists who can analyze market trends, make strategic financial decisions, and foresee economic developments - California remains an economic powerhouse with diverse businesses driving innovation and growth that provide ample opportunity for economics graduates to contribute meaningfully toward this booming state economy.

Potential Careers for Economics Graduates

Postsecondary Economics Teacher

The postsecondary economics teacher will be responsible for instructing students at the college level in the principles and theories of economics. This role will involve developing and delivering engaging lectures, leading discussions, and assessing student understanding through assignments, exams, and projects.

Necessary Requirements:

  • A master's or doctoral degree in economics or a related field
  • Prior teaching experience or academic expertise in economics
  • Strong communication and interpersonal skills
  • Ability to engage and motivate students in a classroom setting
  • Proficiency in using educational technology and resources

Estimated Salary

  • The mean annual wage for economics teachers, postsecondary in the US in 2022 was $122,750
  • The mean annual wage for economics teachers, postsecondary in California is $145,020


An economist is not just a number cruncher or a predictor of financial markets. They are the investigators of human behavior in the economic realm, examining how people and societies allocate scarce resources to satisfy infinite wants. Beyond analyzing data and trends, economists strive to understand the motivations behind individual and collective decision-making. They shed light on the complex interactions between consumers, producers, governments, and international markets.

Necessary Requirements:

  • Advanced degree in economics or a related field
  • Proficiency in statistical analysis and econometric modeling
  • Strong analytical and critical thinking skills
  • Excellent written and verbal communication abilities
  • Experience with economic forecasting and policy analysis

Estimated Salary

  • The median annual wage for economists in the US in 2022 was $113,940
  • The mean annual wage for economists in California is $137,090
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Market Research Analyst

Market research analysts play a pivotal role in business, using data analysis and consumer behavior knowledge to make strategic and informed decisions. They examine trends, demographics, and economic indicators to provide companies with crucial insight for product development, marketing strategies, and overall growth. Furthermore, market research analysts utilize various research methodologies such as surveys, focus groups, and statistical analysis to collect accurate information regarding consumer preferences and market dynamics.

Necessary Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree in marketing, business, statistics, or a related field
  • Proven experience in market research or data analysis
  • Proficiency in statistical analysis software and tools
  • Strong analytical and critical thinking skills
  • Excellent communication and presentation abilities
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team

Estimated Salary

  • The median annual wage for market research analysts in the US in 2022 was $68,230
  • The mean annual wage for market research analysts and marketing specialists in California is $88,100


As a logistician, your primary responsibilities will include overseeing and controlling the movement of goods and materials within an organization. Assuring efficient product distribution will also fall within this scope.

Necessary Requirements:

  • Bachelor's degree in logistics, supply chain management, or a related field
  • Proven experience in logistics operations or supply chain management
  • Strong analytical and problem-solving skills
  • Proficiency in logistics software and systems
  • Excellent communication and negotiation abilities
  • Knowledge of transportation regulations and international trade practices

Estimated Salary

  • The median annual wage for logisticians in the US in 2022 was $77,520
  • The mean annual wage for logisticians in California is $90,040

Operations Manager

An operations manager is the backbone of an organization, responsible for overseeing and coordinating its day-to-day activities. This pivotal role requires a unique blend of leadership, problem-solving, and strategic thinking skills to ensure that all processes run smoothly and efficiently. From optimizing production workflows to managing employee schedules and resources, they play a critical role in driving operational excellence within the company.

Necessary Requirements:

  • Bachelor's degree in business administration, operations management, or a related field
  • Proven experience in a similar role with a track record of successful operational management
  • Strong leadership and organizational skills
  • Excellent problem-solving abilities and decision-making skills
  • Proficiency in using operational management software and tools
  • Ability to work well under pressure and handle multiple tasks simultaneously
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills

Estimated Salary

  • The mean annual wage for general and operations managers in the US in 2022 was $122,860
  • The mean annual wage for general and operations managers in California is $148,270
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Financial Manager

A financial manager is a pivotal figure in any organization, responsible for overseeing the financial health and well-being of the company. It's not just about managing the numbers; it's also about strategizing and making key decisions that impact the bottom line. Financial managers are entrusted with the critical task of forecasting budgets, analyzing trends, and maximizing profit margins while minimizing risks.

Necessary Requirements:

  • Bachelor's degree in finance, accounting, or a related field
  • Proven experience in financial management or a similar role
  • Strong analytical and problem-solving skills
  • Excellent knowledge of accounting principles and financial regulations
  • Proficiency in financial software and systems
  • Strong communication and leadership abilities

Estimated Salary

  • The median annual wage for financial managers in the US in 2022 was $139,790
  • The mean annual wage for financial managers in California is $187,410
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