Published on June 7, 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 Illinois.

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What is Economics?

Illinois, like many other states, has a diverse and growing economy that offers a variety of job opportunities for individuals interested in pursuing a career in economics. From finance and banking to government and education, there are numerous sectors in Illinois that rely on economic professionals to help make informed decisions and drive growth.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of May 2020, there were approximately 21,890 economists working in Illinois across various fields such as government, finance, consulting, education, and research. Economics in Illinois plays an integral part in analyzing data, conducting research, and providing economic forecasts that enable businesses, government agencies, and other organizations to make more informed decisions. They may also play a part in devising economic policies, analyzing trends, or studying their effects on economic activities.

Individuals with backgrounds in economics have plenty of opportunities for employment outside of economics-specific roles, such as economists. Financial analysis, market research, and business consulting all require a sound understanding of economics to succeed today's data-driven economy; so, individuals with extensive economics knowledge are highly sought after across industries.

If you are interested in pursuing a career in economics in Illinois, there are many educational programs available at colleges and universities throughout the state. Whether you are interested in pursuing a bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree in economics, there are a variety of options to choose from that can help you develop the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in this field. College and university options in the state include IL Wheaton College, IL Northeastern Illinois University, Lake Forest College, IL North Central College, Loyola University Chicago, IL Northwestern University, the University of Illinois, Depaul University, the University of Chicago, University of Illinois - Urbana Champaign, Central Illinois University, Indiana University - Bloomington, and more. Students can look for schools located near them or close to work opportunities so that they are well set up for graduation after economics programs. There are a huge number of economics majors from these schools, allowing graduating students to find success in their chosen field. You can use college or economics rankings of schools to help you find the best economics programs for you.


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Online Economics Education in Illinois

Economists are professionals specialized in studying economic issues, trends, and data to make informed recommendations and predictions about production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. Economists use their expertise to assist businesses, government agencies, and organizations in making sound decisions regarding production, distribution, and consumption of products and services.
An economist's primary responsibility is conducting research and collecting data on key economic aspects such as inflation, employment rates, interest rates, and international trade. By analyzing this information, economists can offer valuable insight and forecasts into how these elements may influence both the economy as a whole and individual industries.

Economists also use economic theories and models to assess the potential impact of policy decisions such as tax reforms, trade agreements, or government spending programs. They often work closely with policymakers to develop strategies that can promote economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve overall well-being.

Economists play an essential role in both research and analysis as well as communicating their findings to clients, stakeholders, or the general public through reports, presentations or media interviews. Economists play an essential part in raising public awareness regarding economic issues affecting society.

Online Associate Degree in Economics (AS)

An associate degree in economics provides students with a solid grounding in economic theory, making it an invaluable credential in today's highly competitive job market. Students pursuing these degrees gain insight into how individuals, businesses, and governments make decisions regarding resource allocation and how they create the policies that shape our economy. Furthermore, these programs equip them with the analytical skills needed to interpret economic data critically evaluate theories and make informed decisions according to economic principles.

An associate degree in economics opens numerous career opportunities across industries like finance, government, consulting, and academia. Graduates with this degree can work as economic research analysts, policy advisors, financial analysts, or pursue further study in areas such as development economics or international trade - not to mention practical knowledge that fosters critical thinking skills essential for successfully navigating today's complex global economy.

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Online Bachelors Degree in Economics (BS)

Economics is an interdisciplinary field that delves deeply into understanding how global economies operate. Pursuing a bachelor's degree in economics opens doors to many opportunities, from analyzing market trends to creating well-informed financial strategies. Grads equipped with economics degrees gain valuable critical thinking skills and analytical tools highly sought-after by employers in today's highly competitive job market.

Economics offers an intriguing multidisciplinary study experience, from supply and demand curves to environmental economics, behavioral economics, and international trade. Students explore many such topics - giving an all-round view on how economic principles influence various aspects of society. Economics offers an engaging degree choice for anyone looking to make tangible change on a global scale with its diverse skill set allowing economists to overcome complex problems with creative yet data-driven solutions.

National Online Rankings - Best Online Bachelors in Economics

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Online Masters Degree in Economics (MS)

Attaining a master's in economics is a significant step toward expanding one's specialized knowledge and expertise in economics. Graduates with these advanced degrees equip themselves with analytical abilities, critical thinking capabilities, and an in-depth knowledge of economic theories and principles - skills which make them attractive candidates for jobs in finance, government, consulting, or academia.

Undertaking a Master of Economics offers unique advantages that go far beyond mere academic knowledge. Students often have access to resources like data analysis tools, simulation models, academic journals, and real-world problems from an economic standpoint. Furthermore, many programs provide internship or collaborative project opportunities with industry partners for further real-world application of theoretical knowledge while gaining invaluable hands-on experience.

National Online Rankings - Best Online Masters in Economics

Online PhD Degree in Economics (PhD)

Pursuing a PhD in economics is not just about mastering complex economic theories; it’s a journey of intellectual exploration and discovery. As a doctoral student in economics, you are challenged to push the boundaries of knowledge and contribute to cutting-edge research that can shape policy decisions and drive global change. The thrill of uncovering new insights through rigorous analysis and econometric modeling is what drives many economists in their pursuit of higher education.

Moreover, a PhD in economics opens diverse career opportunities beyond academia. Graduates with advanced degrees in economics are highly sought after by government agencies, international organizations, and private sector firms for their analytical skills and critical thinking abilities. By delving deep into specialized areas, such as behavioral economics or development economics, during their doctoral studies, economists are equipped to tackle real-world problems with innovative solutions grounded in sound economic principles. In essence, pursuing a PhD in economics is not just an academic pursuit; it is a pathway to making meaningful contributions to society through evidence-based decision-making strategies.

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Online Economics Certifications

Economics certifications are becoming increasingly popular among professionals looking to enhance their skills and advance their careers in the field. These certifications offer specialized knowledge in areas such as financial analysis, economic policy, and market research, providing a competitive edge in today's job market. Obtaining an economics certification demonstrates a commitment to staying current with industry trends and can open doors to new opportunities in various sectors.

One of the most sought-after economics certifications is the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), which focuses on investment management and financial analysis. This credential is highly respected in the finance industry and can lead to lucrative career prospects. Additionally, certifications like Certified Economic Development Professional (CEcD) or Certified Business Economist (CBE) provide expertise in economic development strategies and business economics, respectively, further expanding career options for individuals with an economics background. Pursuing these certifications showcases dedication to continuing education and mastery of key concepts within the field of economics.

Become an Economist in Illinois

Economists study various factors that influence financial and resource decisions, as well as how these decisions impact individuals, businesses, and governments. If you're interested in pursuing a career in economics in Illinois, here are some steps to help guide you through the process.

  • Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree in Economics or a Related Field

    Earning a bachelor's degree is your first step to becoming an economist, and colleges and universities across Illinois offer programs specifically dedicated to economics as an option. Alternatively, degrees related fields such as finance, mathematics, or statistics could also be pursued as viable paths toward this career goal.

  • Step 2: Consider Graduate School

    While entry-level positions in economics may only require a bachelor's degree, most economists possess advanced degrees such as master's or PhDs to increase job prospects and potentially increase their salaries.

  • Step 3: Gain Practical Experience

    Internships, co-op programs, and research assistant positions can offer invaluable hands-on experience in economics. You may want to look into these opportunities within government agencies, research institutions, or private businesses for maximum exposure.

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

A bachelor's in economics opens a world of possibilities, giving graduates access to a diverse range of career opportunities. Whether you choose to pursue a career in finance, consulting, data analysis, or public policy - the critical thinking and analytical skills honed during your degree will serve you well in navigating complex economic landscapes. With the increasing demand for data-driven decision-making across industries, an economics degree can equip you with the tools to thrive in this competitive job market.

Beyond traditional roles, an economics degree offers flexibility and adaptability - qualities highly valued by employers. Graduates can explore emerging fields such as environmental economics or behavioral economics, applying their knowledge to address pressing global challenges and influence positive change. Additionally, the interdisciplinary nature of economics allows individuals to blend their expertise with other disciplines like sociology, psychology, or computer science - expanding their career options even further.

Potential Careers for Economics Graduates

Postsecondary Mathematics Teacher

As a postsecondary mathematics teacher, your role will involve designing and teaching engaging math lessons to college or university students. Your lessons should help these learners deepen their understanding of mathematical concepts and theories, as well as sharpening problem-solving abilities.

Necessary Requirements:

  • A Master's or PhD in Mathematics or a related field
  • Previous teaching experience at the postsecondary level is preferred
  • Strong communication and interpersonal skills
  • Ability to explain complex mathematical concepts in a clear and understandable manner
  • Passion for teaching and helping students succeed in their academic endeavors

Estimated Salary

  • The median annual wage for mathematical science teachers, postsecondary in the US in 2022 was $90,110
  • The mean annual wage for mathematical science teachers, postsecondary in Illinois is $79,500


Statisticians are charged with the responsibility of interpreting data to assist organizations in making more informed decisions. This may involve designing surveys, experiments, and data collection methods before using statistical techniques to analyze it all and present their findings.

Necessary Requirements:

  • Bachelor's or master's degree in statistics, mathematics, or a related field
  • Proficiency in statistical analysis software such as R, SAS, or SPSS
  • Strong analytical and problem-solving skills
  • Excellent communication and presentation abilities
  • Attention to detail and ability to work independently

Estimated Salary

  • The median annual wage for mathematicians and statisticians in the US in 2022 was $99,960
  • The mean annual wage for mathematicians in Illinois is $97,430

Risk Manager

Risk managers are charged with identifying, analyzing, and mitigating risks that could potentially wreak havoc within an organization. Their focus should be to create strategies and policies designed to minimize risks while complying with regulations and best practices - ultimately playing an integral role in safeguarding financial stability and reputation of their organization.

Necessary Requirements:

  • Bachelor's degree in Business, Finance, Risk Management, or a related field
  • Proven experience in risk management, preferably in a corporate setting
  • Strong analytical skills and attention to detail
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
  • Knowledge of relevant laws and regulations related to risk management
  • Professional certification in risk management (e.g., CRM, FRM) is a plus

Estimated Salary

  • The median annual wage for financial risk specialists in the US in 2022 was $116,140
  • The mean annual wage for financial risk specialists in Illinois is $101,930

Financial Manager

A financial manager is responsible for overseeing the financial health of an organization, analyzing financial data, and creating financial reports. They play a crucial role in decision-making by providing guidance on budgeting, forecasting, and investment strategies. They also ensure compliance with financial regulations and prepares financial statements for internal and external stakeholders.

Necessary Requirements:

  • Bachelor's degree in finance, accounting, or related field; Master's degree preferred
  • Proven experience as a financial manager or a similar role
  • Strong analytical and problem-solving skills
  • Excellent knowledge of financial principles and practices
  • Proficiency in financial software and Microsoft Excel
  • Strong communication and interpersonal skills
  • Ability to work under pressure and meet deadlines

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 Illinois is $155,070

Financial Advisor

Financial advisors are financial professionals who provide guidance and advice to individuals on their financial goals. These experts assess a client's financial situation, develop personalized plans, and help manage investments. Beyond just offering advice on investments, they also assist with retirement planning, tax strategies, estate planning, and overall wealth management.

Necessary Requirements:

  • Bachelor's degree in finance, economics, or a related field
  • Certified Financial Planner (CFP) certification is preferred
  • Strong analytical skills and attention to detail
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
  • Ability to build trust and rapport with clients
  • Knowledge of investment products, financial markets, and regulatory requirements

Estimated Salary

  • The median annual wage for personal financial advisors in the US in 2022 was $95,390
  • The mean annual wage for personal financial advisors in Illinois is $132,590
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Supply Chain Analyst

Supply chain analysts play an integral role in optimizing the flow of goods and services between suppliers and end customers, providing crucial analysis, trend identification, and strategic recommendations to improve supply chain efficiency. A key aspect of their duties involves accurately forecasting demand to balance inventory levels to meet customer requirements while minimizing excess stock levels.

Necessary Requirements:

  • Bachelor's degree in supply chain management, logistics, or a related field
  • Proven experience in supply chain analysis or a similar role
  • Strong analytical skills and proficiency in data analysis tools
  • Excellent communication and collaboration abilities
  • Knowledge of supply chain principles and best practices

Estimated Salary

  • The median annual wage for logisticians in the US in 2022 was $77,520
  • The mean annual wage for logisticians in Illinois is $71,180

Market Research Analyst

As a market research analyst, your main responsibilities will include gathering and analyzing market trends, customer preferences, and competitive landscape to provide insights that help shape business decisions. You will use various research methods and tools to collect data, interpret findings, and present recommendations that support marketing strategies.

Necessary Requirements:

  • Bachelor's degree in Marketing, Business, Statistics, or a related field
  • Proven experience in market research or data analysis role
  • Proficiency in using research tools and software for data collection and analysis
  • Strong analytical skills with the ability to interpret complex data sets
  • Excellent communication and presentation skills
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team in a fast-paced environment

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 Illinois is $75,230
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