Updated on June 12, 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 Iowa.

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What is Economics?

Iowa is a state known for its diverse economy, with industries ranging from agriculture to manufacturing to technology. The state has a strong work ethic and a low unemployment rate, making it a desirable place for job seekers. In terms of employment, Iowa has a diverse labor force with a mix of skilled and unskilled workers.

Iowa boasts a nonfarm employment total of more than 1.6 million workers and enjoys an unemployment rate consistently lower than the national average, currently sitting at approximately 2.4% - testament to Iowa's vibrant economy and job market.
Iowa is home to several industries with top employers including agribusiness, healthcare, manufacturing, finance, and education as top employers. Iowa also boasts fertile land that produces corn, soybeans, pork, and eggs. Additionally, the state boasts several major healthcare systems.

In recent years, Iowa has also seen growth in industries like technology and renewable energy. The state is home to several tech startups and companies, as well as wind farms and solar energy projects. This diversification of industries has contributed to Iowa's strong economy and low unemployment rate. College options in the state include Iowa State University, the University of Iowa, Drake University, Grinnell College, and others. First-year students looking for the best economics colleges in the state will have plenty of options to choose from.


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Online Economics Education in Iowa

Economists are professionals who use economic data to understand how different elements impact the economy. Businesses, governments, and other organizations often employ economists' expertise for guidance through this complex subject.

Economists specialize in many areas including unemployment rates, inflation rates, interest rates, and economic growth. They use mathematical models, statistical techniques, and economic theory to assess how policies or events impact economies; by studying this information they can forecast future trends and make informed decisions about them.

Ecologists come in various forms; macroeconomists study the overall economy, microeconomists explore specific markets or industries, while econometricians use statistical methods to examine economic data. Economists also work across many settings, from government agencies and financial institutions to research organizations and academic institutions. Economists play a pivotal role in shaping economic policies, conducting research, and providing insightful analysis on its status.

Economists are professionals who use their expertise in economics to analyze and interpret economic data, provide recommendations, and help organizations make informed decisions. Their work is crucial in understanding and navigating the complexities of the economy.

Online Associate Degree in Economics (AS)

An associate degree in economics can be an essential step toward building a rewarding career in economics. This two-year program equips students with solid understandings of economic principles, statistics, and analysis techniques - providing the basis for entry-level positions across various industries such as finance, marketing, and government agencies. However, you’re likely to need more education to become a full economist.

An associate degree in economics can provide unique flexibility, giving students the chance to explore various areas of economics before choosing one as the focus for further studies. Furthermore, community colleges and online institutions often offer cost-effective programs for earning this degree, making it accessible to a broader range of students.

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Online Bachelors Degree in Economics (BS)

Bachelor's degrees in economics provide students with an in-depth knowledge of how individuals and societies allocate scarce resources to meet their goals. Through microeconomics studies, students examine individual agents, such as consumers and firms, while macroeconomics focuses on wider economic trends that impact entire economies. Graduates equipped with this degree gain the analytical tools needed to assess market dynamics, make predictions about future trends, and propose optimal solutions to economic issues.

Iowa students pursuing a Bachelor of Economics have the unique opportunity of applying their theoretical knowledge in practical settings through internships or research projects, providing invaluable hands-on experience that not only complements academic learning but also opens doors to diverse career paths after graduation. An economics degree provides its graduates with important competencies sought-after by industries like finance, consulting, government agencies, and non-profit organizations - skills valued in today's global economy where data analysis and critical thinking skills are highly prized.

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Online Masters Degree in Economics (MS)

Master's degrees in economics provide students with a unique opportunity to delve deeper into complex economic theories and models, preparing them for roles in academia, government, or the private sector. Programs usually combine coursework, research projects, real world applications, as well as analytical critical thinking skills training which equip graduates to tackle modern economic challenges more effectively. Furthermore, earning one can open doors to lucrative career prospects with higher earnings potential and greater job security.

Aspiring to obtain a Master of Economics allows students to specialize in various subfields of economics such as international economics, development economics, or financial economics - making graduates highly sought-after professionals across industries like banking, consulting, or policy analysis. Furthermore, an advanced degree can boost professional recognition and credibility within an increasingly competitive job market.

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Online PhD Degree in Economics (PhD)

Pursuing a PhD in economics opens a wealth of possibilities for those wishing to delve deeper into the global economy. A doctoral student in economics must conduct ground-breaking research that pushes economic theory and practice forward. With its great opportunity for contributing valuable insight to academia and policymaking alike, studying economics provides rewarding journey for anyone passionate about understanding complex economic phenomena.

A PhD in economics provides individuals with advanced analytical and critical thinking capabilities that are in high demand across a range of sectors. Graduates may pursue careers in academia, government agencies, international organizations, or private industries where their expertise will make a substantial difference. Furthermore, undertaking the rigorous academic journey required to attain a PhD not only enhances knowledge but also fosters intellectual growth, as well as an appreciation of interdepartmental approaches to problem solving in economics.

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Online Economics Certifications

Economics certifications can be invaluable assets for Iowa students seeking to expand their knowledge and advance their careers in economics. Certifications like Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) or Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) provide individuals with specialized skills that set them apart in a highly competitive job market; not only do these certifications demonstrate expertise but they also show dedication toward life-long learning and professional growth.

Iowa students seeking careers in economics may benefit from obtaining relevant certifications to expand their opportunities and increase earning potential. Beyond traditional degree programs, certifications provide practical skills and industry knowledge tailored to employers' evolving needs. Therefore, acquiring such certifications could be seen as an investment toward long-term career success in Iowa's dynamic economic landscape.

Become an Economics in Iowa

Iowa is a great place to start your journey toward becoming an economist, with its strong economy and numerous opportunities for growth in the field. Here are some steps to help you kickstart your career in economics in Iowa.

  • Step 1: Earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics

    Step one in becoming an economist is earning a bachelor's degree in either economics, finance, mathematics, or statistics from an Iowa university that offers undergraduate economics programs – any of these will give you a comprehensive foundation in economic theory, statistics, and research methods.

  • Step 2: Gain Experience through Internships or Entry-Level Positions

    While studying economics at university, gaining practical experience through internships or entry-level positions in economics is vital. Not only will this allow you to put into practice what you have learned in class but it will also make you more marketable when entering the job market.

  • Step 3: Consider Pursuing a Master’s Degree in Economics

    Though not strictly required, earning a master's degree in economics can significantly bolster your career prospects in this field. Many universities across Iowa provide graduate programs in economics that will equip you with advanced knowledge and skills, as well as networking and research opportunities.

  • Step 4: Develop Strong Analytical and Problem-Solving Skills

    As an economist, your primary tasks will include analyzing data, forecasting trends and patterns within economic systems, and providing recommendations based on those trends and patterns. Thus, it's essential to possess strong analytical and problem-solving abilities for success in this field - enrolling in courses such as mathematics, statistics, and computer science can help strengthen them further.

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

With a bachelor's in economics, your options for employment are limitless and exciting. From financial institutions and government agencies to consulting firms or even starting your own entrepreneurial ventures - your studies will equip you with analytical and critical thinking skills that employers across various industries will covet.

Economics degrees open many doors. From financial analyst and market researcher, data analyst, policy advisor, or even economist roles - this versatile degree equips you with the knowledge required to navigate complex market dynamics and make informed decisions that lead to business success. So, whether your interest lies in finance, data analysis, public policy, or entrepreneurship; an economics bachelor's provides a solid basis for an exciting and fulfilling career journey.

Potential Careers for Economics Graduates

Postsecondary Economics Teacher:

Postsecondary economics teachers are responsible for educating college students in various principles and concepts related to economics. Their role entails creating lesson plans, giving lectures, facilitating discussions, and evaluating student performance - the goal being for their pupils to have an in-depth knowledge of both economic theory and its real world applications.

Necessary Requirements:

  • A master's or doctoral degree in economics or a related field
  • Prior teaching experience at the postsecondary level is preferred
  • Strong communication and presentation skills
  • Knowledge of economic theory, principles, and applications
  • Ability to engage students in meaningful discussions and foster a positive learning environment

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 Iowa is $120,990

Data Scientist:

Data scientists are the backbone of digital societies, employing their analytical abilities to unlock insights from massive amounts of data. With expertise spanning statistics, programming, and business acumen - they possess an inimitable combination that allows them to tackle complex problems precisely and with pinpoint precision. Companies rely on them today as decision-making drivers, as well as using their knowledge to uncover hidden patterns that lead to innovations and a competitive edge.

Necessary Requirements:

  • Bachelor's or master's degree in data science, statistics, computer science, or a related field
  • Proficiency in programming languages such as Python, R, or SQL
  • Strong analytical and problem-solving skills
  • Experience with data visualization tools like Tableau or Power BI
  • Knowledge of machine learning techniques and algorithms
  • Excellent communication and teamwork abilities

Estimated Salary

  • The median annual wage for data scientists in the US in 2022 was $103,500
  • The mean annual wage for data scientists in Iowa is $94,190


As an economist, your role will involve conducting research and analysis of economic issues, trends, and policies. Your work may include collecting and interpreting data, forecasting economic trends from previous surveys, providing insights that assist decision making processes, collecting statistics for interpretation, forecasting economic trends from those surveys, making recommendations that assist decision-making processes, and offering insight.

Necessary Requirements:

  • Bachelor's degree in economics or related field; a master's or Ph.D. may be preferred for advanced roles
  • Strong analytical skills and proficiency in statistical analysis tools
  • Excellent communication skills to present complex economic concepts clearly
  • Ability to work independently and collaboratively in a team environment
  • Prior experience in economic research or analysis is preferred

Estimated Salary

  • The median annual wage for economists in the US in 2022 was $113,940
  • There is no available median annual wage for economists in Iowa
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Operations Manager:

As an essential member of any organization, operations managers serve a vital role in ensuring smooth and efficient processes. Aside from overseeing daily activities, successful operations managers possess strong analytical abilities to identify trends and areas for improvement - using this data-driven insight they can streamline operations, optimize resources, and ultimately drive overall performance.

Necessary Requirements:

  • Bachelor's degree in business administration or a related field
  • Proven experience in operations management
  • Strong leadership and communication skills
  • Ability to multitask and prioritize effectively
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Knowledge of industry best practices

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 Iowa is $91,000
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Logisticians are unsung heroes behind the scenes, orchestrating the smooth flow of goods and services in an increasingly complex global economy. Through careful planning and strategic foresight, logisticians ensure products arrive promptly, efficiently, and cost-effectively at their destinations. With an eye for detail and knack for problem-solving skills, logisticians master complex supply chains efficiently by optimizing routes and delivery schedules to minimize delays while optimizing resources utilization.

Necessary Requirements:

  • Bachelor's degree in supply chain management, logistics, or a related field
  • Proven experience in logistics coordination or supply chain management
  • Strong analytical and problem-solving skills
  • Excellent communication and organizational abilities
  • Proficiency in logistics software and tools
  • Knowledge of industry best practices and regulations

Estimated Salary

  • The median annual wage for logisticians in the US in 2022 was $77,520
  • The mean annual wage for logisticians in Iowa is $76,930

Policy Analyst:

Policy analysts are responsible for conducting in-depth analyses and evaluations on government policies and regulations to provide recommendations for decision making. They investigate existing policies' effects, recommend modifications as required, or propose new initiatives as deemed necessary to better address current challenges or address new ones more efficiently.

Necessary Requirements:

  • Bachelor's degree in public policy, political science, economics, or a related field
  • Strong analytical skills and ability to interpret complex data
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Knowledge of government processes and policy-making procedures
  • Experience in conducting policy analysis or research is desirable

Estimated Salary

  • The median annual wage for political scientists in the US in 2022 was $128,020
  • There is no available median annual wage for political scientists in Iowa

Financial Manager:

Financial managers play an invaluable role in any organization's success by overseeing financial operations and making strategic decisions to ensure long-term financial security. More than simply crunching numbers, these financial professionals provide senior management with invaluable advice regarding performance risks and growth opportunities - their expertise includes budgeting forecasting and analysis, which help companies pursue sustainable profit with growth strategies.

Necessary Requirements:

  • Bachelor's degree in finance, accounting, economics, or a related field
  • Proven experience as a financial manager or a similar role
  • Strong analytical skills and attention to detail
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
  • Proficiency in financial software and Microsoft Excel
  • Knowledge of accounting principles and regulations
  • Ability to work under pressure and meet deadlines
  • Professional certification such as CPA or CFA is a plus

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 Iowa is $131,080
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