If you are thinking of majoring in accounting or economics, you might be wondering which would be better for you. This post will show you the key details of each of them and help you decide which would be a better major for you.
At a glance:
|Ease of finding a job||Good/Moderate||Moderate|
|Types of jobs|
you can qualify for
|Difficulty of the|
|Key things to note||Often necessary to|
complete the CPA
exam to progress
into senior positions
and to get the more
lucrative jobs. A
master’s degree will
also help significantly.
Lower level bookkeeping
roles are likely to become
Has good overall job prospects.
Can be a path into a number of
different fields including finance
|Can be difficult to|
get a job with just
Many of the more
jobs require at least
a master’s degree.
Becomes a lot more
you combine it with
data analysis skills.
Also, more employable
if combined with a
minor in finance.
Source for economics salary and jobs
There are many things to consider when deciding between the two degrees. Also, there are other things to consider if you do decide to major in either of them such as what classes you should take.
Details about a degree in accounting
Below are details about an accounting major.
According to payscale, the average pay of someone with a bachelor’s degree in accounting is $70,762. This is higher than most other majors and roughly equal to economics. This could be because there is some overlap in the jobs than an economics major and an accounting major will qualify for.
Something to consider is that completing the CPA exam and getting an accounting master’s degree will increase your earning potential significantly.
A degree in accounting should give you good opportunities with just a bachelor’s degree. This is because the degree can qualify you for a number of accounting roles and it can also qualify you for roles in related fields such as finance and business since accounting knowledge is useful in many business applications.
However, a lot of the more lucrative accounting roles require you to be a CPA and most people that become a CPA also get a master’s degree in accounting.
Jobs that you can qualify for with a bachelor’s degree in accounting can include:
- Account manager
- Financial analyst
- Tax manager
- Financial advisor
Some other jobs that you can get with a master’s degree would include:
- Forensic accountant
- Managerial accountant
- Chief financial officer
An accounting degree can be difficult especially in the junior and senior years when the classes become more specialized. Overall, accounting is generally considered as a moderately difficult degree. When compared with an economics major, you can expect accounting to be equal in difficulty or harder depending on how much math the particular economics major includes.
Things to consider
If you are thinking of majoring in accounting, it could also help to minor in finance. This is because many people with accounting degrees end up in finance. Getting a finance minor should help you when looking for jobs within finance. Getting an internship, in the field, could also help a lot.
If you want to go far in accounting, it would help you to complete the CPA exam as soon as you are able to. This is because many of the more desirable jobs require that you have completed the exam.
While accounting is a degree with good job opportunities, it can still be competitive. With that being the case, it would help you a lot to try to get some summer internships while you are completing the degree.
Details about an economics degree
Below are some of the key details of the economics major.
According to Payscale, the average salary of a person with a bachelor’s degree in economics is $71,173. However, for someone fresh out of college, the average will likely be lower.
Types of jobs you can get
With a bachelor’s degree in economics you can expect to qualify for jobs such as:
Since economics makes use of some statistics, you can qualify for many different types of “analyst” roles. Many of these roles will require the knowledge of programming languages such as R and Python. It would also help to be able to show projects that show that can make use of R and Python languages in a useful way.
Additionally, economics can be a route towards finance type jobs. However, it would help a lot to get a minor in finance if you are thinking of going down the finance route. Alternatively, it would be an option to major in finance and minor in economics.
The difficulty of an economics degree will depend a lot on the specific program. Some economics programs will be more math-heavy and focused on statistics and its use in economics. Whereas, other programs will not even require calculus and will be more focused on broad economic theory.
If you do decide on an economics major, it would help a lot to consider what you want to get out of it and the jobs you are interested in so that you can choose an economics program that is suitable for you.
Types of classes you’ll be taking
As mentioned above, economics programs can vary significantly. However, there are some classes that you can expect to be taking including:
Principles of microeconomics
Principles of macroeconomics
Introductory statistics and probability
Topics in money and finance
Topics in banking
Depending on the program, you might also be required to take mathematics classes including:
Important things to be aware of
It is common for economics majors to end up in programming type roles such as with data analytics after graduating. It would help you a lot to make sure to take some programming classes as electives and a CS minor would likely be a very good option. Doing this would also open you up to well-paying roles such as software engineering.
It is also not uncommon for economics majors to find themselves in finance roles. A minor in finance could also help a lot to broaden your job opportunities.
In addition, if you are interested in going to graduate school for economics, it would help a lot to make sure to take more advanced mathematics classes since they are often required for graduate economics. At the very least, it would be necessary to take a class in differential calculus, integral calculus, multiple variable calculus, linear algebra and discrete mathematics.
As mentioned above, the classes in an economics degree can vary a lot. It would help to look at the degree sequence for the economics degree program at your university and to make sure the required classes are suitable for the types of jobs you are interested in.
More details about the economics major
At the undergraduate level, you can expect an accounting degree to qualify you for more jobs when compared with an economics degree by itself because an accounting degree is employable at the bachelor’s level. Whereas, an economics bachelor’s degree can be quite general in nature and a master’s degree is often required in order to qualify for high-paying economics jobs.
However, if you are interested in getting an accounting degree, it would help a lot to make sure to also complete the CPA exam since this will provide you with many more job opportunities. Also, it could be helpful to get a minor in finance especially if you are interested in finance roles.
When compared with an accounting degree, an economics degree will usually not qualify you for as many jobs at the bachelor’s level. With that being the case, if you do decide to get an economics degree, it would help to make sure to take classes related to the job you are interested in, to complete projects related to the job and to try to get summer internships. Getting a minor in computer science or finance would also help to broaden your job opportunities significantly.