2023 Best Online Certificate in Economics Programs

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Individuals interested in expanding their career opportunities or entering the field of economics for the first time may find a certificate in economics to be a strategic next step.

Best Online Certificate in Economics Programs

If you are considering a career in economics, earning a certificate online can be a low-risk way to determine if this is the right path for you while also gaining valuable skills.

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Professionals currently employed in finance, business, or other related fields could also have the opportunity to gain expertise and expand their career opportunities.

Online Certificate in Economics Programs

Woman taking Online Certificate in Economics

If you are interested in earning an economic development certificate, you’ll find a variety of options, including programs for undergraduate and graduate certificates in economics online. Depending on your prior education and work experience, you can choose the economic certificate that makes the most sense for you.

Select the program that most interests you to jump to that section of the guide:

You may want to explore your options to decide which program is right for you.

Undergraduate Certificates in Economics

Financial Risk Specialist with Undergraduate Certificates in Economics

An undergraduate certificate in economics is beneficial for individuals wanting to gain foundational knowledge and skills in economics.

Students can use the skills learned through this certificate to gain additional career opportunities, to advance their current career, or to build a foundation for future degrees. Earning an undergraduate certificate in economics can also allow students to gain knowledge and expertise while determining if it’s the right field for them.

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For professionals, this certificate may also provide a path to career advancement with less time and financial commitment than an additional degree. Depending on the program curriculum, students may also find an opportunity to combine economic study with other fields, including finance, healthcare and policy, and business.

Course topics that you may study include principles of economics, microeconomic analysis, introduction to business, and principles of managerial economics. Careers that can benefit from an undergraduate certificate in economics include forensic accountants and budget, financial risk, actuarial, and investment analysts.

Graduate Certificates in Economics

Data Analyst with Graduate Certificates in Economics

Earning a graduate certificate in economics online could be the next step for students or professionals wanting to build on their existing foundation in economics.

Many graduate certificate students have a bachelor’s degree in economics or a related field. The credits from a graduate certificate may later be used toward a master’s degree. Course topics you may study include quantitative methods in economics and business, principles of microeconomics, statistics for economists, predictive analytics, and economic law.

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Students working toward their graduate certificate in economics may focus on applying economic principles and theories to tackle real-world problems. Graduates can find employment opportunities in various industries, including government agencies, public and private organizations, and in areas of finance, insurance, and healthcare.

Potential career opportunities can include positions as data analysts, economists, financial risk analysts, and political risk analysts.

Economics Careers & Salaries

Economics Careers & Salaries

Graduates with a background in economics can find employment opportunities in numerous industries and occupations, depending on their level of education and experience.

Employment opportunities can be found in all levels of government, businesses of all sizes, and private industry. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, here are the median salaries of potential careers related to economics.

Careers Annual Median Salaries
Actuaries $113,990
Economists $113,940
Data Scientists $103,500
Financial Risk Specialists $102,120
Financial and Investment Analysts $95,080
Operations Research Analysts $85,720
Budget Analysts $82,260
Financial Examiners $82,210
Accountants and Auditors $78,000
Cost Estimators $71,200

Individuals interested in analyzing data and information can find opportunities as data analysts, budget analysts, and financial risk analysts in various sectors. Many graduates find opportunities as actuaries, analyzing risk for organizations in insurance, business, and finance.

Economics Certificate Curriculum & Courses

students taking Economics Certificate

While courses in economics certificate programs will vary by school, listed below are some courses you may take as part of your economic development certification:

  • Principles of Economics: This course introduces you to fundamental economic tools by analyzing national and global economic topics.
  • Math for Economists: In this course, you’ll study mathematical methods, including linear algebra and introductory calculus, as they relate to economic analysis.
  • Predictive Analytics: This course introduces you to using data analysis and modeling to predict economic outcomes.
  • Introduction to Business: Students in this course will study key business topics, including business ownership, human resource management, and accounting.
  • Econometrics: This course focuses on the econometric analysis of financial and economic data, including linear regressions, binary variables, and time-series models.
  • Microeconomic Analysis: This course analyzes the economic decisions of individual buyers and sellers, market outcomes, and the use of analytical logic in economic issues.
  • Strategic Behavior: Students in this course are introduced to the tools and concepts of game theory as it relates to various economic areas.
  • Intermediate Macroeconomics: This course provides you with a foundation in macroeconomics theoretical approaches and frequently analyzed economic data.
  • Financial Econometrics: Theory and Applications: Students study topics of financial econometrics, including event studies and volatility analysis of financial markets.
  • Principles of Managerial Economics: Students in this course will focus on business economics, including the relationship between price, cost, quantity, revenue, and profit.

You may also find courses related to areas of special interest, including economics for business, finance, real estate, health economics, and policy.

Admissions Requirements

Man preparing requirements for Certificate in Economics

While admissions will vary between schools as well as certificate levels, listed below are some common requirements for admission.

  • Minimum GPA from high school or previous undergraduate-level courses
  • Letters of recommendation from an academic or professional source
  • Official transcripts from high school or undergraduate degrees
  • Letter of intent outlining your personal interests and professional goals

In addition, most programs will require the submission of an online application. While graduate certificate programs typically require applicants to hold a bachelors degree, an undergraduate certificate often enrolls those who have a high school diploma.


University offering Certificate in Economics

As you look into options for online economics certificate programs, one key consideration is the school’s accreditation status.

Schools with the status of regional accreditation are the most widely accepted since a third party has verified that their educational services meet agreed-upon quality standards. If you decide to pursue additional degrees after earning your certificate in economics, many schools will only accept course credits from regionally accredited schools.

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To learn more about the accreditation process and find information on specific schools, you can visit the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) website.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Certificate in Economics Financial Aid

When exploring economics certificate programs online, it could be helpful to consider resources that may be available to help with the cost of your program.

If you are currently employed in a related field or working for an employer with continuing education incentives, you can look into options for potential tuition reimbursement. You may also find scholarship opportunities through public and private organizations, government agencies, and individual schools.

Some schools also offer payment plans or loan options through cooperating financial institutions. You can explore federal aid and state aid options as well. Government aid is often available to qualifying students in the form of student loans and grants. While loans usually need to be repaid, many grants do not.

To learn more about financial assistance opportunities, you can visit the Federal Student Aid website.

What Can You Do with a Certificate in Economics?

Economists discussing trends

Graduates of economics certificate programs online may find numerous industries and careers where they can utilize their economic skills and knowledge.

Individuals interested in assessing risk may pursue positions as actuaries, financial risk analysts, and political risk analysts. Graduates interested in finance may find employment opportunities as financial and investment analysts, financial examiners, budget analysts, accountants, and auditors.

Your prior education and work experience can impact your qualifications for various positions. Undergraduate certificates can help you gain a foundation in economics, while graduate certificates are intended for professionals in the field who want to advance their expertise.

How Long Does It Take to Get an Online Economics Certificate?

Woman getting Online Economics Certificate

The time needed to complete your undergraduate or graduate certificate in economics online will vary based on a few factors, including the certificate requirements and your schedule.

Most certificate programs can be completed in 1 year or less, with an undergraduate certificate frequently taking less time than a graduate certificate. Many programs are self-paced, allowing you to complete your program more quickly or take longer if needed. Part-time enrollment will often extend your studies.

Is a Certificate in Economics Worth It?

Financial & Investment Analyst discussing with colleague

Yes, a certificate in economics is worth it for many students. Undergraduate certificates are beneficial for those who want to enter the professional field of economics. Graduate certificates are typically designed for bachelor-degree holders who already have a foundation in economics or a related field.

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Through these types of programs, you can gain valuable skills that are applicable in a range of industries, including finance, business, insurance, healthcare, and real estate, among others. Overall employment for business and financial occupations is expected to grow 7% over the next ten years (Bureau of Labor Statistics). This steady growth is as fast as the average for all occupations.

Universities Offering Online Certificate in Economics Programs

Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer programs online or in a hybrid format.

Cornell University

Cornell University campus

Cornell University offers a Certificate in Business Economics. Each course is 2 weeks long, and the full program can typically be completed in 2.5 months. Potential courses include Examining Scarcity and Opportunity Cost, Analyzing Price and Equilibrium, Modeling Perfect Competition, and Comparing Monopolies and Competition.

Cornell University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Georgia Southern University

Georgia Southern University campus

Georgia Southern University offers a Graduate Certificate in Applied Economics. This 18 credit program is online and can be started in either the fall or the spring. Classes usually have just 8 to 15 students. The program provides the flexibility to study anywhere, any time. There are no on-campus visits required.

Georgia Southern University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Harvard University

Harvard University campus

Harvard University’s online extension school offers a Business Economics Graduate Certificate. The program requires four courses: Principles of Economics, Microeconomics, and two electives. The curriculum teaches how to apply economic principles to business. Most students work full-time while completing the program and take 1.5 years to finish.

Harvard University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

Johns Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins University campus

Johns Hopkins University offers a Certificate in International Economics that can be earned on campus in Washington, DC. The program can typically be completed in 1 semester when attended full-time and in 2 semesters when attended part-time. The program includes four courses: International Economics I and II, followed by two electives. Courses are taught by world-class experts.

Johns Hopkins University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

University of North Dakota

University of North Dakota campus

The University of North Dakota offers an Applied Economics Certificate that can be earned online or on campus. This graduate-level program requires the completion of 12 credit hours and usually takes 1 year to complete. Prospective students can apply to begin in the fall, spring, or summer. Credits earned in the program may be applied toward an MS in Applied Economics and Predictive Analytics.

The University of North Dakota is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Getting Your Economics Certificate Online

student getting Economics Certificate Online

Earning a certificate in economics can be a strategic way to enter the field of economics, expand your career opportunities, and advance your career and earning potential.

Industries will always need individuals with a solid foundation in the theory and principles of economics and with strong analysis, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills. Careers in economics are on a positive growth trajectory and tend to pay higher-than-average salaries depending on your level of education and experience.

If you are interested in gaining knowledge and expertise in the field of economics, you can look into economics certificate programs online from accredited institutions.

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Kathryn holds a Bachelor's degree in English Education from the University of Delaware, and an ESL certificate in Teaching English as a Second Language from Duke University. Kathryn has spent her entire career in education, with a focus on helping students of all ages ensure they have the necessary skills to maximize their educational opportunities.